Following are twelve images of U.S. Army Air Corps aircraft
from the Klein Archive that landed at the Davis-Monthan
Airfield between 1925 and 1936. Whereas most of the flights
by these aircraft to Tucson were what you might call routine,
a few of them are notable because of the fame of the aircraft,
or of the people who were flying or riding in them.
Consolidated PT-1, Date Unknown
At left, the Consolidated PT-1 with AAC number 26-301. Based
at March Field, Riverside, CA, this airplane landed at Tucson
on October, 31, 1927. The pilot, Lt. J.M. Bevans, remained
overnight in Tucson and departed back to Riverside the next
This airplane was a basic trainer with a Hisso 180 HP engine
installed. Bevans landed again at Tucson about two years
later flying a DeHavilland trainer, still based at and returning
Boeing PW-9C, ca. 1927
At right, the Boeing PW-9C with AAC number 26-371. Based
at Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX, this airplane landed at
Tucson three times. The first landing was on 9/14/1927 piloted
solo by Lt. W.A. Maxwell. He was on a long cross-country
trip from Marfa, TX to Spokane, WA.
The second visit was on July 11, 1929 flown by Major A.L.
Lund. Based in San
Diego, CA this time, Lund was on his way from
Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX.
The third landing took place about a week later on July
19, 1929. The pilot was again Major Lund returning from El
Paso to San Diego (Rockwell Field).
Curtiss P-1B, Date Unknown
At left, Curtiss P-1B 27-64 flown twice to Tucson. The first
visit was on June 20, 1929 flown by Captain Ira
C. Eaker. He was solo on his way from Rockwell Field,
San Diego, CA to Oklahoma City, OK. Another airplane flown to Tucson by Eaker is Boeing P-12, 29-353.
The second landing was on March 29, 1930 flown by Major
Fred H. Coleman. Based at Aberdeen, MD, Coleman was flying
the airplane from Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX to Mather Field,
Interestingly, pilot Coleman was a member of the first graduating
class in "Blind Landing" taught by Albert
Fokker C-2 Transport 28-120, The "Question Mark"
At right, Fokker C-2 Transport 28-120, "Question Mark",
landed at Tucson on January 21, 1929 at 4:15PM. The pilot
Spatz. Spatz and his crew remained overnight at Tucson,
departing at 7:00AM next morning. The location of this image
is unknown, but see this link for
an image of Spatz and the "Question Mark" on the ground at
Tucson on the 21st.
"Question Mark" is a
famous aircraft, because it set an early Army refueled endurance
record on January 1, 1929. Refer to the link to Spatz' page
above for an overview of the flight and just what kinds of
preparations went into the endurance flight. The details
Although it is not clear from the Register, Spatz is identified
here as pilot for the landing at Tucson, as he was listed
first. Spatz was the official
pilot and Eaker was the official co-pilot during the endurance
run. As well as Maj. Carl Spatz, Capt. Ira
Eaker, Sgt. Roy Hooe, Mr. H.J.
Adamson, Capt. Ross Hoyt and Lt. E.R. Queseda are listed
in the Pilot field in the Register.
Someone wrote "Question Mark" in the Passenger field. The
name of the airplane was based on how long the crew thought
they would remain aloft: they didn't really know.
the Army endurance flight coincided with an endurance record
set by Bobbi
Trout. Their airplanes were
in the air at the same time and in the same vicinity. Spatz
dropped a note of encouragement from the "Question Mark"
that was shared with Trout.
28-129 Douglas O-2H
At left is Douglas O-2H 28-129. It was flown by J.E. Upston
to Tucson on June 25, 1928. Based at Washington, DC, pilot
Upston was eastbound from San
Diego, CA to El Paso, TX. He
carried one unidentified passenger. He left no information
in the Remarks column of the Register, so we don't know what
the purpose of this flight was.
Upston landed one other time, on 9/6/1928, flying a Curtiss
O-1 Falcon. He and his passenger, F.R. Neely, were westbound
from El Paso to Los
Douglas XO-14, 28-194
At right and below is Douglas XO-14, 28-194. This airplane
landed at Tucson somewhere during the third week of July
1930. It was flown by MSgt. J.L. Waugh. His passenger was
SSgt. George Goodrich.
Interestingly we have two images of this airplane, but not
a lot of information about the pilot or the history of the
aircraft. The locations of the images are unknown.
