R.H. McGlohn landed once at Tucson, Monday, August 19, 1929. He was signed into the passenger column of the Register, with fellow pilot C.G. Alexander in the pilot column. They flew in the Sikorsky XPS-2, A-8089. They carried five unidentified mechanics. Based at San Diego, CA aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga, he arrived amidst nineteen other naval aviators, each signed into the Register on the middle third of page 112. Other than the first six who signed their own names, the rest were entered by an unknown hand all at once. Please direct your browser to the link and review page 112. There you'll see that signers Chourre through Wick comprise the group of twenty. They all remained overnight at Tucson, departing the morning of the 20th for El Paso, TX. Photograph, below, left, from Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, October, 1939.
R.H. McGlohn, Popular Aviation, October, 1939 (Source: PA)
What were twenty Navy pilots doing at Tucson all at once? They were on a grand cross-country flight headed from San Diego to Cleveland, OH and back to participate in the National Air Races (NAR) held August 24th-September 2nd at Cleveland that year. Lt. Cdr. Homer Wick was commanding officer of Squadron No. 1 based on the Saratoga.
Wick brought his entire squadron through Tucson on behalf of the NAR. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Navy ordered numerous activities by its personnel, ships and airplanes to build confidence in the naval force among the U.S. citizenry, to provide real-life training for personnel, as well as to encourage recruitment. McGlohn's job was to fly one of the support aircraft for the cross-country trip. Please direct your browser to Wick's page to see a tabulation and identification of all the men in his squadron.
McGlohn's military service record ends soon after his visit at Tucson. The reason is found in the articles below. McGlohn moved to South America during the heyday of international airline expansion in the late 1920s and 1930s. It appears he left the Navy, never looked back, and joined the New York, Rio & Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA). NYRBA was quickly merged into Pan American Airways.
Early evidence of his move is found in Pan Am archives held at the University of Miami. In collection ASM0341 for Pan American World Airways, Accession II, Box 423, Folder 11, 1930, is a single memo from R.H. McGlohn. The memo is to the accounting department of NYRBA Line from McGlohn, asking for payments to be made to the Treasury of the United States for his insurance policies. The memo is from November 15, 1929. Following this memo there are 6 vouchers, from January-May, 1930, for these payments.
According to the Miami librarian, "There is no indication that McGlohn was a member of the U.S. Navy at the time of the memo. There is no rank listed before his name, and the memo is on what appears to be official NYRBA Line letterhead.... The vouchers contain the line indicating the receiving department: Treasurer of the United States, Regional Office, United States Veterans Bureau, New York City." It is fairly clear from this information that McGlohn left the Navy soon after the NAR, and was settling his affairs into his new career just two months later, by November, 1929.
He was literally hot on the job very quickly. From the Tyrone (PA) Daily Herald of December 19, 1929 we find an incident early in his career in South America that occurred December 9, 1929.
Tyrone (PA) Daily Herald, Thursday, December 19, 1929 (Source: Woodling)
Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana, Dec. 10. (UP)—
With flames, whipping about the cabin which carried four fellow airmen, and five passengers, Capt. R. H. McGlohn brought a blazing commercial flying boat to a safe landing off shore here yesterday
and escaped with all other occupants while fire enveloped the craft.
All ten occupants of the plane escaped without being touched by the flames. The fire burned off all the covering of the wings but left the motor and hull intact.
The plane was the new Havana, of the New York-Rio-Buenos Aires line, southbound from New York. It appeared off shore here shortly after 3 p. m. Flames were shooting from a wing motor.
Pilot McGlohn headed straight for shore and brought his plane to an easy landing on the water. The flames were licking at the covering of the wings as he quickly taxied the new flying boat up on a mudflat where the five passengers, four other members of the crew and McGlohn scrambled out of the cabin door to safety.
Local authorities who had sighted the plane as it approached the shore hurried to the edge of the mudflat as McGlohn glided to the surface. Their aid was not required.
McGlohn's passengers were officials of the air line, chief among whom was Vice President J. H. Edwards and Mrs. Edwards. The other three passengers were Traffic Manager Cordon of Argentina, Traffic Manager Martinez of Uruguay and Assistant Traffic Manager Servin of Argentina.
The four members of the crew besides McGlohn were R. W. Ritchie, mate; J. L. Blackman, radio operator; C. L. Clements, mechanic and G. A. Thibodeau, second mechanic.
A few months later, below, left, an article from The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica of Monday, March 3, 1930 describes the, "... regular mainline service of this Company is now operating." A year later, The Gleaner of Monday, April 27, 1931 reported, below right, the itineraries of two of Pan American's flying boats as well as one of Cuban Curtiss Airways (Compania Nacional Cubana de Aviacion Curtiss, S.A.) flown by McGlohn.
