"I Fly Again!

View products that support dmairfield.org

OTHER RESOURCES

This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Aldrin, CA-0242000-01 et seq., reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

---o0o---

Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

---o0o---

OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

"Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936" is available at the link. This book 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

---o0o---

 
Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
CulturalMotion PicturesFriendsNon Profit statusProducts and services
ReferencesPublicationsCollectionsGuest EditorsPress Coverage

EDWIN EUGENE ALDRIN, SR.

E.E. Aldrin, Sr., ca. 1932
E.E. Aldrin, Sr., ca. 1932

E.E. Aldrin was born at Worcester, MA April 12, 1896. He attended grammar and high schools at Worcester, graduated from Clark University in 1915, from Worcester Polytechnic with honors in 1916, and the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) with master's (1927) and Ph.D. (1928) degrees. In one of the most prescient coincidences of 20th century aviation, on March 22, 1924 he married Marion G. Moon of El Paso, TX.

Then Lt. Aldrin is significant to us (among other reasons), because, just a few years later on January 20, 1930, he and Marion became the parents of E.E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. Their son would become the second human to set foot on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in July, 1969. As you might expect, "Buzz" Aldrin has a significant Web presence.

 

Aldrin, Sr. signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register once on page 12 on Monday August 9, 1926 at 11:00 AM. Based at McCook Field, Dayton, OH, Aldrin, Sr. visited Tucson westbound from El Paso, TX to San Diego, CA.

Below, a wonderful family photograph showing contributor Gretel Coursol (right sidebar) being held by E.E. Aldrin, Sr.

E.E. Aldrin, Sr. With Gretel (Sternberg) Coursol, Ca. 1937-38
E.E. Aldrin, Sr. With Gretel Coursol, Ca. 1937-38

Gretel says about the photograph, "...photo at Culver Lake, I'm thinking 1937 or 1938.  I must have been 3 or 4.  Guessing it was 3." Below, courtesy of Ms. Coursol, a 1953 photograph of Buzz (L) and his father.

Buzz (L) and E.E. Aldrin, Sr., 1953 (Source: Coursol)

Below, two portraits of E.E. Aldrin, Sr. (affectionately called "Noppie" by his family) and his wife, Marion ("Nonnie"), courtesy of Gretel Coursol. If you visit Buzz Aldrin's site linked above, you will see distinct facial similarities between him and his mother.

E.E. Aldrin, Sr., Date Unknown (Source: Coursol)
E.E. Aldrin, Sr.,  Date Unknown
Marion Moon Aldrin, Date Unknown (Source: Coursol)
Marion Moon Aldrin, Date Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In what has to be the second-most prescient coincidence of 20th century aviation, he is carrying a passenger named R.B. Moon! Although there is no indication in the Register if passenger Moon was related to wife Marion, we learn from Ms. Coursol that, indeed, passenger Robert Bruce Moon (born March 21, 1907) was Marion's brother (as well as brother to Ms. Coursol's mother). So, interestingly, we have a double relationship between site visitor Coursol and a pilot (uncle-in-law) and passenger (uncle) who landed at Tucson in 1926. It also makes her a first cousin of Buzz .

Aldrin and Moon's airplane was 23-672, a deHavilland DH-4B manufactured by Gallaudet. Although he signed the airplane into the Register with its Army acquisition number, it also had a "P-number", P-429, assigned at McCook Field.

Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., In Flying Suit, Date & Location Unknown
Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr., Date & Location Unknown

His NASM biographical file (cited in the left sidebar) contains many pages of his study notes and exams from his schooling at MIT. For example, below is his neatly typed, MIT Advanced Airplane Structures exam from 1923. Just for fun, take a couple of hours to work through these four questions. Hand calculators or computers are not allowed; slide rules only. I enhanced the contrast of this image so you could be sure to read it more easily. Ready? Begin.

Aldrin's MIT Exam from 1923
MIT Exam from 1923

OK, pencils down and hand in your work.

Aldrin's flying career began in 1917. He served with the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps during WWI. He was promoted to captain on March 6, 1928 and to major on February 12, 1929 and assigned to the Air Corps Specialists' Reserve. In July 1929 he became civilian aviation manager for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey directing the aviation division of the Standard Oil Development Company, and, later, manager of the Newark Airport.

Pilot Aldrin, like his son after him, led a grand life in aviation. He had enormous technical and managerial aptitudes. He held industry executive positions with Standard Oil, served on key committees, contributed publications, and rubbed shoulders and collaborated with aeronautical luminaries of the era: Goddard (a professor at Clark University when he was an undergraduate there), Verville, Bunch, etc.

Below, from friend of dmairfield.org John Underwood, an undated image of Aldrin standing in front of Standard Oil Lockheed Vega NC106N (not a Register airplane).

