John Wesley "Johnnie" Martin, Jr. was born August 17, 1908 at Riverside, CA. He held FAI Pilot's Certificate No. 6156, issued September 11, 1924 and signed by Orville Wright. He was a pilot of the line for Standard Air Lines, and as such was a colleague of Hap Russell, Harold Kelsey, Lee Willey, William Kingsley, Jack Frye and Paul Richter. These pilots, with their Standard airliners, contributed hundreds of landings to the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register record.
To view a superb portrait of pilot Martin, as well as a couple of informal images, please follow this link to the Harold B. "Hap" Russell Photograph and Document Collection.
The Martin Family of Aviators, 1933
John Martin came from a family of aviators. At right is an Associated Press photograph dated Jan. 2, 1933. The caption states "The Martin family of California, all members of this air-minded foursome are licensed transport pilots and their total flying time is about 15,000 flying hours. Left to right: Johnny, 24; Floyd, 28; Peggy, 29 and Eddie, 31." John and Register pilot Eddie (landed three times) wear American Airways caps.
After Standard Air Lines, through a series of mergers, was bought by TWA, John Martin went to work for American Airways, which, in 1934, became American Airlines. Please spend some time with the Hap Russell pages to see how closely these two friends' careers paralleled each other.
Martin landed at Tucson at least three times flying the big Fokker F-10 trimotors, NC580K (Wednesday, August 7, 1929 at 12:30 PM), NC581K (Wednesday, February 4, 1931 at 10:51 AM) and NC801E (sometime between December 5 and 25, 1932). He carried passengers each time, and "Reg. Sch." was noted in the cross country column of the Register on 2/4/31, and "Airline" was noted on 8/7/29.
John Martin & Clarence Prest, Date Unknown
At left, American Airways pilot John Martin and aircraft designer Clarence Prest clowning around. The airplane appears to be one of the Fokker trimotors. It is not clear if Martin is trying to frisk Prest, or force him through the door. Is Martin wearing spats?
While he was with American Airways in 1930, Martin flew the first Los Angeles, CA to Atlanta, GA cross-country flight in a Fokker F-10. His route was LA, Phoenix, Tucson, Douglas, AZ, El Paso, to Ft. Worth, TX. There, another Fokker coming from the east via Atlanta, Jackson, MS, Shreveport, LA and Ft. Worth would meet and exchange passengers, mail and freight for the return trip.
This inaugural flight is well-documented in the Fresno Bee (left sidebar) of October 14, 1930. Yet there is no entry in the Register that documents this flight. The closest next flight is the visit by Martin on February 4, 1931 or by pilot Andrews on November 27, 1931. If this was a scheduled flight through Tucson, the landings were not faithfully recorded in the Register. This could be because the Register was kept in the Army hangar, which was a long hundred yards from the American terminal at Tucson.
Martin became American Airlines' senior pilot. In 1946 he left American with over 20,000 flight hours. He went into real estate and growing oranges. He died June 25, 1977 at age 78 at Orange, CA.
UPLOADED: 03/22/08 REVISED: