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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.

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The Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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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. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.

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GEORGE STRATTON ARMISTEAD

George S. Armistead visited Tucson once on Tuesday, June 28, 1932 at 3:00 PM. He carried one passenger, Tom Ward, Jr. in Stinson NC460Y. Based at Santa Monica, CA, Clover Field, they were eastbound from Gila Bend, AZ to El Paso, TX. There was no purpose listed for their trip.

George Armistead, Popular Aviation, April, 1940 (Source: PA)
George Armistead, Popular Aviation, April, 1940 (Source: PA)

 

Armistead was a pilot for the C.H. Babb Company.  This company was the largest international broker of airplanes prior to World War II, and handled everything from Lockheed Vegas to GeeBees

Armistead flew, unsuccessfully, the GeeBee "Q.E.D." in the 1938 Bendix cross-country race, Burbank to Cleveland.  The airplane was equipped with a small tank for 100 octane gas for takeoff, and a main tank with lower octane.  One version of the story around Armistead's forced landing is that, on takeoff, the fuel handle broke off and Armistead couldn’t switch tanks, causing the engine to quit near Winslow, AZ where he made a good landing in the sagebrush, but was out of the race. 

Another version of this story says he noticed high oil pressure over Kingman and landed at Winslow.  Coincidentally, there were three other competitors that did not finish the race; the cause listed was "mechanical problems."

Image, right, from an article authored by Armistead for Popular Aviation, April, 1940. The article, available as a download at the link (PDF 850Kb), focused on his 1938 Bendix flight in the "Q.E.D." Armistead documents and corroborates that his precautionary landing was caused by faulty oil pressure. And it was the knob on his radio that broke off, not a fuel tank handle. Interesting how stories evolve.

Regardless, the "Q.E.D" was sold to Clover Field Register pilot Francisco Sarabia, who flew it successfully from Los Angeles, CA to Mexico City in 6 hours and 20 minutes. However, Sarabia drowned in the Potomac River when the "Q.E.D.'s" engine failed upon takeoff from Washington, DC. Both Sarabia and the airplane were recovered from the river.

Lockheed aficionado, Tim Kalina, points out that the GeeBee "QED", "...was restored and is on display in a small museum in Ciudad Lerdo, Mexico." This link has some photos of the restored plane, and this one describes the GeeBee line and mentions the "QED" near the bottom of the page.

Armistead does not have a biographical file at the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC. He has a very sparse web presence, with most of the information having to do with the 1938 Bendix Race. This PDF (529KB) article from Skyways Journal (April, 2006) describes the GeeBee "QED" and shows the airplane as Armistead flew it in the Bendix Race.

Armistead also visited Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA and is signed in the Register there on July 16, 1929.

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UPLOADED: 04/24/08 REVISED: 05/05/08, 07/09/14

 
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I'm looking for photographs of pilot Armistead and this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Thanks to John Lyon of Los Angeles for background information about pilot Armistead.

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OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.

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