The Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register

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The Davis-Monthan Airfield Register

The Congress of Ghosts

Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936

Art Goebel's Own Story

Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race

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Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
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The People of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register

Clarence, the benevolent angel in "It's a Wonderful Life", would certainly go out of his way for each of the thousands of people that passed through and signed their names in the Register at Tucson. Indeed, as I do the research, look at their faded photographs, and build their Web pages, I relearn each day that all of them had wonderful lives that would have left unacceptable holes in humanity if they had not lived.

Use the dropdown menus below to select pilots or passengers from the database, and to learn about their lives.

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by passenger

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Pilots and passengers alike were intrepid, early adopters of flight, experiencing relatively primitive conditions of comfort, scheduling, aircraft reliability, federal regulation and accommodations. Aviation was different in the late 20's and into the 30's from what it is today. Most cockpits were open, navigation aids and charts were few, and fuel stops and commercial housing were just organizing to support the flying population.

Despite the conditions, from reading pilots' marginal notes in the register they were flying for pleasure, on business, participating in national air racing events, early air transport operations, military logistical maneuvers, checking strip maps, training, ferrying aircraft and, probably, many other reasons known only to themselves.

A special category of people, the U.S. Border Patrol, is also represented in the Register by ten officers who appeared in its pages briefly during the six months of March through September, 1927.

Please understand that the majority of pilots and passengers have no additional information YET associated with them. The reason being that I just do not know who they were, or I just haven't had time or resources to research them. If you want to kickstart your journey through my site, please check "What's New on the Site" (link, below, on each Web page) to see links to pilots and passengers I have recently uploaded. Follow those links for examples of the types of extended information I envision for all the people on this site.

Clearly, when most pilots flew, it was generally with someone else on board. Solo flight comprised about 36% of landed traffic (1,328 logged flights recorded no passengers; 2,361 visits were with passengers). Military pilots landed solo 818 times (43% of military flights); women 34 (57%), and civilian pilots landed solo 476 times (28% of total civil flights).

Military logistical and training missions used the airfield on numerous occasions. The interbellum was a learning period for the Army Air Corps. How do you move large numbers of military aircraft from one place to another in the country? How to train pilots in cross-country skills? How to use military aircraft, in times of need, for civilian crises such as floods, blizzards or medical emergencies?

You can access information about any of the 1,976 unique pilots who signed the register, or any of the 2,061 unique passengers who rode with them. ALL their names are listed in the dropdown menus above, because YOU, the site user, might know of them and I would like you to share what you know with me via CONTACT US, or via the FORM provided. With your permission, I'll add your information to the Web site with appropriate credit to you.

BUSINESS PILOTS

Specific to business use, several early air transport companies frequented the Davis-Monthan Airfield. Among them American Airlines (the inaugural sleeper service landed there), Scenic Airways (later Grand Canyon Airlines), and Standard Air Lines. Click here to view a PDF file of a manuscript describing Standard Air Lines.

Numerous business people flew the lower terrain both ways between San Diego, Tucson and El Paso to and from the east. Pancho Barnes, and her passenger, flew a weather-fraught voyage with which even contemporary aviators may relate. Oil company representatives, airplane manufacturers and dealers ferrying new aircraft, and politicians frequented the airfield. Many were pilots themselves; some were passengers in aircraft flown by others.

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UPLOADED: 05/05 REVISED: 02/12/06, 02/14/06, 06/13/13

 
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Earl Rowland
Earl Rowland
SPORT PILOTS

Specific to recreational use, the Ford Reliability Tour of June-July 1928 passed through Tucson. Of 25 pilot entrants on the Tour, 14 signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register.

The 39 pilots of the "On to Los Angeles" 1928 National Air Races (September) all signed the register. See winner Earl Rowland, above.

The 1929 National Air Races was the first time women were allowed to participate. The race started in Santa Monica that year. Tucson was not an official stop during the race. However, 3 of the 9 female finishers used the Airfield as a rest and fueling stop on their way westbound, just days before the race started on August 24th.

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