A copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with cross-references to
pilots and airplanes is available here.
You may view other motion picture films on this site by following this link.
This link leads
you to a book that describes and illustrates with black & white
images 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. These
Keystone bombers are among the aircraft pictured and described.
KEYSTONE LB-5A BOMBERS
This film was taken at the Davis-Monthan Airfield, most
probably on September 7, 1928. What excitement
and wonderful noise there must have been in the air and on
the ground just after the lunch hour!
On that day the
Register records landings by eight Keystone LB-5A bombers.
They arrived en
masse from Langley Field, Hampton, VA, signing in
at 1:30PM. If you count carefully the airplanes in the
film, you will see nine aircraft on the line. In all likelihood
one of the pilots neglected to sign the Register. The pilots
and crew remained overnight in Tucson, departing on the
8th westbound for Los Angeles, CA. The purpose of this
cross-country voyage is presently unknown, but see below.
I need to do a little more research on this.
This is a silent film. Use your cursor and the menu bar
below the image to control the movie.
You see a mix of activity on this approximately
40 seconds of film. Initially, but very briefly, you see
two military types sitting/squatting on the ground. Then
gentleman on the left in the campaign hat is Dewey
Airfield manager at the time. One holds what looks like paperwork.
Then you see two Keystone bombers on overhead approach to
the old Airfield. One bomber rolls to the line just before
engine shut down.
Next the flight line is panned from a fixed
position showing the presence of nine aircraft. The film
was probably taken just after the aircraft shut down, because
you can see the flight crew taking off coveralls and walking
around with leather helmets and goggles still on.
Near the end you see several civilian gentlemen
sitting in a car partaking of liquid refreshment from a Thermos
jug, military personnel (or are they Boy Scouts?) gathered
in an informal gaggle, as well as a study of a vintage fire
truck and apparatus. Play the film over again, you'll find more!
You can find these airplanes and their
pilots and passengers recorded in the Register
on pages 56-57 near the bottom of the page. Among the pilots were: H.W.
Beaton, William B. Blaufuss (landed at Tucson four times
between 1928 and 1932, and once at Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA in 1935), John R. Drumm (landed twice in 1928
and 1933) , Harold
Lee George (landed five times between 1926 and 1934),
A.H. Johnson, A.J. Kerwin, Cecil G. Sellers and W.R. Wolfinbarger.
The film shows the airmen and other personnel milling about
the parked aircraft. The names of the pilots and the numbers
of their airplanes are shown in the following table.
Look closely, can anyone identify any
of the people? Please let me know.
According to aerofiles.com,
in 1927 the Keystone Aircraft Corp, Bristol PA, evolved from
Huff-Daland Airplane Co. In 1928 Keystone merged with Loening
Co., 31st and East River, New York NY. In 1931 it became
the Keystone Aircraft Div, Curtiss-Wright Corp, Bristol PA.
From the registration numbers recorded in the
Register, viz. 28-4, 28-5, 28-7, 28-8, these were among the
first new airplanes purchased by the Army in 1928. They were
probably being ferried from their staging point after manufacture
to the west coast.
The other four
airplanes recorded in the Register are not identified by
registration number. It is likely they were numbers less
than 10, however. Can anyone identify any
of the registration numbers of the airplanes from
the squadron numbers visible on the nose of the airplanes
in the film (e.g. 35, 36, 46)?
You may review this and all the film clips
UPLOADED: 04/03/07 REVISED:
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!