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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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OTHER BOOKS FOR YOU

"Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936" is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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I'm looking for information and images of the military facilities. Please use this FORM to share what you know.

 
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SAN DIEGO, CA

San Diego meant at least six landing places for Golden Age pilots who signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. Besides Lindbergh Field and the Ryan Flying Field frequented by civilian pilots, there was Rockwell Field (Army), the San Diego Naval Air Station, and the aircraft carriers U.S.S. Lexington and the U.S.S. Saratoga populated by Navy aviators.

Early on, "Dutch Flats" was in operation when it wasn't flooded. Below, from the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM), is a view of the operations area on a good day. Note "Ryan Flying Service." This photograph can be dated to post-1925 because the largest biplane in the photo is the Douglas "Cloudster" that was purchased by T. Claude Ryan for use on his commercial airline route between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Dutch Flats, Ultimately Ryan Flying Field, After 1925 (Source: SDAM)
Dutch Flats, Ultimately Ryan Flying Field, After 1925 (Source: SDAM)

Another view of the field, from a slightly different direction, is at the Russell Collection. It shows what the field was like when it was flooded.

Literally hundreds of flights to the Davis-Monthan Airfield either originated from or terminated at one of these landing sites in San Diego (right sidebar). Below, from this REFERENCE, page 67, a description of the land-based airfields ca. 1931. N.B. there was also a flying boat facility, but the kind of traffic it saw is mostly irrelevant to the Tucson Register.

San Diego-Area Airfields, Ca. 1931 (Source: Webmaster)
San Diego-Area Airfields, Ca. 1931 (Source: Webmaster)

LINDBERGH FIELD

Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA, Ca. 1933 (Source: Webmaster)
Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA, Ca. 1933 (Source: Webmaster)

 

Image, left, from this REFERENCE, page 27, shows San Diego, Lindbergh Field, in 1933. Originally the site of the Ryan Field manufacturing facility, it was named Lindbergh Field after Lindbergh's trans-Atlantic flight.

Lindbergh Field in 1933 was located at the foot of Broadway, one mile northwest of the city center. It was a triangular surface of decomposed granite. There were no landing or flood light fees.

Day markings consisted of "LINDBERGH FIELD" painted on the hangar and "BEACON INN" on the restaurant. Night lighting was meager, being boundary and flood lights and two 18" searchlights mounted on the Trust & Savings Building a mile southeast of the field.

Telephone (dial M-0106) and weather reports were available on the field. A restaurant was on the field and modern hotels were five minutes away. Taxi fare to the city was 25 cents, and buses ran on a fifteen minute schedule.

Fuel, oil and hangars were available, with licensed mechanics day or night. Operators at the field who provided passenger service were Pacific Air Transport Boeing Lines, Western Air Express, Gilpin Air Lines and Varney Air Lines. Airtech and Ryan School of Aeronautics, Ltd. provided aerial services, flight training and aircraft sales.

Below, a Google Earth image located by the lat/long values for Lindbergh Field cited in the description below. The specified location is in the upper right quadrant, just east of the contemporary San Diego International Airport. Although there has been a lot of landfilling in the area, I'm not sure if this spot is an accurate geographic representation of the original field.

Lindbergh Field and Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, Ca. 2010 (Source: Google Earth)
Lindbergh Field and Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, Ca. 2010 (Source: Google Earth)

Please direct your browser to the link at this Cosgrove Collection to view a couple of excellent aerial images of Lindbergh and Ryan Fields. The contemporary North Island N.A.S. occupies the bottom half of the image.

ROCKWELL FIELD/NAVAL AIR STATION, NORTH ISLAND

Rockwell Closing, Popular Aviation, February, 1932 (Source: PA)
Rockwell Closing, Popular Aviation, February, 1932 (Source: PA)

 

 

 

 

The Navy's North Island Naval Air Station (N.A.S.) and Rockwell Field (Army) shared the same real estate near Coronado, CA. In a nutshell, Rockwell Field and the N.A.S. operated in proximity on North Island from about 1912-1935. In the mid-30s the Army moved its base of training operations to March Field, Riverside, CA. An aerial view of North Island, ca. 1929, is at Navy pilot William McMullen's page.

The article, at left, is from the February, 1932 issue of Popular Aviation (PA). It announces the closing of Rockwell Field, even though the final removal from operation was in 1935.

 

 

 

Below, from this REFERENCE, page 25, is a description of Lindbergh Field and the N.A.S. ca. 1937. Rockwell Field is not mentioned, since its operations had already moved to March.

 

 

 

 

 

Lindbergh Field and Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, Ca. 1937 (Source: Webmaster)
Lindbergh Field and Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, Ca. 1937 (Source: Webmaster)

Below, a Google Earth image located by the lat/long values forthe N.A.S. cited in the description above. The specified location is dead in the center of the island.

Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, 2010 (Source: Google Earth)
Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA, 2010 (Source: Google Earth)

 

Below, a photograph taken by your Webmaster on May 25, 2009. This historic marker outside the entrance to N.A.S. North Island describes the long history of military aviation, both Army and Navy, that this site represents. Review in the right sidebar the number of military pilots who called San Diego their home or destination.

Rockwell Field & U.S. Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA (Source: Webmaster)
Rockwell Field & U.S. Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA

Another view, albeit a cartoon, of San Diego-area airfields is available at the Cooper Collection on dmairfield.org here.

Extra views and information regarding North Island are at this link at the Cosgrove Collection.

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UPLOADED: June, 2005 REVISED: 06/10/09, 12/23/10, 06/27/11, 03/13/12, 06/24/14

 
Home
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Who Went to San Diego?
Four-hundred and thirteen flights that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield called San Diego their Homebase, including 294 military pilots.

Six-hundred thirty-seven flights arrived at Davis-Monthan Airfield from San Diego, and 390 listed it as their final Destination.

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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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