George Curtis Quick visited Tucson four times. In the Rodengen book in the REFERENCES, he is called Curtis Quick and flew with Clyde Cessna during the 1928 National Air Races in a Cessna model AA. A small photograph of Quick is at passenger Bert White.
His first two landings at Tucson were in the Cessna BW (S/N 147) NC6447. His first landing, on March 8, 1929, was solo (note in the Register he mis-wrote his airplane registration number as "NC6647," which is a Ryan B-1 Brougham, S/N 132). Based at El Paso, TX, he was on a round-robin flight back to El Paso. His second landing was on July 1, 1929. This time he was southeast bound from Phoenix, AZ to El Paso (and this time he got the registration number right). He carried two passengers, Register pilot Glenn Warren Brophy and W.H. Harley. No reason for their flight was given in the Register. Please direct your browser to Brophy's link to learn about the fate of this prolific Golden Age pilot.
Quick also visited twice in the Bellanca NC196N, on Sunday, November 16, 1930 and on Tuesday, January 5, 1932. On his first landing he carried three unidentified passengers. They were westbound from Lordsburg, NM to San Diego, CA. He was solo the second time.
At one point, George Quick was a test pilot for the Cessna Aircraft company in Wichita. During the late 1920s, Wichita was a very active area in aircraft manufacture in the U.S. Brands such as Travel Air, Cessna, Lark, Stearman, Laird and Swallow were manufactured there.
Each airplane needed an engine. Quick was also an officer in the short-lived Quick Motor Company, as reported in the Wichita Eagle of Wednesday, October 3, 1928. The company seems to have been a family affair.
The Quick Motor Company reorganized today, with the resignation of several officers, election of men to replace them, to a complete change in manufacturing policy. The Quick Company has been chiefly engaged in the conversion of Rhone motors into Quick motors. The conversion will be suspended, and instead the company will make a new motor of original design. R. G. Powers, former president, resigned. Charles E. Quick, former vicepresident, was elected president and Thomas E. Quick, vice-president. H. Spencer Quick is a director and also George C. Quick. The company also plans to design a new monoplane. H. H. Patton purchased the furniture and fixtures at the factory building near the municipal airport, for $4000.
Quick married Maggie Manning on 16 November 1918. He passed away on Wednesday, January 5, 1955 as reported in the Wichita Eagle of January 6th, following.
"Report of death yesterday at his home in Phoenix, Arizona at age 60 of George C. Quick, former Cessna Aircraft Company test pilot. Born in New Market, Alabama. Came to Wichita in 1928. Left here in 1932 for El Paso, Texas. Built one of the first crop dusting attachments for an airplane and dusted crops several years before coming to Wichita. Past 18 years he has sold ladybird beetles for control of infestations of foliage eating insects. Survived by wife, Alice Jane, two sons, Eldon, of the home and James, of Los Angeles, California, five brothers, H. S., of Phoenix, Joe and Carroll, of New Market, Alabama, Will of Houston, Texas, and Thomas, 341 North Market in Wichita, and one sister, Mrs. T. N. Franklin, 341 North Market, and his mother, Mrs. W. L. Hughes, 438 Avenue A in Wichita. Photo. Burial at Wichita Park cemetery. Followup article January 10, page 7A."
Regarding his crop dusting attachment, a patent was issued for it in 1942. Regarding his ladybugs, the following article from Time Magazine of March 19, 1951 tells of his business.
George Curtis Quick, ladybug merchant of Phoenix, Ariz., was as busy last week as any of his bugs. Orders were flooding in from all over the country. An Oklahoma farmer ordered 1,000 gallons of bugs (135,000 bugs per gal.). A group in the Texas Panhandle wanted all that "Pappy" Quick could supply. The price: $7.50 per gal., in lots of ten gallons or more.
In his years as a professional crop-duster, Pappy saw the damage that poisons can do in upsetting the balance of nature. They often kill all insects, including those that eat other insects. Heavy dusting or spraying is often followed by a plague of sapsucking plant lice (aphids), which are normally held within bounds by their natural enemies, ladybugs.* The logical answer: supply ladybugs.
Pappy established himself in Phoenix and scouted around for sources of bug supply. Several Western species have a fortunate habit of flying up canyons to hibernate, gathering in large masses on rocks or bushes. They can be brushed off and sold to Pappy, who hibernates them artificially in refrigerators at 36° F.
Pappy's bugs are collected by canyon-tromping outdoor types in most of the Rocky Mountain states. In spring he ships them by air as far away as Detroit. As soon as they eat a few aphids, they begin to reproduce. The eggs laid by the females hatch into larvae that look like miniature Gila monsters and devour up to 50 aphids a day. In around 20 days the larvae are ready to reproduce, too. "We just plant the seeds," says Pappy, "it's the multiplication does the work."
With the demand far greater than the supply, Pappy tries to tell farmers how to make the most of their bugs. "You gotta be patient with them," he warns his customers. "They are easily frightened, timid bugs. Just lay them down gently, one handful at a time, and they'll go right to work next day."
*Entomological purists insist that ladybugs are not true bugs (Hemiptera), but beetles (Coleoptera).
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