I Fly Again!

View products that support dmairfield.org

OTHER RESOURCES

Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot O'Donnell, CO-011000-01, -20, et seq., reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

---o0o---

O'Donnell's daughter has written a book about her mother. It is available here along with another very nice image.

See the link to NC1082.

---o0o---

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.

---o0o---

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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.

---o0o---

FRESNO BEE, August 29, 1929. This issue presents an unusual number (ten) of aviation-related articles, all on the front page. Note, too, the anecdote by Will Rogers regarding how to locate an airfield.

---o0o---

 
Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
CulturalMotion PicturesFriendsNon Profit statusProducts and services
ReferencesPublicationsCollectionsGuest EditorsPress Coverage

GLADYS O'DONNELL

Gladys O'Donnell (Source: NASM)
Gladys O'Donnell

Gladys O'Donnell, accomplished Golden Age air racer, appears in the Davis-Monthan Register on May 24, 1931. Based at Long Beach, CA she was southbound from Phoenix to Douglas, AZ. She flew to Tucson solo in Waco CTO NC21M.

O'Donnell was a Charter member of the 99's (link has a nice biography) and she was a participant in the August, 1929 Powder Puff Derby. She won second place in the Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH cross-country race with a time of 21:21:43. She won $1,950 for her effort. This was a remarkable feat, in that, depending on the source you read, she had accumulated only 40-90 flight hours before the race.

Her victory was very much appreciated by the U.S. Navy, which, at the time maintained a Naval Reserve Station at the Long Beach airport where O'Donnell and her husband were based and shared responsibiilities in a flying business. Below, from the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of October 9, 1929, below, we learn that the Navy provided and escort for her upon her return to the west coast.

 

 

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, October 9, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, October 9, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

Below, an image of Gladys and husband Lloyd, with their Ever-Readys ever ready, from 1927.

Gladys & Lloyd O'Donnell, 1927
Gladys & Lloyd O'Donnell, 1927

Below, identifying data on the back of the image above.

Gladys & Lloyd O'Donnell, 1927
Gladys & Lloyd O'Donnell, 1927

---o0o---

Below, a very compelling view of Gladys O'Donnell shared with us by site visitor Jeff Staines. This appears to be at a break in the action at, probably, one of her air race stops (NAR 1933?). A copy of this same photograph is exhibited along with the 1933 cachet as presented below. It must have been a common "handout" for O'Donnell fans at race events.

Gladys O'Donnell, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Staines)
Gladys O'Donnell, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Staines)

 

Fresno Bee, August 29, 1929 (Source: NASM)
Fresno Bee, August 29, 1929

At right, from the Fresno Bee of August 29, 1929 (cited, left sidebar). describes her win in Event No. 28, the Women's Race for 510-800 cu. in. engines. She won $625 for her effort. She flew a Waco Taper Wing, probably NC21M.

Ironically, this column of victories mentions Register pilot Jack Reid, who sought a solo endurance record. The airplane he was flying Emsco NX832H (not a Register airplane), is pictured at the bottom of this page. He was killed in a crash of that airplane shortly after this article appeared.

Photo, below, courtesy of site visitor Joe Kranz, is of O'Donnell ca. 1932. That year at the NAR she won the Aerol Trophy Race Free For All for women and collected $2,250 in prize money flying a Menasco-powered Howard aircraft.

Gladys O'Donnell, Ca. 1929? (Source: Kranz)
Gladys O'Donnell, Ca. 1929? (Source: Kranz)

The airplane she is standing in is "IKE," a Howard (DGA-4), which carried NR-56Y and race number 39. "IKE" first raced in 1932.

In the 1930 National Air Races, she entered the Women's Class A Pacific Derby that flew from Long Beach, CA to Chicago, IL. She had accumulated about 250 flight hours since her 1929 showing. She placed first in the 1930 race with a time of 15:13:16 and won $3,500. NC21M was her mount during the 1930 race.

Below, from site visitor Joe Kranz, three U.S. postal cachets from July 17, 1931, September 1, 1932 and July 3, 1933 commemorating the dedication of the Long Beach airport and the 1932 and 1933 NAR. Immediately below, note that the field is named Daugherty Field in memory of Register pilot Earl Daugherty.

U.S. Postal Cachet, Long Beach, CA, July 17, 1931 (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, Long Beach, CA, July 17, 1931 (Source: Kranz)

I tried pushing this image with PhotoShop to increase the readability of the imprint, but result was not good.

U.S. Postal Cachet, National Air Races, September 1, 1932 (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, September 1, 1932 (Source: Kranz)

 

U.S. Postal Cachet, July 3, 1933 (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, July, 1933 (Source: Kranz)

For legibility of the event imprint, I pushed the image above in PhotoShop to bring out the imprint (the postage stamps become illegible, however).

U.S. Postal Cachet, July 3, 1933, Pushed (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, July, 1933, Pushed (Source: Kranz)

Gladys O'Donnell has a good Web presence. A Google search on her name yields 1,300 hits as of the date of upload of this page. Exploring these will find for you assorted biographies and accounts of her other race successes.

---o0o---

UPLOADED: 10/07/07 REVISED: 04/14/08, 12/15/08, 04/04/11, 06/28/11, 07/01/11

 
Home
The Register
People
Places
Airplanes
Events
 
Contact Us | Credits | Copyright © 2008 Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
This website is best enjoyed in a 1024 x 768 screen resolution.
Web design by The Web Professional, Inc