SEIZED BY U.S. CUSTOMS
This airplane is a Fairchild FC-2, S/N 148. It was manufactured July 23, 1928 by the Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corp., Farmingdale, NY. It left the factory with a single Wright J-5AB engine of 200HP, S/N 8972. It was a five-place airplane and weighed 3,000 pounds on wheels, and 4,000 on floats. It was granted its NC license on September 8, 1928.
NC8001 landed four times at Tucson. Interestingly, we find NC8001 arriving first on September 4, 1928, four days before it was officially registered. It was probably given ferry permission to fly cross country to its new owner, American Aircraft Corp., Los Angeles, CA. The pilot was none other than Clarence “Ace” Bragunier. He carried a full load of five passengers including a Mr. & Mrs. Wild and three others identified simply as Leonard, Foster and Buchanan. They were westbound from New York (probably the Fairchild factory) to Los Angeles.
It is not clear from the record exactly when, but over the next few months NC8001 was flown to Mexico to serve with American Aircraft Corp’s. affiliate Corporacion Aeronautica de Transportes, S.A. in Torreon (CAT). CAT was owned by Register pilot Theodore Hull. Hull flew NC8001 to Tucson on March 5, 1929. Based in Los Angeles, he arrived at Tucson from Mexicali. He remained overnight, departing for El Paso, TX the next morning at 8:00AM. He carried Harry Gorman as passenger.
The airplane suffered an accident at Torreon on May 13, 1929. The pilot Lloyd A. Anderson (Register pilot), “failed to gain altitude on take-off due to hot, dry air. Struck ditch in attempted take-off.” The accident washed out the landing gear, twisted the fuselage, bent the propeller and broke the engine crankcase.
The airplane was apparently repaired, operated and stored in Mexico without U.S. licensing or bills of sale. On July 14, 1931 the airplane was sold to Dorothy MacKenzie of Inglewood, CA. It had been overhauled with fuselage repairs, a new motor mount and re-covered with fabric as of April 30, 1931 and licensed to April, 1932 when MacKenzie bought it.
We find NC8001 in Tucson twice more near this time. It landed on April 2, 1932 flown by pilot J.T. Fuller. He was eastbound from Los Angeles to El Paso. On April 21 he was westbound from El Paso carrying three unidentified passengers. Later that year, on October 12, 1932, C.H. Babb, as agent for MacKenzie, turned the airplane over to Lloyd Ruether of Hynes, CA in exchange for monies owed by MacKenzie to Ruether.
The record states that the airplane was not in operation between December 9, 1932 to May 11, 1933. Ruether’s license was cancelled April 21, 1933, because he failed to respond to federal enquiries. Almost simultaneously, the airplane was seized by U.S. Customs at Hynes, CA. It was “sealed shut in hangar #5 at L.A. Airport [not specified which specific airport] for at least the past 3 months.”
There is an annotation, “Pilot Jack Edward Hampson involved.” The seizure was assigned #12242 for violation of “Sects. 593 & 594, Tariff Act of 1930 & Articles 244.245, 246, Customs Regulations of 1931.” The airplane was forfeited to the government under, “Section 607 of Tariff Act of 1930 and sold at public auction.” If you’re a lawyer and reading this and can interpret what these charges were, please let me KNOW.
On May 11, 1933 NC8001 was sold to Raymond M. Eshom of Los Angeles for his winning bid of $435. The airplane had an estimated 1,500 flight hours on it. Eshom turned it over quickly and sold it on July 8, 1933 to George I. Steinke of Bell, CA.
After Steinke, the airplane changed hands five more times into 1937, finally settling “as is” in Candle, Alaska. Its license was cancelled September 24, 1937. No further information.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/22/07 REVISED: 12/29/07