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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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

RELATED REFERENCES

Ruth Nichols wrote an autobiographical book in 1957 titled, "Wings for Life"(J.B. Lippincott, NY). Charles Taylor is cited a couple of times beginning on page 66.

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CHARLES M. TAYLOR

Charles M. Taylor

The visit of Charles M. Taylor on May 6, 1929 has a wonderful context. According to the Nichols reference at left, he was participating in the Aviation Country Clubs Tour that spring. Look at this page for his signature, and two other members of the Tour, Ruth Nichols and Robb Oertel.

He was flying a Command-Aire, number 609 (no indication of NC, NX, or NR). He arrived at 3:05 PM and departed for Yuma at 8:30 the next morning. Follow the Ruth Nichols link for a tour map.

This vignette is unusual, in that I have two sources of information with actual quotes by pilot Taylor. The first is from the Nichols book referenced at left. The second is from a 1987 letter (see below) shared with me by an acquaintance of Taylor's, which corroborates the sense of his good-nature as expressed by Nichols.

A third reference, from the Fayetteville Branch of the Arkansas Air Museum, outlines some of Taylor's civic and other aviation activities. Image, above, is from the Arkansas Air Museum.

Apropos his landing at Tucson, he had joined the Aviation Country Clubs Tour late on the westbound leg, as recorded in Nichols' book:

"At Dallas we were joined by another member of Aviation Country Clubs, Charles Taylor of Little Rock, flying a new Command-Aire. He had just started flying and wanted some cross-country experience. So we welcomed him to our caravan, and this keen-witted, good-natured southerner proved a happy addition, keeping us in gales of laughter along the entire route to Los Angeles."

After the Tour visited Midland and Pecos, they landed at El Paso after a long and exhausting day. Nichols went on to say:

"Nothing seemed to dampen the high spirits of Charlie Taylor, and his uproarious accounts of his feelings as he tried to push his plane over the Guadalupe Range that afternoon soon had us all relaxed and laughing.

"'I've handled some rough broncos in my day,' said Charlie, 'but this confounded plane can out-buck any of 'em. I was about ready to trade her in for a harp and a pair of angel wings when blamed if she didn't take the jump, nice as you please!'"

This is a passage from a history kept on Mr. Taylor at the Arkansas Air Museum:

"Charles M. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas was one of the original members of the 154th Observation Squadron of the Arkansas National Guard. He had just graduated from Princeton where he was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.

"He served many years as Executive Vice-President of the Little Rock Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association. This association...sponsored the Annual Arkansas Air Tours starting in 1928. These tours did much to stimulate interest in aviation, and the construction of airports in the state. In 1929...stunt flying was added to the tours. Lts. Taylor, Ellis M. Fagan and John D. Howe, billed as 'The Blue Devils" thrilled the crowds flying...Command-Aire aircraft.... This served a double purpose as Taylor was involved with the Arkansas Aircraft Company that built the Command-Aire in Little Rock, and these demonstrations helped in the sale of aircraft.

"In 1932 Taylor was the winner of the Amateur Pilots Race from New York to Cleveland during the National Air Races....

"On December 5th [1933], Charles M. Taylor was appointed Airport Supervisor for Arkansas. This began the first concentrated effort by Federal, State and local governments to develop airports in the State of Arkansas. Taylor's report showed that 13 new airports were built, 9 existing airports were improved, bringing to Arkansas a total of 35 airports in 1934.

"Taylor went on to serve with distinction as a Colonel in the Air Corps during World War II, where he served in the office of the assistant chief of Air Staff Plans in England. He contributed materially to the plans for the conduct of the air war, particularly against Germany."

He went on to be a successful real estate developer in Little Rock. And he continued to fly. Below, from site visitor Joe Kranz, are two undated articles that describe his victory in the Second Annual Air Pilot's Cruise from New York to Cleveland.

Charles Taylor, Air Pilot's Cruise, Date & News Source Unknown (Source: Kranz)
Charles Taylor, Air Pilot's Cruise, Date & News Source Unknown (Source: Kranz)

Likewise, he signed the U.S. postal cachet, below, on September 2, 1932 at the National Air Races in Cleveland.

U.S. Postal Cachet, National Air Races, Cleveland, OH, September 2, 1932 (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, National Air Races, Cleveland, OH, September 2, 1932 (Source: Kranz)

In the letter introduced above, Taylor extended sympathy to the widow of McKinley A. "Mack" West. In 1928 Mr. West established the aviation enterprise, including the West-Nash Airlines airport in Paragould, AR. He was an early friend of Mr. Taylor. The text of the letter follows:

"March 11, 1987

Dear Mrs. West:

I have just read in the paper about your husband's death.

I used to know Mack back in the 1920's and 1930's when I was flying airplanes and landing at his Airport in Paragould. I was also in the old 154th Observation Squadron, Arkansas National Guard and was called to active duty in 1940 for World War II and quit flying when I came home after the War in 1946 so since then I have missed Mack and my occasional landings at Paragould.

Mack was a fine man with sound judgment, a good operator and credit and benefactor to the aviation industry in its early days. When we were operating the old Command-Aire Airplane factory here in Little Rock, we always routed pilots taking delivery of new airplanes who were flying North so that they would land a Paragould, knowing that Mack could and would solve any problems that might develop on an initial cross-country flight.

I realize that there is nothing I can say that will lessen your loss, but you can take solace in the fact that your loss is shared by the host of people who admired and respected Mack for his leadership, integrity and compassion.

Please accept my personal sympathy.

Sincerely,

Charles M. Taylor"

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UPLOADED: 05/05 REVISED: 04/09/06, 06/28/11

 
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I'm looking for photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me. Although the aircraft pictured is a Command-Aire, there's no number visible to suggest it is 609.
 
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