Loren Mendell landed twice at Tucson, both times flying NS-prefixed aircraft owned by the government (Department of the Treasury, see below). His first landing was on Saturday, November 17, 1928. He flew NS-7095, a Vought VE-9, S/N T-3. He carried passenger O.L. Wallace. Based at Dallas, TX, Love Field, they were westbound from Lordsburg, NM to San Diego, CA.
Mendell's second landing was on Friday, February 22, 1929. He was solo in the Vought VE-9 NS-6719, S/N T-5. Still based at Dallas, he was on his way from Phoenix, AZ to Lordsburg. No reason was given in the Register for either of his flights through Tucson, but see the article below. Mendell was a pilot for the U.S. Department of the Treasury assigned to liquor smuggling duty in Florida and on the west coast. His visits through Tucson were probably in association with that duty.
A biography of Mendell is available at the Early Aviators site. Mendell was an early marathon flyer and just a few months after he landed at Tucson the second time he set an endurance record (during July, 1929) with fellow Register pilot Roland B. Reinhart. They flew a Buhl airplane named Angeleno (NC3763, landed twice at Tucson), remaining aloft 246 hours 43 minutes and 2 seconds. Their record was relatively short-lived, being eclipsed by a flight just a week later that bested their time by over 170 hours. that record was broken again less than a year later by the Register pilots known as the Hunter Brothers in June, 1930.
Notwithstanding the fluid nature of endurance records of the time, the Mendell/Reinhart flight was a big deal because it was flown at Culver City, CA, a center of movie production at the time. The Plehinger REFERENCE states (p. 30), "... MGM studios supplied both camera equipment and spotlights in support of the Mendell-Reinhart flight...." Please direct your browser to the airplane's link, above, for further information on this record flight, and more about Mendell and Reinhart.
Mendell was killed in an airplane crash on January 12, 1935 as described in the article below from the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail of January 18th.
Charleston (WV) Daily Mail January 18, 1935 (Source: Gerow)
A Google search for "Polly Louise Counnerilh" comes up dry. There is no information about Mendell in the Social Security death records.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/20/11 REVISED: