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

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This airplane was the military version of the Sikorsky S-38, identified as the XPS-2. It landed at Tucson three times. The first time it was landed by a Lt. Irvine (no first name cited) carrying three passengers plus his copilot A.R. Mead. They arrived January 3, 1929 at 1:20PM and departed 40 minutes later. Based at San Diego, CA, they were westbound to San Diego from Washington, DC, N.A.S. Anacostia. Pilot Irvine noted "Ferry" in the remarks column of the Register. According to Joe Baugher's site, A-8089, S/N 14-8, was withdrawn from use by Nov 1933. A-8089 was a sister ship of A-8287.

Indeed, this new airplane was being ferried from Washington to San Diego. A detailed record of the ferry flight appears in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of January 23, 1929, below.

A-8089 Ferry, Anacostia-Tucson, December 28, 1928-January 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
A-8089 Ferry, Anacostia-Tucson, December 28, 1928-January 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

Developed from the itinerary cited in the Newsletter, the following chart illustrates the journey.

A-8089 Ferry, Anacostia-Tucson, December 28, 1928-January 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
A-8089 Ferry, Anacostia-Tucson, December 28, 1928-January 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

The route used by Irvine and Mead is far from a Great Circle Route, but we have to consider the time of year.  It was the beginning of January and the route suggests they plunged immediately south to enjoy warmer temperatures for the rest of their trip west.  There is no record of the five stops made between Tallulah and San Diego as they crossed Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  A good bet, however, would be that they stopped at El Paso. There are other transcontinental routes plotted for the flights of Register pilots Pancho Barnes, Zantford Granville, Elmer McLeod and Bill Piper, Jr. 

Below, from the same BuAeroNews, an announcement of the arrival at San Diego of A-8089. Given that they departed Tucson the 3rd of January, they must have stayed overnight somewhere short of San Diego, perhaps Yuma, AZ or Calexico, CA. There is no mention in the itinerary, above, of a stop between Tucson and San Diego.

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, January 23, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, January 23, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

The final two landings by A-8089 occurred later on August 18 and September 10, 1929. The pilot both times was Navy officer C.G. Alexander. These stops at Tucson were in conjunction with the Navy's activity at the Cleveland air races. According to Jessen, page 171, "... two Sikorsky amphibians ... en route to the national air races at Cleveland passed over Wichita...." The National Air Races were held that year from August 24th to September 2nd, which are within the dates of A-8089's landings at Tucson. The other Sikorsky was A-8090, as evidenced in the Register on page 112. The two Sikorskys were part of an entire squadron of Navy aircraft under the command of Lt. Cdr. Homer Wick that passed through Tucson August 19, 1929. Please direct your browser to his page for details around Wick's grand cross-country command.



The Register
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---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


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