C.B. Cosgrove, Jr.

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Burt Cosgrove was the manager of the Davis-Monthan Airfield from 1928 to 1932. As well, he was a pilot and airplane owner, and a competent amateur photographer. This collection of images comes from his Leica camera that he kept handy at the Airfield during his tenure.

The Cornelius Burton Cosgrove, Jr. Collection is important to understanding the role the Davis-Monthan Airfield played in civil, commercial and military aviation during the Golden Age. It gives us almost a day-to-day "movie" of the comings and goings of the people and airplanes of the era. It provides significant insight into the humanity and pioneering spirit of the people who give us the art and science of aviation here in the 21st century.

The images of the Collection are presented without touch up or modification, except for squaring margins, sizing and optimizing for web download. Unless otherwise indicated, they were scanned at 200dpi, using a Hewlett-Packard 4370 scanner.

Where some images may have interesting details viewed better at higher resolution, the scans were made at a higher dpi (300-1200dpi depending on details). These higher-resolution images are made available as PDF files, downloadable ad lib, so as not to slow display rates for the main pages.

The images are displayed without much technical commentary. Rather, the links will take you to further information, where available.

Take time to examine these important records of the Golden Age of Aviation. Enjoy everything!


Forden, Lesley. 1986. Glory Gamblers: The Story of the Dole Race. Nottingham Press. Alameda, CA. 194 pp. ISBN: 0-913958-03-04.



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.


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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.



Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
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Image Grouping ID: P-S


These 21 images document people and airplanes, military and civilian, who not only landed at the Airfield, but also contributed to the science and practice of aviation in peacetime and in war.

Below, Augie Pedlar and Mildred Doran visited Tucson on July 19, 1927. They landed at 9AM, stayed for two hours, probably for these photo ops, and departed west at 11AM. They would not visit Tucson again.

They were enroute from Flint, MI to San Francisco, CA as Dole Race participants. The departure date of the race was on August 16, 1927. The airplane is probably Buhl Airsedan NX2915, "Miss Doran", painted with red wings and nose, blue tail and white fuselage. Pedlar is 24; Doran 22. They are accompanied by a Navy Chief named Manley Lawing, who was slated to be Pedlar's navigator for the Dole competition.

Lawing, Doran & Pedlar, Tucson 8/16/1927
Lawing, Doran and Pedlar

Below, Lawing, Doran and Pedlar in front of "Miss Doran" of Flint, MI. You can see the name lettered behind Miss Doran's head.

Chief Manley Lawing, Mildred Doran & Augie Pedlar
Doran &  Pedlar

Below, data on the back of the image above.

Lawing, Mildred Doran and Augie Pedlar Data
Doran & Pedlar

Lawing was disqualified as navigator by race officials and a substitute was made by the name of Lt. Vilas Knope from North Island, San Diego. Doran went along as passenger on race day. As the data on the back of the first image, above, states, Pedlar, the navigator and Doran were lost during the Dole Race. No traces of them or their Buhl were ever found. Details of Pedlar and Doran's Dole Race activities, as well as all the other competitors, can be found in the Forden reference in the left sidebar.


Wiley Post and Harold Gatty (below) landed at Tucson on February 17, 1931, about four months before their around-the-world flight. Although their airplane wasn't identified, it was probably the "Winnie Mae".

Wiley Post & Harold Gatty
Wiley Post & Harold Gatty


Below, William Pryce, C.B. Cosgrove, Jr., James B. Carroll and Ralph Baez.

William Pryce, although not a signer of the Register, was a friend of Cosgrove and his wife. Pryce later flew the Pacific Clippers, and became senior pilot at Pan American later in his career. James B. Carroll signed the Register three times as a military pilot during 1928, 29 and 31. He was a lieutenant at the time, later being promoted to captain. Ralph Baez signed the Register at least once in 1931 as a Captain (there was another, earlier signature by a Lt. "Baez" with no initial. It was probably Ralph Baez). I do not know why Pryce, Carroll and Baez accompanied the Cosgroves to Honolulu, unless it was part of their air line or military duties.

The image is on the ship "President Coolidge" at Honolulu during the voyage Cosgrove and his wife made to the far east. Date: May 26, 1932.

William Pryce, C.B. Cosgrove, James B. Carroll, Ralph Baez
Pryce, Cosgrove, Carroll


Below, Ross E. Rowell and Francis T. "Cocky" Evans were Marine Corp aviators. Rowell landed at Tucson three times between 1926 and 1929. His visit on December 15, 1926 was identified in the Remarks column of the Register as a "Transcontinental flight". He was westbound, remained in Tucson overnight, and continued his way on to San Diego, CA the next day at 12:45PM. Evans did not sign the Register. Extensive references to Rowell (and some mention of Evans) are available here (PDF download >7MB). This download is a valuable book about Marine Corps aviation and aviators from 1912-1940.

Ross E. Rowell (L) & Francis T. "Cocky" Evans With Boeing FB-(?)
Rowell & Evans


Another three images of Ross Rowell straight from Cosgrove's album. Note the deep gouges from the tail skid in the center image. This bomber isn't recorded in the Register. Location: San Diego, CA.

Ross Rowell, Date Unknown
Ross Rowell


T. Claude Ryan, probably in San Diego, date unknown. Note the beautiful machined texturing of the cowling, a hallmark of Ryan aircraft.

