Registration Number NC8957
A Day Before Dying
This aircraft is a Monosport, S/N 2000 (ATC #GR2-134), manufactured
May 28, 1929 by the Mono-Aircraft, Inc. Moline, IL. It had a 110
HP Warner Scarab engine S/N 249. It weighed 1,650 pounds as
a two-place airplane. It landed twice at Tucson.
It was re-manufactured as of October 11, 1929 with new landing gear
and engine mount to conform to ATC #GR2-109. The fuselage
NC8957 landed first at Tucson on October 23, 1929 piloted solo
by Donald A. Luscombe, the founder of the Luscombe aircraft
manufacturing company. He was northwest bound from Douglas,
AZ to Los Angeles, CA.
Between Luscombe's landing and the next one, we find NC8957 cited in the logbook of pilot R.W. Henderson. Please direct you browser to his link to examine his entry in Logbook #1, page 7.
We find the airplane at Tucson for the second time on December 18, 1929,
piloted by R.T. “Stub” Quimby carrying passenger
J.B. Hinchey (an air racer in the late 30s, who landed twice
at Tucson a year or so later also flying Monocoupes). They
arrived from Los Angeles at 3:10PM and were eastbound at 3:30
to Moline, IL. Note the quick turnaround.
The airplane crashed at Amarillo, TX on December 18, 1929. The wing
struck the ground in landing; the cause offered was, “possibly
darkness.” Pilot Quimby (transport license #103) was
not injured, and, if he was still in the airplane, neither
was Hinchey, since he came back to Tucson twice the following
year flying his own aircraft.
It doesn’t take much forensic speculation to guess
what happened. Twenty minutes on the ground at Tucson says they were
probably in a hurry. An airplane following a direct route
to Amarillo from Tucson (about 520 miles) at, say, 80 MPH,
would require a good 7-8 hours of flight time. If they chose
to try to make Amarillo that evening (and don't forget, they would have to stop
for fuel a couple of more times), they would have arrived
in the early hours of the 19th. Fatigue; darkness; probably
a strange airport; a classic setup for problems that could have been prevented had they simply decided to break that chain late that afternoon and remain overnight at Tucson, enjoy a hot meal at, say, the Pioneer Hotel, get a good night's sleep and depart early on the 19th.
The final disposition of the aircraft states, “wing
and fuselage damaged beyond repair, complete washout.”
The registration was cancelled 2/14/30.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 08/16/05 REVISED: 10/18/11, 04/25/12