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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Plosser, CP-272000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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

J.B. Plosser was an active pilot and aviation entrepreneur who landed five times at Tucson. His first three landings were early in 1930; his last two in 1933. Below, from an unidentified source, is Joseph Plosser around 1937. This same photograph appeared in the Hollywood Citizen-News in 1937 in an article about charter pilots, including Register signer Joe Lewis. Plosser was quoted in the article, "Few people realize what charter flying really involves. We--the charter operators--are called upon to complete flights as speedily and efficiently as the air lines, but all too often without radio beam or beacon guidance."

Joseph B. Plosser, Ca. 1937 (Source: Unk)
Joseph B. Plosser, Ca. 1937 (Source: Unk)

Plosser's first three landings were from his home base identified in the Register as Phoenix, AZ. He flew from Phoenix the Curtiss Robin NC77H, the Ryan NC7735, and the Fleet NC8602. Based on the ownership of the Fleet at the time (see the link) Plosser might have been working for Grand Canyon Airlines, or at least chartering a flight for them.

His last two landings were with the Curtiss Fledgeling, NC488K, and the Aeronca NC14692. He was based at Glendale, CA. It appears from the Register that the Aeronca was being ferried solo west from the factory in Cincinnati, OH. According to the REFERENCE, pp. 83-85, Plosser was a west coast distributor for Aeronca aircraft. Below is an aerial view of Plosser's business at the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) in Glendale, CA. In the original photograph the airplane registration numbers are visible. From left to right they are NC13744, a Kinner Sportster S/N 86 that is not a Register airplane; NC445W, a A Travel Air 12-K S/N 12K-2011 that appears in the Clover Field and GCAT Registers; NC236W, a Stinson SM-8A S/N 4045 that landed at Parks Airport; and NC9914, a Travel Air 6000-B S/N 1079.

Aerial View of "Plosserville," Date Unknown (Source: Woodling)
Aerial View of "Plosserville," Date Unknown (Source: Woodling)

According to the Social Security Index online, Plosser was born August 23, 1896 at Birmingham, AL and died during May, 1975 at age 78. His NASM biographical folder (left sidebar) and the Blue Book of Aviation, 1932 (right sidebar) corroborate his birth date. Another source, probably wrong, has him born in 1898. He has a very sparse Web presence.

Plosser was educated at the University High School, Birmingham and at the Missouri Military Academy, Mexico, MO, graduating in 1915 or 16 depending on which source you read. He attended the University of Alabama for two years, but did not graduate. He did graduate in 1918 from the School of Military Aeronautics, Austin, TX. He learned to fly with the U.S. Army Air Corps, Lake Charles, LA in 1918.

Plosser's flying career can roughly be divided into three phases: U.S. Army Air Corps, airlines, and flying school operator. He became a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, too late for combat flying in WWI. He was assigned as pursuit instructor at Rockwell Field, San Diego, CA. He served as officer in charge of flying a t East Field, San Diego, until his discharge in 1919. He married Laura De Vane of North Carolina on June 9, 1920.

Plosser held Commercial Pilot Certificate #6555. After discharge from the military, he was in the automobile business for a short time, then entered commercial aviation as a pilot for The Century Pacific Lines, Ltd. (1932). At some point after that he became self-employed with his own companies, Joe Plosser Air College (President), and the Aeronautical Training Center, Inc. (President), both based at Glendale. His presence at Glendale's Grand Central Air Terminal was so pervasive that his surroundings became known as "Plosserville." Below is an advertisement for Plosser's business at Grand Central Air Terminal from Flying & Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, March, 1941. On the cusp of WWII, Plosser's operation was part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program initiated by the military to prepare pilots for air combat.

Flying & Popular Aviation, March, 1941 (Source: PA)

According to his NASM folder, Plosser had accumulated 9,123 flight hours as of March 17, 1940 and he owned eight training airplanes, soon to be all Porterfield trainers (above). He was a Mason, a Rotarian, a member of the Quiet Birdmen and of the American Legion, Aviator's Post #350.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/21/11 REVISED: 07/14/14, 04/25/16

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of Plosser and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

Some of this information is from the Blue Book of Aviation, Roland W. Hoagland, Ed., published in 1932 by The Hoagland Company, Publishers, Los Angeles, CA. 292 pp.

The cover of this handsome book is deeply engraved, and the fly leaves are printed with terrific art deco accents. Inside are brief biographies of contemporary aviation figures, as well as tables of various data.

 
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