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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.


The text is taken from information presented to the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame during the April 17, 1999 induction of C.E. Shankle and Joan Fay Shankle. Courtesy of Col (Ret) Charles T. Niblett of Tucson, AZ.


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C. E. Shankle With JN-4 (Source: Shankle)
With JN-4

Clarence E. “Dutch” Shankle (1893-1973) enlisted in the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, in 1917 from his home in Texas. He received his pilot rating before the Armistice in 1918 and served as an instructor at various airfields during the Great War. When General Billy Mitchell proved in 1921 that aircraft could sink naval vessels, Lt. Shankle was a member of the squadron of MB-2 bombers from the 1st Provisional Air Brigade which sank the German battleship "Ostfriesland" off the east coast of the U.S.

Shankle landed at Tucson twice, on December 20, 1926 and on October 23, 1929. He was in the military at the time, flying Douglas aircraft. His home base was listed as Boston, MA. He was the Regular Army Instructor to the 26th Division, Aviation Unit, stationed in Boston. His duty was to guide the National Guard flyers through proficiency training, maneuvers, and cross country flights. He was a very accomplished instructor, holding ratings as an airship pilot, balloon observer, and aeronautical observer in addition to being an airplane pilot.

His wife, Joan Fay Shankle (1908-1964), was another race pilot and record setter. They were married February 29, 1928, and Dutch Shankle taught her to fly, soloing her on May 13, 1929. Issued on July 5, 1929, she was the first woman to receive a private pilot’s license in Massachusetts (license no. 7838).

C.E. Shankle

During 1930, Dutch Shankle was promoted and assigned to Fort Sill, OK, commanding the 88th Observation Squadron. About a year later, he resigned from the military and they moved to their PM Ranch just north of Tubac and 40 miles south of Tucson. They built an airstrip to keep their Stearman J-5 and Lockheed Sirius (Stearman NC5491 cited once; Lockheed NC13W cited three times in the Register piloted by his wife).

The first annual Tucson Air Show was held in 1933. Flying the Stearman, Captain Shankle won the free for all Air Race Trophy. The next year, in the second annual show free for all, which was now named for him, Capt. Shankle, in a field of 19 contestants, won for the second time.

He returned to active duty during WWII and retired as a colonel. He died in Los Angeles in 1973.


Image, below, dropping bombs and seeming to enjoy it.

C.E. Shankle Dropping Bombs, Date Unknown (Source: Shankle)
Dropping Bombs


Dossier 2.1.6

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/06/06 REVISED: 01/17/06, 11/21/06

The Register

I'm looking for photos of Stearman NC5491.

Images on this page courtesy of C.E. Shankle's son, John.
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