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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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There is no biographical file for pilot Sodowsky in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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JAY B. SODOWSKY

Jay Sodowsky was born February 25, 1904 at Blackwell, OK. He passed away on April 26, 1981. His son (cited, right sidebar) shares with us the images on this page.

Jay Sodowsky signed the Tucson Register three times. His first landing was on the 5th or 6th of October, 1927. He was flying the airplane pictured below, carrying as passenger fellow Register pilot Newman Wadlow. They identified their home base as Wichita, KS.

Sodowsky competed in the 1927 National Air Races (NAR) in the Class B derby from New York to Spokane, WA. The NAR started September 20th that year. He flew the Swallow aircraft he is posed with wearing race number 54. He was among 23 fellow contestants who did not finish the derby. He did not note his and Wadlow's direction of flight or destination in the Register, so we can only assume that they were returning from the west coast after the race.

J.B. Sodowsky with Swallow 1613, Ca. September, 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)
J.B. Sodowsky with Swallow 1613, Ca. September, 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)

Below, another photograph of Sadowsky in a light jumpsuit posed in front of an unidentified aircraft (a Brunner-Winkle Bird BK?). It is not the Swallow above (note the difference in the engines). This photo is shared by a cousin.

Jay Sodowsky, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Sodowsky)

Below is his FAI licence for 1927, which would have been in effect when he competed in the 1927 NAR. Note that it, as were all such licenses of the time, signed personally by Orville Wright.

Jay Sodowsky, FAI License, 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky, FAI License, 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)

Below, is his FAI license for 1928. He carried this license when he competed in the Class B race in the 1928 NAR, September 8-16. The cross-country route this year was from New York Roosevelt Field to Los Angeles Mines Field. He flew with team Cessna that year. Please direct your browser to the link for the 1928 NAR for team Cessna's results.

Jay Sodowsky, FAI License, 1928 (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky, FAI License, 1928 (Source: Sodowsky)

He flew the Cessna model AW NC5336 when he landed at Tucson the second and third times, traveling to and from Los Angeles. Based at Marietta, OH, he landed on Tuesday, September 11, 1928. He carried as his single passenger Miss L.M. Westhoff. They were westbound from El Paso, TX to Yuma, AZ. He landed again eastbound after the Races on September 19th carrying Mrs. Sodowsky.

Jay Sodowsky's Quiet Birdmen Membership Card (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky's Quiet Birdmen Membership Card (Source: Sodowsky)

 

 

He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen organization of pilots. His identification card is at left.

His son identifies his favorite pastime as fishing, with never an excuse needed to head to the lake.

 

 

Jay Sodowsky's Department of Commerce Identification Card (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky's Department of  Commerce Identification Card (Source: Sodowsky)

 

 

At right, his Department of Commerce identification card. At age 30, this card would have been in effect from 1934.

 

 

 

 

 

Below, Sodowsky stands with a Bird A model, serial number 1027. The caption on the back of the photo says simply, "Jay with his new airplane." This is not a Register airplane, either in the hands of Sodowsky or any other pilot.

Jay Sodowsky with Bird A NC7K, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky with Bird A NC7K, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Sodowsky)

Below, a photograph of Sodowsky (R), Amelia Earhart and Wade Stewart taken March 19,1937. The airplane is a Waco cabin model.

Wade Stewart, Amelia Earhart, Jay Sodowsky, March 19, 1937 (Source: Sodowsky)
Wade Stewart, Amelia Earhart, Jay Sodowsky, March 19, 1937 (Source: Sodowsky)

Mr. Sodowsky says about this photograph, "Wade Stewart and my Dad were involved in running an airport together. I think in Belpre, Ohio. Dad was involved in running the airport at Parkersburg, also. The picture with Amelia was taken at Parkersburg W.Va."

Spartan School of Aeronautics Instructor's Badge (Source: Sodowsky)
Spartan School of Aeronautics Instructor's Badge (Source: Sodowsky)

 

 

At right, during WWII Sodowsky was a flight instructor at Spartan in Tulsa, OK. This patch would be worn on his flight jacket, similar to that in this photograph (PDF 73kB). The person in the photo is not Sodowsky, rather it is of Jay Gentry. I do not know if Jay Gentry is J.M. "Bud" Gentry, who landed twice at Tucson and signed the Register in 1932 and 1935. He flew Stinson NC12155 both times. If you can identify the photograph as a likeness of J.M. "Bud" Gentry please let me know.

Sodowsky's nephew, R.L. Regan, has mounted a video on YouTube that includes a 7-minute color movie that shows Sodowsky during his flight training responsibilities (please direct your browser to the link). The video also incorporates some of the images on this page, as well as it features two additional Register pilots, Charles Burrell Tibbs and Ed Schultz. Below, from the film, a still of Ed Schultz.

Ed Schultz, Ca. Early 1940s (Source: Regan)
Ed Schultz, Ca. Early 1940s (Source: Regan)

 

 

 

Below, his DOC pilot license for 1953. He held license number 625, a very low number.

Jay Sodowsky's Department of Commerce Pilot License, 1953 (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky's Department of  Commerce Pilot License (Source: Sodowsky)

 

 

Below, a photograph of Sodowsky, Burrell Tibbs and Ed Schultz (not from the film). The context, date and location of this photograph are unknown, but it is probably from the late 1930s-early 1940s.

 

Jay Sodowsky, C. Burrell Tibbs & Ed Schultz, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Regan)
Jay Sodowsky, C. Burrell Tibbs & Ed Schultz, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Regan)

 

 

 

Below, a photograph of Sodowsky when he flew for Standard Oil. In this photograph from 1950, the people are identified as (L to R) "Bevel", Mr. Sodowsky, Bill Thomas and Larry Short. Sodowsky retired from Standard Oil after serving as their chief pilot.

 

 

 

Jay Sodowsky (Second from Left) With Standard Oil Lockheed, 1950 (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky (Second from Left) With Standard Oil Lockheed, 1950 (Source: Sodowsky)

 

Jay Sodowsky, Obituary, April 29, 1981 (Source: Sodowsky)
Jay Sodowsky, Obituary, April 29, 1981 (Source: Sodowsky)

 

J.B. Sodowsky, Ca. 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)
J.B. Sodowsky, Ca. 1927 (Source: Sodowsky)

 

 

Above, from the Wichita Eagle-Beacon, April 29, 1981, is a local obituary for Jay Sodowsky. It summarizes very genuinely a life in flying. His son says, "His favorite job of all time was of course, flying. He was without a doubt the worlds greatest dad, always an inspiration to me."

"Jack," Popular Aviation, October, 1932 (Source: PA)

 

 

 

 

From the October, 1932 issue of Popular Aviation (PA), the article at right describes "Jack" the cat, seen in the obituary above.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/06/11 REVISED: 12/15/11, 06/25/14

 
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Information and photographs on this page are shared with us by pilot Sodowsky's son, Randy. Thanks to him for allowing us to understand his father's life better.

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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 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.

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