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!



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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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Image Grouping ID: Female Pilots


Most of these twelve images of female pilots show them, their airplanes and their activities during the 1929 and 1930 National Air Races.

It is significant that out of the 20 female competitors in the now-classic 1929 "Powder Puff Derby", 13 of them are signers of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register (Louise Thaden, Gladys O'Donnell, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder, Neva Paris, Opal Kunz, Mary Von Mach, Pancho Barnes, Claire Fahy, Ruth Nichols, Margaret Perry, Phoebe Omlie and Bobbi Trout).

The collage of images below, location unknown, is most probably taken preceding or during the famous 1929 "Powder Puff Derby". It shows, top left, Pancho Barnes, top right, L to R, Louise Thaden (the ultimate winner of the 1929 "Powder Puff" Derby), Gladys O'Donnell (?) and Ruth Elder.

Female Pilots
Female Pilots

Bottom image, left, shows Margaret Perry or perhaps Blanche Noyes (can anyone identify them for sure?) Right image, taken with a top-view box camera by a man in a fedora, looks very much like Mary von Mach.

Image, below, probably at the same 1929 "Powder Puff Derby", location unknown. Pancho Barnes is at center; others unidentified, can anyone help with the identification? There is a rudder at right with a leading numeral "6" on it. Note the robust wheel chocks in the foreground. I understand this image is also available from the D.D. Hatfield Collection of the Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA.

Female Pilots, 1929
Female Pilots

Image below is Ruth Nichols in her 1929 Derby airplane, a Rearwin Ken-Royce. Notice the "16" painted over the finish on the fuselage, with the numerals made distinct by painting a white relief band over the horizontal stripe. Ruth was not to finish the race to Cleveland, however, as she wrecked her airplane in a collision with with a steam roller at Columbus, OH. So near, but yet so far.

If you have the book, compare Ruth's image on page 234 of Jean Nora Jessen's "Powder Puff Derby of 1929". You'll see her posed beside this same airplane, with the "tonneau" unsnapped, and without the number 16 on the fuselage.

Ruth Nichols, 1929
Ruth Nichols in Number 16

Image, below, of Ruth Nichols, probably taken at Tucson during her visit of 5/6/1929. She flew a Curtiss Fledgling, NC5404, as part of a promotional tour for the Aviation Country Clubs. Part of the ACC logo can be seen on the fuselage at the right edge of the image. The whole logo can be seen on page 148 of the Jessen book cited above. I left the "Fox Co." decorative geometric frame on this image as it came from the developer; a nice touch.

Ruth Nichols, Tucson 1929
Ruth Nichols


Below, Gladys O'Donnell with her Waco. This airplane is probably NC21M, S/N A-151 manufactured in 1929. She flew this airplane in the "Powder Puff Derby" that year. The airplane still exists. Pilot O'Donnell, like many of the women cited on this page, was a Charter member of the 99's.

Gladys O'Donnell
Gladys O'Donnell


Below, Phoebe Omlie, pilot, mechanic and successful air racer in Monocoupe aircraft. Upon enlarging the original image and examining her hands, you can see skinned knuckles and grease around her fingernails. She practiced with her mechanic's license!

One of the aircraft she flew to Tucson, NR8917, is still registered with the FAA today. In this image she is probably on her way to Santa Monica for the 1929 National Women's Air Derby. Some of the images of her during that event show her in these same clothes.

Phoebe Omlie
Phoebe Omlie


The image below shows the winners of the 1930 National Air Races Women's Class A Pacific Derby from Long Beach, CA to Chicago, IL. The winners were, L to R, Mildred Morgan (2nd Place and $2,100 prize winner), Jean LaRene (3rd Place and $1,400 prize winner), Ruth M. Stewart (4th), unidentified man, Gladys O'Donnell (1st Place and $3,500 prize winner), Ruth W. Barron (5th) and Marjorie Doig who was forced out at Emporia, KS.

1930 National Air Races Winners, Chicago, IL
1930 NAR Winners


The image below is Jean LaRene with her 3rd place American Eagle "Miss Chicago", 1930 National Air Races.

Jean LaRene, August-September 1930
Jean LaRene, 1930



The image below is a cigarette advertisment that literally exploits (she was a non-smoker) Amelia Earhart's popularity at the time she hitch-hiked across the Atlantic. Sure, the cigarettes might have been CARRIED on the airplane, but Amelia didn't SMOKE them. Toasted or not, we've come a long way in our understanding of the hazards of tobacco use.

Cigarette Advertisement, ca. 1928
Amelia Earhart



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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