From 1930 Spartan Pamphlet, Cooper Collection

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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, while supplies last.

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of and the 10th year of effort on the 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


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, while supplies last.


Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.



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Charles Cooper and I first met at his airport in west Texas. While I was paying my fuel bill, we chatted about this and that, and played with the resident mongrel named "Airport Dog" (since, sad to say, struck by a big-rig and killed on the highway east of the airport). This Web site came up in our conversation and Charles allowed, "I have something you might be interested in." He disappeared into a hangar for a few minutes and emerged with a few faded boxes covered with west Texas dust. "Interested in" was an understatement. There were many, many things in the boxes that illustrated better the people and airplanes of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. Because of the wealth of interesting and relevant items, I interrupted my cross-country trip and spent all night at a motel in Kermit, TX scanning them. The results are exhibited in the links and images below.

Your Webmaster (L) and Charles Cooper, West Texas, October 7, 2005


Pilot Quarters, Tulsa, OK Airport, 1930
Pilot Quarters, Tulsa, OK Airport, 1930

Many of the images in this Collection are placed around this Web site in the contexts of their subject matter (pilots, airplanes, places, etc.). Rather than duplicate a lot of the images and documents on this page, I offer links to where they are located. Follow the links below to enjoy their relationships to the old Airfield Register.

Tulsa Municipal Airport and Spartan School, 1930 At right is the pilot quarters at the Tulsa Municipal Airport. It also was where the airport manager, Charlie Short, lived. A good deal of building and improvement was happening at the airport during the early 1930s. Please follow the link to see two other images from the Cooper Collection that show details of buildings and runways. The development at the airport is illustrated clearly in those images.

Follow this link to see an image of M.G. "Dan" Beard. His biography is also at the link.

Likewise for Eddie Brooks, Claude Ryan and John Fornasero (below).

John Fornasero (L) and T. Claude Ryan, ca. 1930
John Fornasero (L) and T. Claude Ryan

Below, an interesting artifact from the Wink, TX airport area. It is a glazed, porcelain-on-steel sign used to mark the location of a radio range facility used for cross-country aerial navigation.

Radio Range Sign, Porcelain on Steel, Installation Date Unknown
Radio Range Sign, Porcelain on Steel, Installation Date Unknown

The organizational name, "Civil Aeronautics Administration" (CAA) dates the sign somewhere between 1940, when President Roosevelt split the Civil Aeronautics Authority into the CAA and Civil Aeronautics Board, and 1958, when the Federal Aviation Adminstration was formed by the passage of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. Mr. Cooper says, "...the sign was found in one of the T-hangers back in 1996; don't know how long it had been there.  The original FSS [Flight Service Station] was located on the other side of the [Wink] airport ... tore down in 1962.  I think the transmitter was located at the range marker next to the FSS.  The sign should have been there too."

Below, copied from your Webmaster's personal collection, is part of the El Paso Sectional Aeronautical Chart for 1942. This chart, printed early during WWII, is labeled "RESTRICTED" for obvious reasons. The chart shows a segment of "Green Airway No. 5" as it passes through Wink, TX westbound to Salt Flat and El Paso, and eastbound to Big Spring, TX.

El Paso, TX Sectional Chart, December 17, 1942
El Paso, TX Sectional Chart, December 17, 1942

"Wink Radio" cited in the small box right of center, is probably the navigational device referred to in the porcelainized sign above. The blue triangles depict the A/N radio ranges emanating from Wink.

Note, to the east and west of Wink, the stars numbered 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The stars mark the positions of light beacons marking the airmail route. Number 18, just north of the radio beacon, flashes dash dot dot dot (the letter "B"). Number 22, further east and off this chart, flashes dot dot dash (the letter "U"). So if it was a clear night, you could backup your radio navigation with light signals visible on the ground. Not so for foul weather when our pilots depended only on the radio "beam", and had no assumption of being able to see the ground.

Below, Register pilot Dudley Steele. Please follow the link for his biography. This image is from his 1931 article in Western Flying, viewable as a PDF download, below. Compare his jacket, with Richfield Oil Company logo, to the one he is wearing standing in front of NC667K.

Dudley Steele, ca. 1931
Dudley Steele

Another document is this cartoon/map of the San Diego environs showing local airfields. The source is unidentified, but the date is 1937, just outside the period of the Register. This image is also available at Claude Ryan's link, above, but I include it here contrast-enhanced with PhotoShop so a few more details are visible.

Cartoon Chart of San Diego, CA, 1937
Cartoon Chart of San Diego, CA, 1937

Further to this chart, a large number of military aircraft and pilots that appear in the Register lived at North Island; civil aircraft at the field identified as "Ryan School of Aeronautics Lindbergh Field" at left center. Just to the left of Lindbergh Field is an antenna array labeled "Radio Beam Station". It probably had a blue porcelain sign posted nearby, similar to the one above.

Regarding the two "Gov't. Radio Station" locations at top center and bottom right, please explore this link for nice summaries of the timelines and functions of the stations. A San Diego site visitor points this out to us. He states, "The one at the top of the map would be Chollas Heights and the other one is Fort Rosecrans." Further, shared with us by Mike Gerow, this link contains many period photographs of the Chollas Heights station, with commentary. This link exhibits six photographs taken by your Webmaster in May, 2009 in San Diego at the site of the antenna array known as Chollas Heights, seen at the top center of the map.

Below, Claude Ryan again, this time with Register pilot Tex Rankin. Please follow the link to view a biography of Rankin.

Tex Rankin (standing, left) and T. Claude Ryan, ca. 1937
Tex Rankin and T. Claude Ryan

Images, below, of three items relevant to the flight of Reginald L. Robbins and James Kelly when setting the men's refueled endurance record, May 19-26, 1929. Details of the flight and other images are at the link. This telegram may have been a genuine token of gratitude, or an obligatory post-record marketing tool for use by the engine manufacturer.