The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica, April 27, 1931 (Source: Woodling)
THE N. C. 670 M.
The Pan-American Airways' flying boat N. C. 670M. (Pilot Clark) left here on Saturday morning for
Cristobal with malls and intransit passengers.
THE N. C. 668M.
The Pan-American Airways' flying boat N. C. 668M (Pilot Rows) arrived here yesterdav afternoon from Cristobal with mails and will clear this morning for Miami via Cienfuegos, with mails.
THE N.C. 196H.
The Cuban Curtiss Airways' flying boat N.C. 196H. (Pilot McGlohn) arrived here on Saturday afternoon
from Santiago de Cuba with 8 passengers, and left yesterday afternoon on the return flight.
The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica, March 3, 1930 (Source: Woodling)
ST. LUCIA. Feb. ,28 (W. I Press Association).—
Through the courtesy of the New York—Rio—Buenos Aires Line, Inc., several of the leading Inhabitants of this Island had the opportunity to-day of experiencing their first flight. Pilot McGlohn, on the seaplane "Port-of-Spain" made three flights around Castries. The following ladies and gentlemen were his
passengers: Mrs. Gregor Peter, Mrs. Alan Peter,
Commander and Mrs. Russell, Mr. Geo. Gordon, Mr. Harold Devaux, Mrs. Shingleton Smith, Mr. C. W. Mathurin. Mr. H. J. Pink. Miss Doorly, Mr. Clive Beaubrun, Mr. J. R. C. Bascom. Mr. J. Augnifite, Mr. O. Richmond, Mr. J, D. Oshorne.
The regular mainline service of this Company is now operating. The mail left Buenos Aires on the 26th instantly. Passengers, mail and express will be taken North and South-bound.
The newspaper coverage seems to indicate that McGlohn first flew for NYRBA Line, followed by Compania Nacional Cubana de Aviacion Curtiss, S.A. then joined Pan American when they bought the Cuban airline. An article from the Kingston, Jamaica Gleaner of Thursday, May 21, 1936 has him flying the American Clipper from Kingston to Barranquilla with a return in the afternoon, followed by a flight the next day to Miami and returning the next day via Cienfuegos and Havana.
Now with Pan Am a few years, he switched routes in 1937 to begin flying the western Pacific. The switch was announced by him in an informal talk he gave as documented in the news article below, left. The article at right from the Oakland (CA) Tribune, 1938 documents a flight from California to Hawaii, carrying VIPs.
Oakland (CA) Tribune, Friday, September 16, 1938 (Source: Woodling)
Clipper Sails With 11 Aboard
Titled Englishman To Visit Hawaii After U. S. Tour
The Clipper sailed yesterday afternoon with 11 passengers aboard, including a titled Englishman planning to visit the Hawaiian Islands as the conclusion of an extensive
tour of the United States.
He is Sir Stephen Bull, London Lawyer. Traveling as his companions are Frederick F. A. Pearson. and his son. Frederick F. A. Pearson Jr. of New York and Rugby, England. The three will return by Clipper after two weeks in the Hawaiian Islands.
Other passengers were William D. Pawley, New York, making his third trans-Pacific air journey on business for Intercontinental Trading Corporation. a subdivision of Curtiss- Wright; Jesse Waterman, San Francisco, bound for Manila en route to India on business; Byrns English, Pan American employee, who will also stop at Manila; A.J. Swesey and Henry V. Friedle, Pan American employees bound for Wake Island and Midway respectively; Mr. and Mrs. C. E. McAllister, honeymoon couple en route to Honolulu, where McAllister is
stationed for Pan American; and Miss Kathleen Ward, Honolulu real estate broker, returning to her home.
Captain R. H. McGlohn is commanding Officer.
Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, Friday, November 20, 1936 (Source: Woodling)
Captain of Clipper Line Talks to Club
Captain. R.H. McGlohn, of The Pan American Air Lines, who is in command of the Brazilian Clipper Flying between Miami and Buenos Aires and a visitor in Charleston, addressed the Rotary club briefly at the luncheon meeting Friday on the route of the clipper ship and the ports at which it stops.
Captain McGlohn said that he will go to Alameda, Calif., about January 1 to take command of the China Clipper plying between Alameda and Hong Kong.
Captain and Mrs. McGlohn, who with their small daughter, have been visiting Mr. and Mrs. F. G. Bannerot, Jr. of Edgewood drive, since Monday,
will return to their home in Miami tonight.
A year later, he appears as captain on the Philippine Clipper for Pan Am, below left, before the company moved its base from Alameda to Treasure Island, San Francisco. Note in this article and most of the others that a flight on the Clippers at any time was rare and newsworthy enough for the passenger lists to be published.