T. Claude Ryan
T.C. Ryan


Below, Dewey Simpson carrying C.B. Cosgrove, Jr. At first glance this is just a frolicsome prank for the camera by two 30-something young men. However, the importance of this image is that Simpson and Cosgrove were the first two managers of the Davis-Monthan Airfield.

Dewey Simpson was born in Laredo, TX June 21, 1897. He served in WWI and saw duty in France. Upon discharge, he reenlisted in the Army Air Service in July 1919 and was sent to Tucson in 1925 as a noncommissioned officer in charge of the original airfield located on the corner of 6th and Irvington (the present rodeo grounds). On October 6, 1927 he, the Register, and the airfield were moved to the location, which was dedicated by Charles Lindbergh during his visit in September 1927, in the far northwest corner of the present Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The date on the image places it ca. 1930-1931. Cosgrove had been airfield manager since 1928.

Dewey Simpson Carrying C.B. Cosgrove, ca. 1931
Simpson & Cosgrove

Another interesting thing about this image is in the background. Lurking behind the far right pillar of the terminal building, between it and the hangar, is a Lockheed Sirius. You can just see the nose, propeller, landing gear and wings. Five of this Lockheed model are signed into the Airfield Register, all in 1930. One of them was owned by Joan Shankle and Clarence "Dutch" Shankle, who were Tucson residents. I would bet money that the Sirius behind the pillar is NC13W, belonging to the Shankles. This link corroborates that possibility.

The image, below, of Dewey Simpson, right, was dated October, 1928, about a year after he brought the Register to the Airfield. The person on the left is unidentified, but his belt buckle, worn to the left side of his pants, suggests he was either a pilot or a mechanic. Both wore their buckles off center so as not to scratch the paint on the aircraft they leaned on.

Dewey Simpson, Right, October, 1928


Below, are two of Cosgrove's images documenting the first air-to-air refueling exercise of June 28, 1923. The event occurred before the time of the Register, but the pilot of the endurance airplane is Lowell Smith.

We find Lowell H. Smith in the lower, refueled airplane. Smith signed the Davis-Monthan Register once on February 20, 1926. Two years earlier, he and his fellow adventurers won the 1924 Mackay Trophy for their Douglas World Cruiser voyage, which is highlighted with images taken by Cosgrove at Tucson here.

But the image below has additional interest for us. It is unique in that ALL of the personnel, on board both airplanes, signed the Davis-Monthan Register.

Lowell Smith, 1923
Lowell Smith

How do we know this? The image, below, is of the back of the image above. We find that the fuel handler for Smith is Lt. John Richter, himself a pilot who landed at the Airfield and signed the Register on September 14, 1929. In the upper, refueling aircraft, the pilot is Virgil Hine who signed the Register September 25, 1930. His hose handler was Lt. F.W. Siefert, who landed and signed the Register as a passenger on January 30, 1928. If that wasn't enough, their commanding officer, identified as Major H.H. "Hap" Arnold, signed our Register on March 17, 1930 and August 23, 1933.

Lowell Smith Image Data
Lowell Smith Data


Below, Carl Spatz in typical Army Air Corps portrait from Cosgrove's collection. Spatz changed the spelling of his name to Spaatz in 1938 to emphasize the correct pronunciation of the long "ah", as in 'spots' instead of 'spats'. He landed at Tucson six times between 1927 and 1931.

General Carl Spatz
Carl Spatz

Below, Carl Spatz in front of the big, oil-spattered fuselage of the Fokker C-2 trimotor transport 28-120 "Question Mark", January 21, 1929. Refer to the last image of this download (PDF 367KB) to see all the members of the "Question Mark" crew in the same relative position against the fuselage.

Carl Spatz January 21, 1929
Carl Spatz


Below, signed photo of Eric Springer in a Curtiss Pusher, location identified as Griffith Air Park, 1915. He became a management force with Douglas Aircraft.

Eric Springer, 1915
Eric Springer


Below, Eddie Stinson on the left, with unidentified gentleman. By the clothing on Stinson, these images were taken at the same time, probably during the Ford Reliability Tour of 1928, which passed through Tucson July 10th.

Eddie Stinson (L), Date Unknown
Eddie Stinson

Eddie Stinson.

Eddie Stinson (R) with B.F. Mahoney(?)
Eddie Stinson (R)


Below, Graham M. St. John was the pilot of this Douglas Transport C-1, registration number 25-443, that visited Tucson on April 16 and April 22-23, 1926. The records in the Register for April 22-23 completely corroborate this series of images. St. John landed April 22 at 6PM carrying Capt. R.W. Stone. They were eastbound from Rockwell Field, San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX, Ft. Bliss. They stayed overnight, departing on the 23rd at 11AM.

Another transport, not pictured, on the same itinerary, signed the Register right after St. John. This transport was piloted by Lt. H.M. Turner carrying a Capt. "Creed" (Creager?). Yet a third transport is signed in just above St. John, piloted by Ralph Stirling.

G.M. St. John in Cockpit
St. John

We find in the last image the three pilots of the group of transports: Stirling, Turner and St. John (in the cockpit), as well as passengers Stone and (probably "Creed") in the person of Creager. Peggy Pearson is not listed anywhere in the Register. From the shadows, it looks like this image was taken by Cosgrove sometime near their departure time on this sunny and pleasant Friday morning in April of 1926.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/15/07 REVISED: 01/20/07

The Register

To use these photographs for any purpose, please contact their owner:

C.B. Cosgrove, III at 5555 Zuni Rd., SE, Suite 206, Albuquerque, NM 87106

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