"Fort Worth" Post Flight Telegram, May 26, 1929
"Fort Worth" Post Flight Telegram, May 26, 1929

Image, below, of the Robbins/Kelly Ryan being refueled by another Ryan. NR1766 landed at Tucson at least twice. The tanker, NR5545, is not a Register airplane.

Reginald Robbins and James Kelly, May 1929
Reginald Robbins and James Kelly, May 1929

Image, below, of a news article from the Fort Worth, TX Star Telegram of July 10, 1931. It describes preparations for the July 1931 attempt by Register pilot Robbins and copilot H.S. Jones to cross the Pacific from Seattle, WA to Japan. The airplane they are sitting in is Lockheed Vega NR7429.

Fort Worth, TX Star Telegram, July 10, 1931
Fort Worth, TX Star Telegram, July 10, 1931

Hard to read, the photo caption says, "These were the last photos made of R.L. Robbins and H.S. Jones, Fort Worth fliers, before they hopped from Seattle on their nonstop flight to Tokio to claim the $25,000 prize offered by a Japanese newspaper.

"Ready for the takeoff, the fliers are seen in the picture on the left, Robbins being on the right, in their monoplane, The Fort Worth. Robbins and Jones will relieve each other at the controls but in order to do so they must crawl from the navigating section where Jones will be most of the time to the pilot's compartment. Jones is seen in the center picture as he crawls in midair.

"It was a case of check and double check for the aviators when they looked over their compasses. In the view on the right is Robbins (left) and Jones (right) with a Seattle flier looking over the instruments which helped guide them over Alaska and which will help them as they attempt to continue over Siberia and into Tokio."

Their attempt to cross the Pacific failed twice, once because they were forced down in Alaska by heavy winds; the second because they failed to rendezvous with their refueling airplane.

Below, NX5673 appears in a used aircraft advertisement. Please follow the link to see a similar photograph used in a Waco new airplane brochure.

Waco 5673, Used Aircraft Advertisement
Waco 5673, Used Aircraft Advertisement

Below, Frank Hawks in an obvious byline image for a publication. This image and publication are probably from the late 1920s-early 30s when Hawks worked for the Texas Company. Please follow the link to his biography.

Frank Hawks, Date Unknown
Frank Hawks, Date Unknown

Below, a magazine advertisement from May 1931 featuring Register pilot Ruth Nichols. Please follow the link to her biographical page.

Goodrich Advertisement With Ruth Nichols
Goodrich Advertisement With Ruth Nichols

A newsclipping ca. Janury 26, 1932 announcing the death of Eddie Stinson is exhibited at the link.

Below, an advertisement for the Waco aircraft line for 1931.

Waco Aircraft, 1931
Waco Aircraft, 1931

An image of Register pilot D.C. Warren is integrated into his biography page. Please follow the link.

Below, Register pilot Al Wilson in a stunt transferring from automobile to airplane. This news article appeared late in 1932, after Wilson was killed at Cleveland during the National Air Races that year. Please follow the link to Wilson's biography page for details and other links.

Al Wilson, ca. Fall 1932
Al Wilson, ca. Fall 1932

Joe Crosson, News Article, ca. 1936
Joe Crosson, News Article

At left, Register pilot Joe Crosson. The subject of this article with a sensationalized headline is the transport of the bodies of Will Rogers and Wiley Post from Alaska, where they crashed on August 16, 1935. The news article is undated, but it probably appeared during the week following the crash. Please follow his link for additional information.


A significant part of Charles Cooper's collection is the following group of meaty downloads that range from flight school marketing documents, to parts catalogs, to air race schedules and technical brochures for Golden Age aircraft. Each document is a unique time capsule from the era.

1930 Spartan School Pamphlet & Brochure (7.8 MB)

1931 National Air Races Schedule and Prize List (1.5 MB) Not a visitor's book; rather the book given to pilots and competitors.

1931 Nicholas-Beazley Catalog (15 MB) This is the whole catalog. Large file, but worth it, as it contains great images of the "stuff" of airplanes and pilots from the Golden Age.

Dudley Steele Article, Western Flying, May 1931 (1.8 MB) This article is a common-sense directive on how to search for downed aircraft.

1932 Monocoupe Brochure (2.6MB) Describes the entire line of Monocoupe offerings for the year. Includes pictures of aircraft and a couple of representative owners (Phoebe Omlie, Peter Brooks and John Livingston). Handwritten calculations preserved on the back page capture one prospective owner's considered decision making regarding base price and accessories, way back in 1932.

1934 Fairchild Cabin Brochure (1.7MB)

Ryan NR1766 "Fort Worth" (5.3 MB) Being an account of the record-setting, 172 hour; 32 minute endurance flight by R.L. Robbins and James Kelley in Ryan NR1766. From Air Transportation June 8, 1929. Includes a photograph of Register passenger J.W. Beretta.

Berryloid Advertisement, With Stearman NC783H, Date Unknown (316 KB) Berryloid pigments were made by Register pilot Tom Colby's company. The Stearman is a Register airplane for which I have no information (yet).

Stearman C3MB Brochure, ca. 1929 (2.6 MB) This brochure features NC6411 (not a Register airplane), which is also pictured in Juptner, Volume 2, page 110.


UPLOADED: 03/14/08 REVISED: 05/02/08, 11/13/08

The Register

Barnstorming Poster From the Cooper Collection.

Barnstorming Handbill From the Cooper Collection.


1930 Spartan School Brochure Cover
1930 Spartan School Brochure Cover


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