Below are 7 images (plus one from another source) of places
cited in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register between 1925
and 1936. In many cases these places were recorded by pilots
as home bases, or points of arrival or destinations from
The annotation on the image below reads, "Bettis Field,
Dravosburg, PA 4 July 1939". Bettis Field is not
Bettis Field, Pittsburgh, PA, Independence Day 1939
mentioned specifically in the Register as a home base or
destination, however it shows up meaningfully in the lives
and activities of several pilots and aircraft. For example,
the Army's 1st Pursuit Squadron,
and these images of Charles
Lindbergh, and Post
Below is another original photograph of Bettis
Field shared with us by the Archives
Service Center, University
of Pittsburgh. Thanks to them for letting us use this very
high quality aerial image.
Bettis Field, Pittsburgh, PA, Date Unknown
This photo, taken on a typical cloudy Pittsburgh day, is
oriented about 30-degrees counter-clockwise from the one above
it. The landing circle in the bottom image is at about the
same location as the square light area at about 8 o'clock
in the top image. DC-3 traffic
was handled at this airport in the 1930s. When Lockheed Constellations
began carrying the load, the Allegheny County Airport was
opened to carry the heavier airplanes. Bettis was eliminated
in the 1950s.
Today this airfield does not exist. In
its place is the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory (BAPL) operated
for the Department of Energy by Bechtel Bettis, Inc. It
was formerly operated by Westinghouse Electric
Corporation. BAPL is engaged in the design and development
of naval nuclear propulsion plants.
Below is Butler Airport located north of Pittsburgh, PA
near the town of Butler. The image was taken July 1930. The
annotation on the original image states, "Butler Airport
(PA), Air Corps Visitors, July 1930". The purpose for the
visit by the Air Corps is unknown, however the 1st Pursuit
Group was in the Pittsburgh area several years before in
1926 as captured in these images from
the Klein Archive on this site. Butler Airport still exists
as a thriving uncontrolled, general aviation field under
the Greater Pittsburgh airport's veil.
Butler Airport, July 1930
The annotation on the image below states, "Cleveland Airport
7/7/39". It may not be a coincidence that the top image of
Bettis Field, above was taken just three days earlier.
Cleveland Airport July 7, 1939
Cleveland was "Home Base" for 22 pilots who signed the Davis-Monthan
Register. As well, it was the "Destination" for an additional
18 pilots, most of them involved in the air race events
of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Fourteen pilots originated
in Cleveland, including a group of U.S. Navy pilots on their
way west to San
Diego, CA and the U.S.S. Lexington.
The annotation on the original of the image below reads,
"Curtiss Field – Garden
City, Long Island, NY 1928". Given that Davis-Monthan pilots
who were from there landed between 1927 and 1929, this image
pretty much represents what they actually saw when they were
Curtiss Field, Garden City, NY, 1928
Curtiss Field was "Home Base" to
four Davis-Monthan pilots, including "Boots"
The annotation on the orginal photograph below reads, "Langley
Field, Virginia 8/6/25". Among the 45 Davis-Monthan pilots
who identify Langley Field, Hampton, VA as "Home Base" are
Ralph Royce and Carl
Spatz. Both of them landed on July 8, 1927 flying separate
Douglas C-1C Transports eastbound. This image is very close
to what they saw when they arrived back home. Ten pilots
listed Langley as their "Destination".
Langley Field, Virginia 8/6/25
Below are two images of the Pitcairn Hangar at Philadelphia,
PA. There were 13 landings by Pitcairn aircraft at the Davis-Monthan
Airfield between 1928 and 1933. This is the birthplace for
some of them, including two PCA-2 Autogiros. Among the pilots
flying Pitcairns to Tucson were Bob
Buck , Amelia Earhart (flying autogiro NC10780)
Miller (flying autogiro NC10781).
Pitcairn Hangar, Philadelphia, PA, 1928
The annotation on the original image above reads, "Pitcairn
Airfield, Philadelphia 1928, A Cessna, “robin”,
two Travel Airs and a Command Aire".
Image, below, is dated July 1931. The annotation on the
original reads, "Pitcairn Field Hangar, North Philadelphia
July 1931, Philadelphia-Atlanta Air Mail terminal".
Pitcairn Field Hangar, North Philadelphia July 1931
It is clear from the roof and door geometries that this
is a different building than the one in the image above it.
UPLOADED: 11/01/07 REVISED: 11/28/07