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There is no biographical file for pilot Hibbard in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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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H.E. Hibbard, Flying Magazine Ad, August, 1963 (Source: Woodling)
H.E. Hibbard, Flying Magazine Ad, August, 1963 (Source: Woodling)


Photograph, left, from Flying Magazine, shows Horace Hibbard as an aviation entreprenur later in his life. His son, who contributed some of the information and images on this page, remains in the aviation business as Hibbard Aviation, at the link.


Hibbard landed once at Tucson, Monday, August 22, 1932. He was part of a gaggle of aircraft and pilots who came through Tucson that day competing in the 1932 National Air Races (NAR). He arrived at Tucson from the Yuma, AZ checkpoint amid some controversy that he had even landed at Yuma on his way east.


The conjecture was reported in the Salt Lake Tribune of Monday, August 22, 1932 as follows. Note mention in the article of fellow Register signers Art Carnahan and Gladys O'Donnell.


YUMA, Ariz., Aug. 21 (AP)—Roaring across 229 miles of mountains and
desert between, here and Los Angeles, more than half a hundred entrants in the annual sweepstakes handicap air derby landed safely here late today on the first lap of their quest for gold and glory.

Flying a monocoach with a speed of 110.4 miles an hour, Art Carnahan,
Bloomington, Ill., speedster, led the field into Yuma with an elapsed time of an hour and 55 minutes to gain a perfect score of 270 points. Horace Hibbard of Lodi, Cal., was given last place in the arrival of 48 men and eight women who started leaving Los Angeles shortly before 1 p. m. (P. S. T.), in the flight to the national air races at Cleveland, which will be resumed tomorrow. He said he had arrived with the main body of the fliers, and officials had failed to check him, but none of those in authority saw him land, they said, and they declined to place him anywhere except at the tail end.

Scoring 162 points, Roy Hunt of Norman, Okla., was second, and Mrs. Gladys O'Donnell, Long Beach, Ca., matron, who won first place in the 1930 women's air derby and second in 1929, was third with 108 points.

The light sport biplane flown by Al Lary. instructor at Los Angeles municipal airport, and carrying as passenger his fiance, Yolando Spirito of Pasadena, Cal., was forced down in the desert ten miles from here for lack of fuel. He obtained some gasoline from a roadside gasoline station and flew here in 52nd place.

We have further evidence of his landing and overnight at Yuma from the relevant entries in his flight log book for the period, below. He was a relatively low-time pilot as he entered the NAR that year, accumulating slightly over 300 flight hours by the end of this page

H.E. Hibbard, Pilot Log, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)
H.E. Hibbard, Pilot Log, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)

Regardless, he was solo in the Monocoupe NC6755 when he landed at Tucson.

He was not to finish the race. The Jefferson City (MO) Post-Tribune reported on August 25th, "Horace Hibbard, Lodi, Calif, notified race officials that he lost his propeller near Eldon, Mo., approximately 30 miles west of here, but landed uninjured in a cornfield. His plane was damaged only slightly he said."

Another, unsourced, news article, below, goes into detail about his forced landing. That he brought his airplane to Earth without injury (and without much damage to the airplane - or the propeller!) is a credit to him and shines in the light of his relative inexperience.

Unsourced News Article, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)
Unsourced News Article, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)

If you're a pilot, you know the loss of a propeller in flight produces a couple of problems beyond just losing propulsive force. The loss of the mass of the propeller shifts the center of gravity of the entire aircraft aft. Likewise, the engine, without the resistance of the propeller, would overspeed beyond the limits of its design. Hibbard had the (rapid) presence of mind to reduce the throttle to control engine overspeed, as well as apply immediate down elevator to avoid the pitch-up and imminent stall resulting therefrom due to the rearward shift in the center of gravity. He handled a tough situation very well. According to his log, above, he was grounded from August 25th to September 7th for repairs. It appears he headed back west rather than continue with his race. His name does not appear among the list of NAR competitors in the 1933 issue of the Aircraft Yearbook.

Below is another view of Hibbard in front of his crippled airplane. Note this is not the same photo as in the news article above. The propeller is held at the vertical in the view below. Note the oily trousers, one of the charms of working with radial engines.

Horace Hibbard, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)
Horace Hibbard, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)

Another view of Hibbard (at left) is below with an unidentified friend. According to Hibbard's son, this photo was taken after the NAR and the propeller and engine are new. The last three numbers of the registration number are visible under the port wing in the original photograph. His airplane still wears race number 163.

Horace Hibbard, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)
Horace Hibbard, Ca. August, 1932 (Source: Hibbard)


Hibbard was born Tuesday,  April  30, 1907. He flew West to his final horizon on Monday,  December  5, 1988. His age at the time of death was 81 years, 7 months and 5 days. His obituary from the Payette (ID) Independent Enterprise for Wednesday, December 14, 1988 follows.


Horace Ernest "Ace" Hibbard, 81, Payette, died Dec. 5, 1988, at home of natural causes. Services were at 2 p.m. Dec 9 at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette. Bishop Bevan Nelson of the Payette First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officiated. Burial and fly-by followed at Riverside Cemetery, Payette.

He was born April 30, 1907, at Garden City, Mo. As a boy he moved to California where he was raised and educated. He graduated from Lodi High School in 1925. He was involved in aviation as a very young man, and was the forth man in California to receive an instructors permit. He flew in a cross country air race in 1930, he lost his propeller over Missouri and landed in a corn field to retrieve it. During World War II he was the commander of Thunder Bird II, a fighter pilot training base at Phoenix, Ariz. After the war he managed an air field at Auburn, Calif. until 1964. He then moved to Nevada, Oregon, and then to Payette. He continued to work in aviation throughout his life. He was a crop duster spray pilot for Farmers Supply Co-op of Ontario until in his 70's. His last flight took place on January 1985. At the age of 77 he logged his final flying hours at 14,791. He married Velda Nelson Dec. 27, 1979 at Winnemucca. He was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association of Payette. He enjoyed reading, and building experimental aircraft.

Survivors include his wife, Velda of Payette; by a previous marriage, two sons, Norman E. Hibbard of Alameda, Calif., and Richard M. Hibbard of Napa, Calif.; one daughter, Patricia L. Day of Stevinson, Calif.; two stepsons, Pete Hibbard of Boise, and Kevin Hibbard of New Plymouth; one stepdaughter, Debbie Reed of Kingston, Wash., and one brother, James B. Hibbard of Lockeford, Calif. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister. ....

His gravesite is pictured at Findagrave.com.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 04/11/12 REVISED: 01/31/13

The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Hibbard and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.
Thanks to Hibbard's son for images and information on this page, and to site visitor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.
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