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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 a 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 Noville in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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There are over 100 Google hits for "George O. Noville" as of the upload date of this Web page.

 
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GEORGE O. NOVILLE

George Ottilie Noville's surname is pronounced "no-veal." His nickname was Rex. According to Social Security records, Register passenger George O. Noville was born April 24, 1900 and died during January, 1963. Site visitor Russ Plehinger has Noville born April 24, 1891; died 1966.

George Noville, NAR, California, September, 1936 (Source: Boedy's Album)

Noville landed at Tucson and signed the Register twice with two different pilots. His first visit was on Monday, November 23, 1925. He flew with pilot Carl A. Cover and two other passengers in 25-425, a Douglas C-1 Transport. Based at Dayton, OH Wright Field, they were westbound from El Paso, TX to an unidentified destination. They remained overnight in Tucson, departing the next morning at 10:00. At right, a photograph of Noville taken at the National Air Races (NAR) September 4-7, 1936. The photograph is from this REFERENCE, page 14.

Noville was a participant in at least two very famous flights of the 1920s. The first brought him to Tucson the second time on Tuesday, November 9, 1926. He was flying with pilot Floyd Bennett in the Fokker F-7 named "Josephine Ford" . Based at New York, NY (probably Roosevelt Field, q.v.) they were eastbound from San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX. Again they remained in Tucson overnight, departing the next morning at 8:15. Please direct your browser to the links for Bennett and the "Josephine Ford" to learn about the reason for their landing at Tucson, and for many original images of the airplane and links to Noville's fellow passengers.

George Noville, Popular Aviation, March, 1939 (Source: PA)
George Noville, Popular Aviation, March, 1939 (Source: PA)

 

 

Image, left, from an advertisement in Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, March, 1939. The ad announced his appointment as Director of Training for the California Flyers, Inc., a government and industry-approved school of aviation. California Flyers was based at Mines Field, Inglewood, CA.

The second notable flight was the trans-Atlantic attempt for the Orteig Prize in a Fokker C-2 trimotor monoplane named "America". Noville was the flight and fuel engineer, serving as a crew member under pilot Richard Byrd and copilot Bernt Balchen. The June 29, 1927 flight of the "America" ended in a ditching at sea off what was to become known seventeen years later as Omaha Beach. Anyway, their preparations and attempt had been scooped a month earlier by Lindbergh.

Although this flight did not win the Orteig Prize, it was significant because it carried the first trans-Atlantic airmail. Not surprisingly, the mail was soaked in seawater, rendering the glue on the stamps ineffective and compromising the value of cachets. For his participation in the trans-Atlantic flight of the "America", Noville was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Earlier, Noville was involved with airmail for about seven months (7/16/19 - 2/15/20) as Superintendent, Western Division. In 1924, he served as Supply Engineer for the Around-the-World Flyers. Members of that crew are also Register pilots Les Arnold, Erik Nelson, Henry Ogden, Leigh Wade, Lowell Smith and Alva Harvey.

From Time Magazine, September 17, 1928, " Lieut. Commander George O. Noville, engineer of the Byrd trans-Atlantic flight, was appointed technical director of the Union Air Lines, Inc., a Pacific coast passenger service."

He had one son, George Rex Noville, 1932-1975.

Noville Bulova
Noville Bulova
"White Adventure No. 1", Argosy, January 18, 1936
"White Adventure No. 1", Argosy, January 18, 1936

 

Noville wrote a series of articles for Argosy January-July, 1936 entitled "White Adventures" 1-25.

Image, right, from this link, provides bibliographic information for the entire series of 25. This issue, on January 18, 1936, published the first serialized installment and included cover copy with an image of Noville, announcing the series.

He leveraged his "America" experience well. He also wrote, for Bill Barnes Air Trails Magazine, Vol VI, No. 1,  April 1936 and article entitled, "Transatlantic", which was billed by the magazine as "Opening the next chapter in aviation - written by an authority".

An interesting bit of memorabilia, the NASM Web site has George Noville's wristwatch, with this image online (left). Below is the NASM description of the watch, donated by Noville himself. No chronograph or calendar on this watch, as found on modern "aviation" watches. And notice the radium dial.

Lt. George O. Noville, owner of this watch, served as the assistant pilot and flight engineer on the flight of the Fokker Tri-Motor "America."

Donated by Lt. George O. Noville

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Manufacturer: Bulova Watch Company

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Date: 1927

Country of Origin: United States of America

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Dimensions:
8 1/4 x 1 3/16 in. (21 x 3 cm)

Materials:
Band: Leather
Watch: Stainless Steel with silver plate

Physical Description:
Silver wrist watch with luminous numbers and hands; brown leather strap. Has a plexi case that is intended to contain radiation.

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Inventory Number: A19280006000

During the late 1930s, Noville traveled the paid speaker's circuit. He leveraged heavily his exeriences with Byrd into the topics of his dais presentations. In the Annual Report in the February, 1936 issue of the Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts of the City of Detroit, he was cited as delivering the "World Adventure Series" talk the previous September 29th entitled, "With Admiral Byrd From Pole to Pole".

The April, 1937 issue of the Field Museum News (Chicago) has Noville cancelling a presentation of his lecture on "Fifteen Years of Aerial Exploration" as follows, "On the morning of the lecture day the Museum was notified that Lieutenant-Commander Noville was in the hospital due to sudden illness."

Later he was managed by Harold R. Peat, Inc., as illustrated below from the Peat List for October-November, 1937. His marketing blurb from that list is below. Note that it mentions "color movies", a relatively new technological advancement in photography at that time.

George Noville on Speaker's Circuit
George Noville on Speaker's Circuit

He also contributed to the screenplay and was an uncredited technical consultant for John Ford's 1938 movie "Submarine Patrol" starring Richard Greene.

He is memorialized in Antarctica as follows. ''Noville Peninsula'' at 71° 56' S by 98° 35' W (located below), is named for him, as he served as executive officer for the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1933-35. It is a high, ice-covered peninsula about 30 nautical miles (60 km) long, between Peale and Murphy Inlets on the north side of Thurston Island. Originally delineated from aerial photographs made by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump in December 1946, the photograph below is from Google Earth, 2009.

Noville Peninsula, Antarctica, Google Earth, 2009
Noville Peninsula, Antarctica, Google Earth, 2009

If that wasn't enough, Byrd also named a mountain after him. ''Mount Noville'' at 86° 27' S by 146° 10' W is 2,410 meters tall, standing between Van Reeth and Robison Glaciers and 4 nautical miles (7 km) east of Mount Bowlin, in the Queen Maud Mountains. It was discovered by the geological party under Quin Blackburn of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1933-35. Google Earth does not have good coverage of this inland location.

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UPLOADED: 02/01/11 REVISED: 02/07/11, 02/25/14, 07/03/14

 
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OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

"Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936" is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

 
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