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 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.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/04/13 REVISED: