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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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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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There is no biographical file for pilot Meadows in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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CECIL CRITTENDEN MEADOWS

C. Meadows, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)
C. Meadows, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)

 

 

Like several Register pilots, Cecil Meadows has an airport named after him: the Bakersfield Airport (Kern County No. 1). There are seven airports located in Kern County, at Bakersfield, Buttonwillow, Kern Valley, Lost Hills, Poso, Taft, and Wasco. As of the late 1990s, Meadows Field was the only Kern County airport to produce revenues that exceeded the cost of operations. Kern County No. 1 was the airfield that the Josephine Ford landed at on November 5, 1926.

 

Fresno Bee, Friday October 27, 1935 (Source: Gerow)
Fresno Bee, Friday October 27, 1935 (Source: Gerow)

 

 

Cecil Crittenden Meadows was born April 2, 1903 in Texas. He died at Kern County, CA, August 3, 1957 of a heart attack at age 54. Meadows signed the Davis-Monthan Register once on September 9, 1932 at 5:45PM. He carried a single passenger, Tommy Wood in Lincoln-Page NC78N. Based at Bakersfield, CA, they were westbound from El Paso, TX to Yuma, AZ and probably on to California from there. They remained overnight, departing from Tucson the next day at 5:30AM. They noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Finishing trip to NY with OX5." Theirs was a long trip in those days, especially with an OX-5 engine. Earlier, if they came through Tucson, they had not signed the Register eastbound.

Ms. McClellan (right sidebar) shares a family anecdote as follows, "He was in his early twenties when he scraped enough money together for his first plane, a two-seater Jenny he called "The Black Cat.  He didn't know how to fly it but had a friend who could.  Flying was such a novelty that the curious, gullible public would pay $10 for an adventurous spin around the field.  His friend was so busy flying passengers that Cecil's flying instructions were neglected.  He was selling tickets and not getting to fly.

"One day his friend went south and told Cecil to take over.  He took his first solo, a thrill that in memory always sent shudders up and down his spine.  He discovered instantly that he didn't know how to land.  He managed to dive the ship in an undignified manner into a field, without injury to himself and only a broken propeller and other slight damage to the plane. He then got his flight instructions."

 

 

 

Below, a photograph of Meadows, left, in Tipton, Oklahoma where, according to his family, he occasionally had lunch with his Uncle James Calvin Meadows, right, during cross-country flights. The airplane behind him appears to be a Lincoln-Page LP series. This could well be part of the flight cited in the Register, above. The photographer could be passenger Wood.

Cecil Meadows (L) and His Uncle, September, 1931 (?) Source: Meadows Family)
Cecil Meadows (L) and His Uncle, September, 1931 (?) Source: Meadows Family)

Below, another image of Meadows in the cockpit. The location appears to be Bakersfield, since there is an oil derrick faintly visible above and to the left of the gentleman's hat.

Cecil Meadows in Cockpit, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)
Cecil Meadows in Cockpit, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)

Below, another photograph of Meadows (third from right) with members of the Kern County Pilots Association. The date is unknown, but the location is probably Bakersfield.

Cecil Meadows (3rd From Right), Bakersfield (?), CA, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)
Cecil Meadows (3rd From Right), Bakersfield (?), CA, Date Unknown (Source: Meadows Family)

Meadows was a long-term Kern County figure. At right, from October 27, 1935, shared with us by frequent contributor Mike Gerow (cited, right sidebar), an article describes an altitude flight by Meadows and fellow Register pilot Jack Hardesty. Hardesty landed three times during 1929-30 flying Waco NC6700. Although many pilots and aircraft by 1935 had exceeded 25,000' by a good margin, few did it without oxygen.

Meadows Field was dedicated on August 6, 1957 (three days after Meadows' death). Except for his service in World War II, Meadows had been the airport director as well as a county airport commissioner from April, 1935, to August, 1957. He was a pioneer airman with much vision and expert flying ability.

Below, from 1953, an article from the Bakersfield Californian, December 31, 1953. The author is Cecil Meadows. I've posted it sideways so the font size is larger. The article cites the Bakersfield Airport as being the first county airport in the U.S., as opposed to the Davis-Monthan Airfield, which was allegedly the first municipal field. Note the mention of Eugene Gerow in the fourth column. He was contributor Gerow's uncle.

Bakersfield Californian, December 31, 1953 (Source: Gerow)
Bakersfield Californian, December 31, 1953 (Source: Gerow)

Meadows was very forward-thinking in predicting space flight from Bakersfield. Fifty years and 6 months after his article, SpaceOne was launched from Mojave and completed history’s first commercial (i.e. non-government) space flight.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/03/11 REVISED: 08/16/13

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Meadows 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 Mike Gerow for much of this information. And thanks to Meadows' grand niece, L. McClellan, for sharing her family's photographs of pilot Meadows with us.
 
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