Ralph Otis Hall, Sr. landed solo at Tucson Friday, March 8, 1929 at 7:00PM. He flew Stearman NC6439, a model C-3-B. Based at Los Angeles, he arrived eastbound at Tucson, with Tucson identified as his final destination. However, he remained only overnight and departed the next day to destinations unknown. Please direct your browser to the link to learn of the history of his airplane and about its numerous landings at Tucson.
Hall also landed about a year earlier on Wednesday, May 23, 1928, and about a week later, on March 21, 1928, as a passenger with Dudley Steele in Waco NC4278. See the airplane's link for details.
Hall's son, Ralph, Jr., provides the following biographical information and photographs. Ralph Hall, Sr. was born in 1905 in Chattanooga, TN and died in 1946 in Lancaster, CA. From a Richfield Oil Co. publication of the era, “Ralph Hall has been a part of Richfield since 1922, when as a young man barely 17 years old, he bought an old airplane (JND-4 Jenny) from the government and started flying at the Raisin Festival at Fresno, California”.
Mr. Hall, Jr. states, "I think it was Chandler Field aka Crematory Field Fresno, CA. His receipt for the Jenny is dated Nov 1, 1925.
"His pilot log book started with the first entries:
DATE 1924 TYPE PLANE LICENSE TYPE ENGINE FROM TO
July 5 JND-4 none OX-5 Solo Over field
Aug 27 JND-4 OX-5 Fresno Madera good
Oct 20 JND-4 OX-5 first passenger Red Calahan
Oct 21 JND-4 OX-5 first pay passenger $5.00
... ... ...
Mar 23 Waco 10 NC4278 OX-5 test hop New Richfield oil co
Apr 9 Waco 10 NC4278 OX-5 Bakersfield, on tour of state for RO Co"
Mr. Hall continues, "Dudley Steele was head of the flight department. Richfield owned several aircraft over the years among them a Waco 10, Fokker trimotor NC394E [not a Register airplane], Stearman NC6439, Stinson, Jr. SM 7-A NC980W [not a Register airplane] and a single-engine Northrop Delta NC13777 [also not a Register airplane]. Ralph flew all for Richfield and became head of the Flight Department. Richfield had 3 pilots at one time, two were named Hall.
"Richfield listed the following unofficial records, flown by Ralph Hall in the Richfield Northrop Delta:
Seattle to Los Angeles (non stop) 5 hours, 12 minutes (exceeding Roscoe Turner by 8 min). ( Sep 21 1934.)
San Francisco to Los Angeles 1 hour, 38 minutes
Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Nevada) 1 hour flat.
"On January 5, 1937 Richfield Oil sold the Delta and closed the aircraft department. On June 16, 1938 he went to work for Mohawk Oil flying a gull wing Stinson Reliant. Later he started the Death Valley Airline that lasted less than one year. We moved to Lancaster as the war started. He went to work at War Eagle Field as head of maintenance."
Below, Ralph Hall in a photograph supplied by his son. The airplane is in Richfield Oil livery and is probably the Northrop Delta (note all-metal construction). The Northrop was an executive aircraft for Richfield, accommodating eight passengers and the single pilot.
Ralph Hall, Sr. Date and Location Unknown (Source: Hall)
Below, Ralph Hall, Jr. as a child with his father to his left. He states, "This picture is of my dad ..., mom, me (with parachute), and a friend circa 1931 in Fresno, California. I think the aircraft is a Stearman with a two-place front seat." The airplane could be NC6439. This photograph is from Mr. Hall via the Air & Space Magazine photostream.
Ralph Hall and Family, Ca. 1931 (Source: Smithsonian via Hall)
Below, two more photographs shared by site visitor Bill Gage, who, with his family, took an airplane ride with Ralph Hall in 1938. The first shows Mr. Gage at age 11 with Ralph Hall and a Stinson. Whether this is the Mohawk Oil Stinson, or another that Hall bought and used for his Death Valley Airline, is unknown. It is probably the latter, since there is no indication of a Mohawk Oil logo on the fuselage.
Mr. Gage says about his photos, "One photo is of my parents and I in front of the plane, that I assume Mr. Hall took, and the other is of he, I and the plane. That was and exciting trip for a 11 yr old I can tell you and must of been costly for my parents in those days."
Ralph Hall (L) & Bill Gage, Death Valley, 1938 (Source: Gage)
The second is the Gage family in front of the airplane. The airplane, clearly identified under the port wing of the original as NC17198, is a Stinson SR-9E, perhaps the one referenced above. Further, Mr. Gage says, "The back of the photos have a stamped date of Nov 15, 1938, Glendale, CA where our home was."
Bill Gage (L) & Family with Stinson NC17198, Death Valley, 1938 (Source: Gage)
In this photo note the bell-bottom fashions, and the Ford roadster and (1937 Ford?) Woodie in the background.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/05/11 REVISED: 04/13/12