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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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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A source for this page is the book titled, "Airports and Established Landing Fields in the United States, 1933", published by The Airport Directory Company, Hackensack, NJ. Refer to page 126 of that book.

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RICHARDS FIELD, KANSAS CITY, MO

FAIRFAX FIELD, KANSAS CITY, KS

Richards Field was the first airport serving Kansas City, which it did until 1927. In that year, a new airport was built and dedicated as New Richards Field by Charles Lindbergh, undoubtedly during his U.S. tour in September that year. Please direct your browser to Lindbergh's link to learn about his visit to Tucson and his dedication of that airfield. At his link you can view a vintage moving picture film of his visit.

Below, courtesy of friend of dmairfield Tim Kalina, is a military photo, taken by the 5th photo Section, of Richards Field. The same hangars are visible in this image as in the photograph next below. Mr. Kalina states, "The main silver hangar though does not have Richards Field lettered on it's top so this most likely is an earlier photo....
All the planes appear to be military, they look like a mix of JN-4s and DH-4s. There is one plane though that must be civilian and that one is in the center of the photo, on the right. I can't determine just what make this aircraft is but it has swept back wings and a rudder which looks much like a Swallow aircraft." If anyone can identify that airplane, please let me KNOW. Although the date is unknown, it is probably sometime in 1922.

Richards Field, Date Unknown (Source: Kalina)

Below, a warm, sunny day at Richards Field, Kansas City, MO with calm wind. "Richards Field" is clearly painted in white on the tops of the two hangar buildings. This image, shared with us by Tim Kalina, is dated 1922, the year the airfield was established. Some period automobiles huddle at right center, and what appears to be four early military aircraft can be seen in rank at right center with their white vertical stabilizer stripes clearly visible. These aircraft, which look like Curtiss biplanes, are deployed in front of a row of tents (note the tents, too, at top center in the photo above). Another vertical stripe is visible on the empennage of the aircraft just inside the door of the hangar with "Field" painted on the roof. Does anyone KNOW anything about these military aircraft, or their organization, or the reason they were posted at Richards?

Richards Field, Kansas City, MO, ca. 1922
Richards Field, Kansas City, MO, ca. 1922

The old, original Richards Field closed in 1949, and was redeveloped as the Gregory Heights subdivision. Below, according to information from Wikipedia, is the present day approximate location of Richards Field (viewed from about 4,000'). A plaque commemorating the location of the field is on the corner of 9063 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City (see the address on the image). The lat/long coordinates given by Wiki, however, center at the far left center of this Google Earth image, about a block away. Note "Richards Dr." at the lower left. No trace of the airfield remains today.

Location of Richards Field in October, 2008 (Source: Google Earth)
Location of Richards Field in October, 2008

The New Richards Field was quickly named Kansas City Municipal Airport. Below, an image of that airport from 1933 (source citation left sidebar).

Kansas City Minicipal Airport, Circa 1933
Kansas City Minicipal Airport, Circa 1933

The Kansas City Municipal Airport was marked with "Kansas City" embedded in the field (not visible on this image). It was sometimes called the peninsula airfield, because it was located on land at a sharp bend in the Missouri River. It had four runways, as pictured, which were built up of cinders and treated with oil. It had a rotating beacon, boundary, flood and obstruction lights.

There was a telephone available at the field, as was a Department of Commerce two radio station, KRC, which operated at 344kcs. Weather reports were available at the field, as was a restaurant. Other restaurants and hotels were in town, with a taxi ride of 40 cents, or a bus ride every ten minutes. The airport offered fuel, oil, airplane storage and repair facilities, with licensed mechanics available day and night.

Kansas City rapidly became a major midwest crossroads. As of 1933 air cargo and passenger operators on the field included American Airways, Braniff Air Lines, Rapid Air Transport, Transcontinental & Western Air, United Air Lines and United States Airways. There was at least one aircraft manufacturer (Longren), U.S. Army Reserve training arm, Waco sales, service and training, and one taxi company (Walter Taber).

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Another airfield in the Kansas City area, Fairfax Field, was cited by one Register pilot, Don Mathers. Below, an aerial photo of Fairfax Field from 1933 (source citation left sidebar).

Fairfax Field, Kansas City, KS, Ca. 1933 (Source: Webmaster)
Fairfax Field, Kansas City, KS, Ca. 1933 (Source: Webmaster)

Additional information about Fairfax Airport is at Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields. At the link you will discover that the Fairfax Airport had a long and illustrious history, finally closing for good on April 1, 1985.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/15/08 REVISED: 01/31/11, 09/11/15

 
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I'm looking for additional photographs and information about Richards Field to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

WHO WENT TO KANSAS CITY?

Fourteen pilots identified "Kansas City, MO" in the Register as their home base. A single pilot identified "Richards Field" as home base. Three additional pilots identified "Kansas City, MO" as their point of origin. An additional seven pilots identified "Kansas City, MO" as their destination.

All the Register pilots who cited Kansas City landed at Tucson after 1927. Therefore it is impossible to say if they were talking in the Register about the original field location pictured at left, or the new one dedicated by Lindbergh (see below).

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