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

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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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Norbert, John. 2003. Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue in Flight. Purdue University Press. 456pp. ISBN 9781557534897.

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JAMES MUSSEY JOHNSON

ONE OF OUR FIRST TEST PILOTS

"Flying wasn't so complicated in those days. You just got in and flew."

J. M. Johnson landed once at Tucson, Thursday, February 6, 1930 at 5:00PM. He carried his wife, Trudy, in the airplane he identified as the Buhl NC9632, a CA-6 Air Sedan. Based at Marysville, MI, they were eastbound from Los Angeles, CA to El Paso, TX. They remained overnight at Tucson, departing the next morning at 7:45.

J.M. Johnson, Date Unknown (Source: Find
A Grave)
J.M. Johnson, Date Unknown (Source: Find A Grave)

 

A site visitor from Canada provides the following information. He states, "James Mussey Johnson had a distinguished career as an early test pilot, among other contributions to American aviation. At the time of his arrival at D-M on Feb. 6, 1930, Johnson was Chief Test Pilot and Sales Manager for the Buhl Aircraft Company of Marysville, MI. He was travelling with his wife, Gertrude (Trudy), who also had a significant career in aviation."

Our visitor shares with us the portrait at left as well as a photograph of Johnson and Trudy at the link. As well as the photos, there are numerous anecdotes on that page related to Johnson's flying life.

He also links us to Find A Grave, which provides the following information.

"Test Pilot. Born in Helena, Arkansas, he graduated from Purdue University in 1907 with a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering. Johnson attended the Curliss Aviation School in Newport News, Virginia in 1914 and became an instructor there in 1915.

"He became one of the nation's first government test pilots for World War I airplanes at Langley Field in 1917. Later that year, he became the Chief Test Pilot at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio until 1920. He became president of the Johnson Flying Service from 1922 to 1925 and won the eighth event at the International Air Race in 1924.

"Johnson became an inspector for the Department of Commerce from 1927 to 1928 and the Chief Test Pilot and sales manager for the Buhl Aircraft Company in Detroit, Michigan from 1928 to 1932. Johnson held several other aviator positions including that of a pilot for United Airlines in the late 1940's. Johnson eventually retired to Weslaco, Texas for many years until moving to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1968 where he died at St. George Hospital when he was 83 years old. "

Chapter three of the Norbert book cited and linked in the left sidebar (pp. 69-90) contains biographical information about Johnson. On page 78 you'll learn that Johnson's wife, Trudy, was also a pilot. Page 85ff sites her flight experience, including serving as copilot with her husband on transcontinental trips, such as the one that brought them through Tucson.

Johnson is also represented by a very brief biography in the Who's Who volume cited in the REFERENCES. His collections of papers, photographs and log books are kept at Purdue University. Johnson was born July 19, 1885 at Helena, AR. He died Aug. 21, 1968 at Cincinnati,OH.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/04/13 REVISED:

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Johnson and his airplane to include on this page. I'm also interested in information and photographs of his wife, Trudy. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe 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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