Lee Brusse visited Tucson three times. The first time was Sunday, August 11, 1929. He was solo in Travel Air NC9963. Based at Glendale, CA, he was westbound from Douglas, AZ to Los Angeles, CA. His second visit was later the same year, on Friday, October 18, 1929. He carried a single passenger, identified as "Porter" in Kreutzer NC243M.
His flight in the Kreutzer may have been related to the fact that this airplane carried three Kinner engines (see below). His final landing came on Tuesday, February 25, 1930. He carried "Miss Porter" as his single passenger in Fleet NC618M.
The following two images are shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. The first is an early photograph from May, 1924 with Brusse at the far left. Does anyone RECOGNIZE the other people? The airplane is the one-of-a-kind Kinner Argonaut. It is basically an Airster with a 200-hp Renault V-8 engine. The Argonaut made headlines in 1924 when it transported couples through their wedding vows, becoming known as the “Honeymoon Special.”
Lee Brusse (L) With Three Unidentified Men, 1924 (Source: Underwood)
Bert Kinner was a manufacturer of aircraft and engines at Glendale, CA from the early 1920s to 1939. Lee Brusse was Cora (Brusse) Kinner's brother. As well as his brother-in-law, Brusse was Kinner's chief pilot and test pilot.
During the early 1930s, he competed in the National Air Races. According to the Aircraft Yearbook, in 1931 Brusse placed second in the men's transcontinental handicap race from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH. He flew a Waco aircraft with a Kinner engine. Curiously, the St. Petersburg (FL) Evening Independent of September 1, 1931 has him placing third.
Below, in 1932, Brusse stands ready to test fly a Kinner K Sportster, S/N 38. Note the shadows of bystanders.
Lee Brusse, Kinner Aircraft, April 15, 1932 (Source: Underwood)
From these photographs you can see that Brusse was a tall man. He was 6' 5" , and one of the tallest pilots on the west coast. This is reported in the Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle of December 12, 1940, which also identifies Brusse as a Captain with United Air Lines.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/23/10 REVISED: