Registration Number NC9114
This aircraft is a Fairchild 71, S/N 628 (ATC #89), manufactured
in April 1929 by Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corp., Farmingdale,
NY. It left the factory with a 410 HP Pratt & Whitney
Wasp engine, S/N 1042 as a seven-place airplane. It weighed
It sold on May 7, 1929 for $17,010 (less 10% fleet owner’s
discount) to Pickwick Airways, Inc., Los Angeles, CA (Tom
Morgan, husband of Mildred Morgan, was VP and General Manager
of Pickwick). The airplane was, “to be used for air
transport and charter flights.”
The airplane was flown NY-LA for a delivery charge of $700.
It is during this flight, on May 6, 1929, we find this new airplane
at Tucson. It was piloted by Grant Demtas, carrying two unidentified
passengers. The NASM record states the airplane had accumulated
35:40 flight hours as of May 9, 1929.
Pickwick sold the airplane on August 26, 1931 to C.W. Gilpin of Glendale,
CA. Gilpin was a frequent visitor to Tucson (11 landings between
1926 and 1929). He was inspected frequently by the Border
Patrol. Gilpin and NC9114 were frequently signed in the Grand Central Air Terminal Register (GCAT) at Glendale. Please direct your browser to the GCAT link for further information.
The airplane was well-used. It went through seven owners
between 1931 and 1937, and accumulated over 3,000 flight hours.
It moved around between owners in California, finally living
in Alaska for the last four years of its life, suffering five
accidents there. Below, we see the airplane after one of its Alaska accidents. It appears to still carry the remnants of the Pickwick Airways, or Gilpin Airlines logo on the rear fuselage.
Fairchild NC9114, October, 1935
Photograph donor T.C. Howard says about the image, "My mother, Hazel Howard, had written on the back of the photo 'This is John Littley's plane that was forced down recently when taking off from the island. The landing equipment was all that was damaged on the plane.'"
Further, he states, "The island she was talking about was the landing strip which was an island at low tide. The photo was taken by Rev. Ferdinand Drebert, a Moravian minister in Bethel. My dad, Clif Howard was the Alaska Communications System radio operator in Bethel. John Littley died 8 Jan 2004 in Vancouver, Washington at the age of 100."
Finally, on July 29, 1937, NC9114 was involved in an
accident at Egigok, AK. Pilot John H. Littley and three passengers
were injured. Littley was cited in violation, he “demonstrated
carelessness and incompetency” and his license was suspended
for six months. The airplane was not re-approved for flight and
the registration was cancelled August 28, 1938.
Added 02/08/10 Shared by site visitor M.H., another clear image (# A8255) of the airplane, in what looks to be the same livery as above, is at this link for the Pomona (CA) Public Library. It shows NC9114 at the "airport" at the Death Valley National Monument. The date is identified as 1934. The people in the photograph are unidentified.
The date, however, may be a little earlier, between August, 1931 when Gilpin operated it, and 1933 when it transferred to Alaska. Corroborating that, the uniformed gentleman standing next to the fuselage behind the starboard wing struts looks a lot like C.W. Gilpin (please direct your browser to his biography link above, and to the The Charles W. "Bill" Gilpin Image and Document Collection to find other photos of Gilpin for comparison). The uniformed gentleman on the right could be Gilpin pilot George Farnham. Upon magnification, the image blurs, so it is difficult positively to identify either of them.
There are several children looking on, at least one of whom has bare feet. One holds a small dog. From the length of the shadows, this photo was taken either early or late in the day. Luggage is either being loaded or unloaded. Note the characteristic oil streaks on the cowl just behind the engine.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 08/16/05 REVISED: 03/10/08, 02/08/10, 01/04/15