E.E. Aldrin With Lockheed Vega NC106N (Source: Underwood)
E.E. Aldrin With Lockheed Vega NC106N (Source: Underwood)

 

Caption: E.E. Aldrin With Vega NC106N (Source: Underwood)
Caption: E.E. Aldrin With Vega NC106N (Source: Underwood)

The back of the photograph is at right, cropped and enhanced in PhotoShop for better readability. No doubt, the person in the photo is Aldrin. The caption was added to the image long after the photograph was taken.

The text on the fuselage in front of the door says, "This Engine Has Flown 65,000 Miles" and "Holds Many Speed Records in North and South America and Europe" and "Serviced and Lubricated with Standard and Stanavo Products".

Farther forward on the fuselage over Aldrin's left shoulder and just above the Standard logo is lettered, "Standard Oil Co. (N.J.), 26 Broadway New York, Newark Metropolitan Airport No.1"

Early in his career he was a member of the Executive Committee for the Daniel Guggenheim Medal Fund, Inc., and of the Committee on Transport Operation and Air Mail, American Academy of Law. His reputation at MIT led to the following 1927 invitation and permissions for his involvement with the advisory committee for aeronautical engineering at MIT.

 

 

MIT Correspondence
MIT Correspondence

 

MIT Correspondence
MIT Correspondence

Recalling that Aldrin was still obligated to the Air Corps Specialists' Reserve, below are the courtesy permissions as passed through the chain of command for the above request.

Army Correspondence the "Buck Slip"
Army Correspondence

 

Army Correspondence
Army Correspondence

"MMP" is General Mason Patrick, under whose leadership the Army Air Service was reorganized as the Air Corps in July 1926, thus receiving an additional degree of autonomy under an Assistant Secretary of War. This was probably one of Patrick's last permission granting exercises, as he retired from military service in December 1927.

As well as the MIT committee, he was a member of many other technical committees through the 1930s and beyond, especially as they related to the specifications, safety and handling of petroleum products (he was, after all, a long-time employee of Standard Oil). His contributions to publication ranged from individually authored treatises on oleo gear for airplanes, to contributed chapters published in books by other authors on aerodynamics, metallurgy, airplane structures and fuels. Whereas others ran races and set records, Aldrin was, indeed, a powerful intellectual force in the developing science of aviation. This motion picture shows a very brief sequence of Aldrin (on the left) conversing with an unidentified person. The section of interest is at about 12:00 minutes into the film.

Aldrin reinlisted in the U.S. military in 1942 and continued his career in the Air Force until his retirement in 1956. Upon reinlistment he served with an antisubmarine unit and with the 8th and 13th Air Corps. He later was a consultant to the manned space flight safety director or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Along the way he acquired DOT Transport Pilot license number T3029.

As happens sometimes among Davis-Monthan people and airplanes, Aldrin touched the lives of several of them. For example, he flew Lockheed Vega NC105N as part of his Standard Oil duties, but, according to the Register, he never landed at Tucson with it. Below, on the left, he appears in front of an unidentified Lockheed Sirius with Register pilots Ruth Nichols and Vance Breese. This image, as are many others on this Web site, is shared with us by Tim Kalina.

E.E. Aldrin (L) With Ruth Nichols and Vance Breese, October 19, 1931
E.E. Aldrin (L) With Ruth Nichols and Vance Breese

Aldrin flew West on Saturday, December 28, 1974 at age 78. His obituary appeared in The New York Times of January 2, 1975. He rose to the rank of Colonel in the Air Force. He was the founder of the Aeronautical Engineering School, which became the Air Force Institute of Technology.

---o0o---

Dossier 2.2.28

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 02/07/08 REVISED: 04/08/09, 06/28/09 (film link), 07/18/09 (moon landing link), 01/21/10

 
Home
The Register
People
Places
Airplanes
Events
YOU CAN HELP
I'm looking for photographs of Aldrin and his airplane, deHavilland DH-4B 23-672, to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

CREDITS

Thanks to Gretel Coursol for sharing photographs and information about pilot Aldrin and his wife, Marion.

Improbably, Ms. Coursol is at once the niece of passenger Moon (her mother is Moon's sister), and niece-in-law of pilot Aldrin (her mother's sister is Marion, below).

---o0o---

TO NOTE: July 20, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing by humans. It is celebrated here on dmairfield.org as a tribute to all the pilots and aircraft of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. ALL of our pilots who passed through Tucson and signed the Register, as well as the technologies they flew or had a hand in developing, set foot or touched wheels on the moon with Armstrong and Aldrin that day, and had a hand in some small way in every other mission to space.

---o0o--

 

 
Contact Us | Credits | Copyright © 2008 Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
This website is best enjoyed in a 1024 x 768 screen resolution.
Web design by The Web Professional, Inc