Douglas XO-14, 28-194, Location Unknown
Note the change in rear cockpit configuration
between the top and bottom images. In the bottom image, it
appears that the gunner's machine gun mount was removed and
a standard passenger cockpit was installed. It is not clear
if the airplane in the bottom image was still on the military
roster. Perhaps it was and was converted to a military hack,
or surveyed and turned into a civil airplane. Does anyone
Douglas O-2K 29-179, Location Unknown
Douglas O-2K 29-179 landed three times at Tucson. The first
two times it was flown by H.A. Sutton on what appeared to
be a quick visit to the west coast. Sutton was based in Dayton,
OH at Wright Field. On March 2, 1929 he flew westbound through
Tucson from El Paso, TX to March Field (Riverside, CA). On
March 8, 1929 he returned eastbound from Clover
Monica, CA through Tucson on his way back to El Paso and
probably east from there.
The third visit by 29-179 was on November 2, 1929. This
time the airplane was flown by Lt. L.S. Stranathan. He carried
one VIP passenger, Congressman (Melvin) Maas. Based in Washington,
DC at Bolling Field, Stranathan was carrying the Congressman
from Rockwell Field in San Diego, CA to Ft. Bliss in El Paso,
TX. There was no reason given for the trip.
Passenger Minnesota Congressman Maas (May 14, 1898 – April
14, 1964), however, was a Marine Corps officer and had a
long political career beginning in 1926 and lasting through
WWII. He was a watchdog of things military, and his opinions
and statements have a modern ring (see, for example, this link,
and this one).
He is buried at Arlington
Ford C-4 29-219
This big Ford C-4 transport, 29-219, left, landed at Tucson
three times between 1929 and 1934. For its first visit
on August 12, 1929, it was flown by Capt. H.N Dwyer. Dwyer
carried two mecanics and the Hon. W. Frank James (R-MI).
James was Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, which
recommended in July 1929 that a "huge expansion" commence
at Maxwell Field, Riverside, CA. James is sometimes called
the "godfather of Maxwell Field". Perhaps this
trip, which arrived from Ft. Huachuca and was northbound
to the Grand Canyon, was to promote or help roll out Representative
The other military pilots who flew this airplane to Tucson
were R.K. Giannoli (7/2/1931) and Lloyd L. Sailor (8/27/1934).
Both were westbound to March Field, Riverside, CA, and both
flew with many fewer passengers than their airplane was
designed to carry. Sailor wrote in the Remarks column of
the register, "Won't
be long now",
perhaps referring to his expected arrival on the west coast
later in the day.
Below, members of the 1st Pursuit Group from Selfridge
Field, MI. Photograph taken at Bettis
PA on November 14, 1926. The members of the Group were
not identified on the image (but see below).
In June 2008, site visitor Carolyn Peat says, "... the occasion of them being at Bettis Field was the dedication of the airport being named for the late Lieut. Cyrus K. Bettis. I think the man third from the right without a hat and the center part of his hair showing, could be my father, D. Barr Peat." For additional in formation about Bettis and Peat, please direct your browser to this link.
Below, Curtiss P-1 aircraft of the 1st Pursuit Group.
This photograph was also taken November 14, 1926 at Bettis
Field, Pittsburgh, PA. No numbers were visible on the original
Thirteen members of the 1st Pursuit Group landed two
years later as a group at Tucson on September 7 and 18, 1928. Ten
of them flew Curtiss P-1s, two flew transports and one flew
a Douglas O-2H. They were eastbound from Rockwell Field,
San Diego, CA to Selfridge Field, Detroit, MI. The members
logged in the Register are: L.D. Bradshaw, John K. Cannon,
William H. Doolittle, John D. Eagan, Julian B. Haddon, Frank
G. Irvin, Trevor Kenyon, Frank D. Klein, Earnest Lawson,
Frank Robinson, Robert L. Schoenlein, Rex K. Stoner and Victor
H. Strahm. If anyone can identify any of these men in the
image above, please let me know.
Likewise, if you know why they were flying cross-country
as a group, please let me know.
Below, a classic photograph of one of the Douglas World
Cruisers (DWC), the "New Orleans". Although this airplane is not
listed in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register, the
DWC fleet visited Tucson on September 21-22, 1924 (the Register
was first opened at the Airfield about a year later). The
fleet was just a week away from completing its round-the-world
mission, begun April 6th, which terminated in Seattle, WA.
They had logged 27,553 miles in six months and six days,
with an actual flying time of 371 hours. They had touched
down in 28 countries and had crossed the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans. Please follow this link for
more images on this site of the World Cruisers on the ground
Douglas World Cruiser (DWC) "New
Lt. Erik Nelson, who was the pilot of the "New Orleans"
signed the Davis-Monthan Register five times between 1929
and 1931. Nelson left the Army after winning the Mackey
Trophy for the Round-the-World flight. His later landings
at Tucson were all in Boeing aircraft, for whom he worked
at the time, based out of Seattle, WA.
UPLOADED: 09/23/07 REVISED: 02/07/08, 02/03/09