A few months later, below right, McGlohn was present at the christening with coconut milk of Pan Am's Honolulu Clipper. To help understand what it was like to make the flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong on the Honolulu Clipper, please download (PDF 3.0Mb) the article at the link. The article was authored by McGlohn, age 36, for Popular Aviation magazine, October, 1939.
Oakland Tribune, April 26, 1939 (Source: Woodling)
Oakland (CA) Tribune, Sunday, January 22, 1939 (Source: Woodling)
FOR LAST TIME FROM ALAMEDA
ALAMEDA, Jan. 21. —The Pan American Airways' Philippine Clipper took off for the 263rd transpacific clipper hop from here today, the last trip from Alameda, as the airline will move its offices to Treasure Island next week.
Due in about the first of next month, the China Clipper, only other transpacific plane now in service, will land at the Golden Gate Exposition grounds, where the airline is to establish its quarters. Two other planes, the Hawaii and Samoa Clippers, were lost at sea during the three years since November 22,1935, when flights were first made regularly from the Alameda base.
Starting out to fly mail only, the company established a passenger service in April, 1936, has flown 16,800,000 passenger miles. On the plane today were: Mark Watson, 32, wealthy British sportsman and photographer from London, bound for Hong Kong, and Thomas J. Haddock, 34, Pasadena contractor, on a pleasure trip to Honolulu. Watson plans a tour of IndoChina and India where he is to take pictures of natives to be exhibited at amateur photographers' shows in London. Today's plane was in charge of Capt. R. H. McGlohn, veteran pilot.
McGlohn's wife and daughter received a fair amount of ink, too. For example, below left, from The New York Times of February 26, 1952, is an article describing a charitable benefit for the Child Education Foundation in New York attended by his wife. Likewise, below right, an article covering the marriage of his daughter to an Air Force officer on November 2, 1954.
The New York Times, February 26, 1952 (Source: NYT)
The New York Times, November 2, 1954 (Source: NYT)
From the articles, McGlohn seems to have balanced family and an airline career with Pan American Airways, with a multifaceted entrepreneurial enterprise developing natural resources in Brazil (see below), and a diplomatic aptitude in dealing with officials and workers in his adopted Brazil. That he kept residences at least in Brazil and Florida suggests he did well with each.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 22, 1960 (Source: Woodling)
The New York Times, March 16, 1986, below, published a travel article ("River Wonderland" by Edwin McDowell) the quoted part of which gives insight into McGlohn's attitude toward his adopted home in the Amazon Basin, and his personality.
"Our last day and night in the Amazon were something I had been looking forward to for several years - the opportunity to introduce my son to Robin McGlohn, a resident of Belem who settled in the Amazon in 1944 and never left. At the age of 84, he is still active as a consultant on Amazon wood and forest products, and he still burns with the jungle fever that gets into the blood of many people who see the Amazon for the first time.
"I MET ROBIN (ANYONE who has known him more than a few hours automatically calls him by his first name) in 1981, just after he had arrived home after a weeklong trip into the interior. An airline pilot in the 1920's and 1930's, Robin later flew Pan Am's China Clippers on their six-day journeys from San Francisco to Hong Kong. But the Missouri-born adventurer could never shake the spell of the Amazon, and for more than 40 years he has traveled it on foot and on horseback, in boats, buses and planes, spending as much as a year at a time in the jungle. Today, he is as close as any gringo can be to being a legend in the eastern Amazon. So I wanted my son, who like most kids his age has grown up with television's superheroes, to meet a living legend. More than that, I wanted him to meet a man who has never abandoned his youthful dream.
"They hit it off famously, as I was sure they would. Even now it is difficult to describe the pleasure I felt at seeing Robin, somewhat stooped with age but still over 6 feet tall, holding hands with my 4-foot 6-inch son on the way to dinner, during a tour of a lumber mill or just walking down the street. Although separated in age by more than three-quarters of a century, they were inseparable during our brief time together.
"When we parted, Robin gave us both a traditional abrazo and, with tears in his eyes, said to Eddie, ''God bless you, son. And come back to the Amazon.''
'''Will you still be here?' my son asked in all innocence.
"I blanched at the question, but Robin just smiled. 'Why sure I'll still be here,' he said. 'But what really matters is that the Amazon will be here. It will be here long after all of us.'''
Robin Hollie McGlohn, Register pilot and "legend in the eastern Amazon," was born October 11, 1902 in Anderson, MO, and died December 24,1991 in San Luis Obispo, CA at age 89. McGlohn's son, who has a good Web presence, is a Navy retiree with a substantial record from Vietnam.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 02/12/12 REVISED: 07/07/14