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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Smith, CS-678500-01, 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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WARREN B. SMITH

Warren Smith had a presence in the news before he came to Tucson. The New York Times of September 5, 1927 cites his participation in an aerial wedding over the Teterboro (NJ) Airport as part of the National Airplane Show held there. It was the second such wedding within 24 hours during the show. Smith flew one of the airplanes that carried the Best Man, bridesmaids and other attendants. Ive McKinney piloted the airplane with the bridal couple and clergy. The Times states, below:

New York Times, September 5, 1927 (Source: NYT)
New York Times, September 5, 1927 (Source: NYT)

Smith landed twice at Tucson. Based at Perth Amboy, NJ, he came solo each time. His first visit was Sunday, September 9, 1928. He was westbound from Lordsburg, NM to Los Angeles, CA.

His second landing was on Thursday, October 11, 1928. He was eastbound from Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX. Both times he flew the Swallow NC706. His itinerary through Tucson took him to and from the 1928 National Air Races (NAR), which were held at Los Angeles that year. According to the Aircraft Yearbook, he placed 9th in the Transcontinental Class A Race, in 32:57:14, out of the money. His fellow racers comprised a who's who of Register pilots. Among them were Earl Rowland (first place), Tex Rankin, George Zinn, Steve Wittman, M.E. Grevemberg and others. A report from the finish line appeared in the New York Times of September 11, 1928, available at the link (PDF 114kb). Several issues of the Times preceding the finish tracked the NAR across the country.

A Web source reports, after the grounding of the Gates Flying Circus in March, 1929, "Gates' chief pilot Clyde 'upside down' Pangborn [see Hugh Herndon's page for information about Pangborn] quickly set up the New Standard Flying Service with three J-5 powered New Standard D-25 biplanes. NC9756 [not a Register airplane] was one of these ships [as was NC9194, see below]. 'A typical Sunday afternoon at Teterboro went something like this. Under the hot sun, a water wagon ran up and down the field to dampen down the dust of the sun-baked sod. The barkers on the P.A system sold passenger ride by the hundreds at a dollar a head. Capt. Warren B. Smith, Homer Fackler and Bill Diehl hopped the many passengers four at a time in the New Standards.'"

Smith's NASM biographical file (cited, left sidebar) contains only a couple of news articles from 1929. During Smith's time with the New Standard Flying Service at least two of their airplanes were equipped with lights under the wings. The lights were used for aerial advertising at night. Smith was involved in a disturbance one night with the following coverage in local newspapers. Below, from the New York Sun of August 8, 1929, Smith ran afoul of a well-known band leader of the era during a concert at Central Park in New York City. Grammarians needn't comment on the lead sentence of this article.

New York Sun, August 8, 1929 (Source: NASM)
New York Sun, August 8, 1929 (Source: NASM)

The New York Times of Thursday, August 15, 1919 reported on the complementary flight that was given at 3PM that afternoon. The Times of August 16th reported on the result of their flight, right, below.

New York Times, August 16, 1929 (Source: NYT)
New York Times, August 16, 1929 (Source: NYT)

Edwin Franko Goldman and The Goldman Band were a popular act in and around the New York Metropolitan area during the Golden Age and beyond. The Goldman Band was disbanded in 2005. Does anyone KNOW if Goldman's inspiration developed into a new march?

Continuing, and in keeping with the sometimes tortuous relationships between Register pilots and aircraft, one of Gates Flying Circus' New Standards is a Register airplane. NC9194 landed at Tucson Friday, December 6, 1929 flown by Herndon. Likewise, Homer Fackler visited Tucson in another New Standard, NC193E, on Thursday, May 28, 1931. Fackler was acting as chase plane for John Miller's trans-continental autogiro record set that year. The New Standard belonged to Miller at the time.

According to a couple of Web sources, Smith flew for Panagra (Pan American-Grace Airways, Inc.) in South America. He worked for the line from 1931 to January, 1965. At the link, the author, writing about his experiences post-1942, states, "... Captain Warren B. Smith [was] based in Santiago for many years and eventually made more than 1,500 crossings of the Andes. He was awarded a military order (of the Condor ...) by the Chilean government for his exploits."

W.B. Smith Obituary, New York Times, May 23, 1965 (Source: NYT)
W.B. Smith Obituary, New York Times, May 23, 1965 (Source: NYT)

 

From the same source, another anecdote regarding Smith's Panagra experiences: "The next morning, after boarding the station wagon which met us at the railway station, Captain Smith told me not to bother measuring the right hand auxiliary tank on the way back to Santiago. I did as I was told. On arrival in Santiago, with the aid of one of the ground crew, we were measuring the fuel on board when he opened the right hand aux tank and showed me that it was full of gas. I thought that I must have messed up someplace on the way and went to tell the Captain of this find. When I blurted out our discovery, Warren B. said, 'Don't think anything about it, Sonny, that's just a little automobile gas for my Buick that I picked up in BA.'"

From a second Panagra source, "... Warren B. Smith signed on in 1931. Warren Smith was to become a legend in Santiago where he was based for 15 years and was known as 'The King of the Andes'.”

Smith was born January 10, 1903. He passed away May 21, 1965 at Homestead, FL, a young man of 62 years recently retired from Panagra. At left, a copy of his obituary that appeared in the New York Times of May 23, 1965.

I have no other information about Smith, where or when he learned to fly, what he did in his spare time, etc. I have no photographs of him or of his Swallow airplane. If you can help in this regard, please click on the link at the top of the right sidebar.

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Dossier 2.1.148

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/14/11 REVISED:

 
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