Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references
to pilots and their aircraft is available here. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.
OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU
This link leads you to a book that describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.
"Art Goebel's Own Story" by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is
written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden
Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build
a business around his passion. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.
You may view other motion picture films on this site by following
An excellent source for the Ford Reliability Tours is this link.
I highly recommend this site, because it is rich in relevant
Specific to our pilots and the 1928 tour, you should look at Forden's
book (with the yellow cover) that's available from that site as PDF downloads
for each chapter (click Read the Book Online to download individual chapters).
You may want to consider buying the book, too. Give 'em support for putting
together such a useful website!
Chapter 4 of Forden's book covers the 1928 tour, and includes wonderful
photos of some of our airplanes and pilots who visited Tucson. Of the
25 entrants in the Tour that year, 14 of the airplanes and pilots are
signed into the Register.
The other two small books available to download ("One Two" by John
Livingston; "A Four Thousand Mile Trip By Air" by Ralph
W. Cram) are also interesting reading.
You'll also learn that the Ford Tour was reenacted in September 2003.
Interestingly, six of the aircraft that flew in those Golden Age tours,
and that landed at Tucson during that period, were still registered with
the FAA in 2002. Refer to aircraft registrations 3947 (Travel Air), 5860
(Buhl), 6079 (Swallow), NC533W (Monocoupe), NC46V (Gee
Bee, now a replica), and NC10402 (Laird).
THE 1928 NATIONAL FORD RELIABILITY TOUR
The fourth National Air Tour for the Edsel
B. Ford Trophy was almost a circumnavigation of the United
States. Please refer to the links and references in the left
sidebar and this link for
a map and tables of additional information about the pilots and
their aircraft. The link also exhibits photographs of airplanes and activities across the 34 stops made during the Tour. The Tour rumbled through Tucson on July
is a one-minute motion picture clip of the action at Tucson
through the late morning and early afternoon of the 10th.
This is a silent film. Use your cursor and the menu bar below
the image to control the movie. The first player projects the movie as it came from the Wolf film (cited, right sidebar) and installed on the site by your Webmaster. Note the sepia tinting characteristic of old films from the era..
Below, the same film that has been enhanced to show greater detail. This correction was performed by friend of dmairfield.org, Clint Robertson. Contrast the two versions; you'll be able to see real differences, for example, in reading some of the aircraft registration numbers.
Mr. Robertson says about his changes, "Before life as a videographer and video editor, I had been a professional still photographer, working in traditional 'wet' labs, and watching the digital still photography revolution begin and grow to where it stands today.
"Using my photographer skills, as an example I have globally corrected (one setting for all shots) the "Ford Reliability Tour" video. Though some enjoy sepia-toned video when seeing old footage, the photographer in me wants to better see the historical details.
"In fact, the sepia-tone effect can be added after these corrections to good effect, but any introduction of color automatically confounds clarity."
In either version of the film you see the Tour airplanes taxiing
into ranks. The camera pans the flight line with a view of
the old Airfield hangar and mountains in the background.
Support vehicles and personnel move among the airplanes.
An airplane flies right to left in the distance about halfway
through the movie.
If you look carefully, some
Tour numbers and registration numbers are visible. For example,
the big Ford 4-AT flown by Frank
Hawks shows the registration
number (NC3443) under the left wing as the camera pans by.
Hawks did not sign the Register this time, however.
Tour number 24, the Fairchild FC-2 (5574) flown
by R.W. Pears, is shown with its wings folded and unfolded
(look carefully for the latter as the camera pans). Pears
did not sign the Register either. Tour #18, the "Baby
ATO (NX5533) was flown by John Wood. Wood did not sign his
airplane into the Register this visit, but he did on two later flights. A couple of the Ryans are identifiable,
but not by number.
There was only one Lockheed in the Tour. Vega
flown by R.W.
Cantwell as Tour #23. We can see
it taxiing to the line right at the beginning of the film.
Below are tabulated the pilots and their aircraft who comprised
the swirl of activity that morning.
Have some more fun and download chapter 4 of Forden's
book cited in the left sidebar. Compare the table in the
chapter beginning on page 84 with the airplanes you see in
the film and the ones cited in the table above. How many
can you identify? For further comparison, please follow this
see still images of some of these same competing aircraft
on the ground at San Diego, CA the day after their stop in
You may review this and all the film clips
on www.dmairfield.org here!
This clip is shared with us through the courtesy of Les Wolf & Family
of Tucson. The films come to us through Lt. Col. (RET) Alan
Thomas, long-time friend of dmairfield.org. The original
film, camera and projector belonged to Les Wolf’s step dad;
John Phieffer. According to Mr. Wolf’s late grandmother
Mr. Phieffer owned the first 16mm equipment in Tucson at the time. The
films, original camera and projector were retrieved during a remodel
of the family home in January 1989.
At that time the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson was undergoing
substantial remodeling and they discovered footage of its original
construction among the film reels. The films were donated
to the Arizona Historical Society and to local TV stations, which
used them in their broadcast stories about the Temple of Music
Mr. Wolf says, “My father (… now deceased) was born
in Tucson (1917) and [lived] thru all that history [which] didn’t
impress him as it did me. Subsequently he “allowed” donation
of these materials in our shared name; Les Wolf & family. All
my family dearly loves Tucson and its history. On their behalf,
thank you for your interest.”
It is we who should thank Mr. Wolf and Lt. Col. Thomas!