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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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.



"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. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

"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.  Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.

"Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race" is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.


Juptner, Joseph. 1962-1981. U.S. Civil Aircraft. Volumes 1-9. Aero Publishers, Inc. Fallbrook, CA.



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This airplane is a Fokker trimotor transport, designated “C-2” by the military (S/N 26-202; ATC #56).  It was acquired by the Army Air Corps in 1926.  An excellent summary of the technical specifications of our airplane, including images during modification for a trans-Pacific voyage, is available here. The airplane was named the "Bird of Paradise." Below, an undated photograph of the airplane posed on a clover field with an unidentified bystander.

Fokker 26-202, Date & Location Unknown (Source: EAFB)
Fokker 26-202, Date & Location Unknown (Source: EAFB)

This is a very special airplane.  It is the first aircraft to fly across the Pacific Ocean from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.  It did this on June 28-29, 1927, and the pilots who flew it to Hawaii, Lt. Lester J. Maitland and Albert F. Hegenberger are the same ones who brought the airplane to Tucson.

They landed at Tucson, on June 20, 1927 accompanied by passengers Jim Riviera, Fred Jesman (?) and Bradley Jones.  Based at Washington, DC, they arrived from El Paso, TX westbound to San Diego, CA. They wrote in the Remarks column, "Honolulu or bust".  They were not busted.  A week later they successfully navigated and flew the 2,400 miles from San Francisco, CA to Hawaii, in 25 hours and 50 minutes, the longest open sea flight to-date.  They received the Mackey Trophy and the Distinguished Flying Cross from President Coolidge for this achievement. An overview of the flight, as well as images, is available here.

Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is another undated photograph of the airplane. The rudder is painted in a different pattern than in the image above, or in the images below after it reached Hawaii. I don't know if the photograph below pre-dates or post-dates the trans-Pacific flight. If you can shed some light on this, please let me KNOW.

Fokker 26-202, Bird of Paradise, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

After Tucson, the airplane was staged at Oakland, CA before the trans-Pacific flight. Below, from site visitor Roger Holden, is an image of 26-202 on the ground at Oakland. Interestingly, is is pictured with a civilian companion the "City of Oakland," which followed it to Honolulu July 14, 1927. The "City of Oakland: was a Travel Air 5000 high-winged monoplane.

"Bird of Paradise" (L) and the "City of Oakland", Oakland, CA, ca. June, 1927 (Source: Holden)
"Bird of Paradise" (L) and the "City of Oakland", Oakland, CA, ca. June, 1927 (Source: Holden)


Caption, "Bird of Paradise" (L) and the "City of Oakland", Oakland, CA, ca. June, 1927 (Source: Holden)
Caption, "Bird of Paradise" (L) and the "City of Oakland", Oakland, CA, ca. June, 1927 (Source: Holden)

The "Bird of Paradise" and the "City of Oakland" weren't the only aircraft across the Pacific during the summer of 1927. The "Woolaroc," another Travel Air 5000, made the trip in August. The pilot was Art Goebel and the navigator was Wm. V. Davis, Jr. See the books cited in the left sidebar for further information about their victory in the Dole Race across the Pacific.

Four images below are gratefully accepted from site visitor Tim Kalina (right sidebar). They have not been published elsewhere to our knowledge.

"Bird of Paradise" at Wheeler Field, 1927

Tim says, “These [images], obviously, were taken at Wheeler Field at the end of the flight from the mainland.… One neat thing about the Bird of Paradise are those unusual Micarta propellers. These were produced by Westinghouse and were an early type of laminated plastic. The Fokker 'Southern Cross' also had Micarta propellers. These were expensive propellers (compared to wood ones) so you don't see them often. I assume steel propellers proved better than the Micarta and they were discontinued.”

Notice the clothing styles on the people. This is the month of June in Hawaii. The only ones who look comfortable are the children in shorts. The young, bobbed flapper on the right is wearing a late style, as this image from the 1922 Montgomery Ward catalog shows. She probably paid near $7 for her dress!

"Bird of Paradise" at Wheeler Field, 1927

Below, right, is an advertisement for Micarta from an unidentifiable magazine.  Mr. Kalina notes in an email to me, “I understand that Micarta is still used to make knife handles. And like Formica, it was promoted in the 1930s for a wide range of household products. I have attached a scan of an old ad for Micarta propellers that features the Bird of Paradise.” Interestingly, George Westinghouse was a Register pilot.

Micarta Advertisement, date unk.

And further, according to the link cited above for the airplane, “The ‘Bird of Paradise' remained in service in Hawaii as a transport plane for about 10 years. In the late 1930's the aircraft was disassembled and shipped to the Air Corps Museum at Wright Field. The aircraft was destroyed in 1944 because of a critical shortage of storage space needed for the war effort. The USAF has a few artifacts from the ‘Bird of Paradise’ on display [at its museum in Dayton, OH] including a main landing gear wheel and tire and a stool used by the crew [Hegenberger] to "shoot" the sun (or stars) during position checks with a sextant.”


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/01/06 REVISED: 09/30/07, 02/04/08, 05/12/10, 01/10/14, 12/08/14

The Register
This airplane was originally assigned a McCook Field "P-Number", P-463. It is called an "Atlantic C-2" on the McCook roster, because it was manufactured in the United States.
Thanks to site visitors Roger Holden and Tim Kalina for some of the images.
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