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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 passenger Woodside in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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GARRETT DAVENPORT "PECK" WOODSIDE

Peck Woodside landed once, probably twice, as a passenger at Tucson. The first time was on Friday, February 2, 1934 in the Ryan NC313K. His pilot was George R. Farnham, and they were accompanied by two other passengers, a Mrs. O'Hara and Eddie Woods (Edwin B. Woods). Based at Glendale, CA, they were eastbound from Yuma, AZ to Springfield, MO.

Garrett D. "Peck" Woodside, Date Unknown (Source: Davies)
Garrett D. "Peck" Woodside, Date Unknown (Source: Davies)

His probable second visit was on Saturday, August 11, 1934 in the Bach NR7092. His pilot again was Farnham, but Woodside was signed in the Register as "Buddy Woodside." Chances are high that "Buddy" and "Peck" were the same person.

Portrait, left, from the book by Davies, "Airlines of Latin America Since 1919." Davies writes that Woodside was, "... a colourful entrepreneur and aviation believer who began air freighting work ... from a base at Villahermosa, the state capital of Tabasco [the year was 1934, the same year he visited Tucson]. He inherited a small newtwork of lines started by J. Hans Mattes as early as 1930 ... thus laying claim to being the third oldest airline in Mexico...." And, "... with a fleet of Ryan Broughams, flourished to the extent that further route concessions were obtained in 1936...."

According to Davies, ca. 1943 Woodside became seriously ill and was hospitalized in the U.S. By what appears to be subterfuge, his airline was simply taken over by another operator. Davies states, "Returning to Mexico to find his airline 'hijacked,' he left it to found a shrimp business in Ciudad del Carmen. Peck Woodside, one of Mexico's true airline pioneers, died in 1973, by which time he had been raising turkeys in Tabasco."

 

Garrett D. "Peck" Woodside, Date Unknown (Source: Borjas)
Garrett D. "Peck" Woodside, Date Unknown (Source: Borjas)

At right, courtesy of Borja's son (cited, right sidebar), is an informal profile of Woodside photographed in Mexico. Site visitor Steve Nagle provides the following information about Woodside, "Garrett Davenport 'Peck' Woodside (1896-1973) was an American pilot and businessman.  He had his first airplane ride with Glenn Curtiss at the old fairgrounds in Memphis. At the onset of World War One, he volunteered for service and became a combat engineer with the Second Division, being involved in no less than five major engagements. He was decorated for his bravery in action. After the war, he began to deal in gas and oil leases and from only fifty dollars in his pocket, made $250,000.00. In 1932, he purchased two small cargo planes and brought them to Tabasco, Mexico where he started Compania Aeronautica del Sur.  The airline boasted twelve airplanes; Stinsons, Ryans and Travel Airs.  Everything was great for Peck Woodside and his company until the shadow of the swastika began to loom over the countries south of the border. The Germans pressured Peck and offered to finance his operation for their purposes of producing and transporting rubber, but he refused. The Germans threatened him with acts of sabotage and the birth of a competing airline. Peck ultimately sold [but, see above] his airline, but never gave into the Germans.  Peck was the subject of a radio program entitled The Private War of Peck Woodside: Nazi Intrigue in the Jungles of Mexico."

Peck hired as captain for his airline Carlos Borja Obeso. Below, is a photograph of photo contributor Borja's father and Woodside (R) in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico.

Captain Carlos Borja & Peck Woodside (R), Date Unknown (Source: Borja)
Captain Carlos Borja & Peck Woodside (R), Date Unknown (Source: Borja)

Raise your hand if you're thinking "Indiana Jones" right now. Mr. Borjas says about his father, "My father came to Mexico from Los Angeles, California were he was born, to work as a pilot. He met my mother and got married in Tabasco while he was doing cargo flights for Peck.  Peck was the [best man] for their wedding."

Woodside's operation at Compania Aeronautica del Sur (CAS) was modest. Below, a photograph of his terminal. This photo appears to have been taken from the right side of an airplane as it was landing or departing. You can see the shadow of a wingtip in the foreground. A man waves at left and the photo is slightly blurred by the relative motion of the aircraft.

CAS Terminal, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, Date Unknown (Source: Borja)
CAS Terminal, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, Date Unknown (Source: Borja)

Below, Captain Borja sits atop the wing of XA-BKL, a Mexican-registered aircraft for which I can find no registry information. Perhaps the Mexican registration was painted on before the plane had been officially allotted that registration, or it could have been stricken off the Mexican registration before the registration became official. Does anyone KNOW?

Site visitor Roger Holden identifies the airplane as the, "... quite rare Travel Air 10-D [only 11 were made], baby brother of the 6000 and one of the last T.A. designs prior to their take over by Curtiss-Wright." Information about the Travel Air 10-D is in this REFERENCE, volume 3, pp. 221ff., which describes the 10-D as, "... a high winged cabin monoplane of buxom and hardy porportion with ample seating and comfort for four...." Woodside probably rigged it for either passengers or cargo.

Captain Carlos Borja, Date Unknown (Source: Borja)
J.H. Garvin, USNA, 1924 (Source: Woodling)

Bob Woodling found what may be another obscure reference to XA-BKL. It is found in a book entitled Quest for the Lost City by Dana and Ginger Lamb, published in 1951. It appears to be fiction, but seems to have some historic content woven in. The text cites Peck Woodside, and the conversation had with him by two adventurers (the Lambs) south of the border who are looking for an airplane to rent.

They speak with him and his mechanic and discover they do have a rental craft that has an, "old Curtis[sic]-Robin fuselage" and Stinson wings that were in the process of being attached by the mechanic, Paquito. When all was assembled and the engine was run, it had a sound that led the Lamb's to name the airplane "Wheezlebritches."

This might be enough to end any interest in the airplane, but the Lambs also provide a photograph of the craft they described, below. The fuselage is clearly that of a 10-D, not a Curtiss Robin. Given the rarity of 10-Ds and the juxtaposition of Woodside and "Wheezlebritches" in the Lamb's story, chances are good their photograph is of XA-BKL in some stage of disrepair. The people are unidentified, but Woodside may be standing at right in profile.

Travel Air 10-D, Probably XA-BKL, Mexico, Date Unknown (Source: Lamb via Woodling)
Travel Air 10-D, Probably XA-BKL, Mexico, Date Unknown (Source: Lamb via Woodling)

Mr. Woodling states, "The Lambs crash-landed Wheezlebritches in a farmer's field, repaired it, and flew it out of the field to a nearby town. One of Woodside's pilots then attempted to fly her back to Tuxtla, but he crashed the airplane. Knowing a bit about airplane crashes in Central America, I am pretty sure the wreckage was quickly removed by locals and converted into [utilitarian uses]."

Today, as far as is known, there is only one 10-D flying. It is NC418N (not a Register airplane), and not XA-BKL. You can view 418N at the link.

Woodside was married at least three times and had several children by at least two of his wives. Other than his hospitalization in 1943, to my knowledge he spent the rest of his life in Mexico. He was an expatriot entrepreneur who gave as much as he gained from that beautiful country.

Incidentally, fellow Register pilots Theodore Hull and C.N. Shelton were other airline entrepreneurs in Central America. Please direct your browser to their pages to see how they contributed to air travel in Mexico and farther south.

I have no further information or photos of Woodside or his CAS aircraft. If you do, and would like to share, please use the link at the top of the right sidebar.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/16/11 REVISED: 04/15/12

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of passenger Woodside and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

Thanks to Jose Luis Borja for sharing with us most of the photographs on this page, and to Bob Woodling for supplementary information and color commentary.

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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.

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