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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. NC11Y can be found on page 160.


This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


This PDF download (19MB) describes the early history of NC11Y, and activities around transitioning NC11Y from the Experimental Aircraft Association to TWA workshops to the Smithsonian.

Thanks to Ruth Richter Holden for sharing this article from her father's (Paul Richter) collection of "Skyline". "Skyline" was the TWA employee magazine. This issue is probably from 1975.


You may see another image of 11Y from the Klein Archive of Aviation Photographs at this link.


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This airplane is a Northrop Alpha 2 (S/N 3; ATC# 381) manufactured during November 1930 by Northrop Aircraft Corporation, United Airport, Burbank, CA.  It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp C engine (S/N 3162) of 420 HP.  It was a three-place airplane, painted black and orange.  It is one of two Northrop Alphas that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield during the period of the Register.  The other is NC933Y.

Initially, our Alpha was sold to the U.S. Department of Commerce and was registered as NS-1.  It was tested for Northrop by test-pilot Edward T. Allen and flown by Asst. Sec. of Commerce Clarence M. Young.

On April 16, 1931, the DOC sold the airplane to the Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI.  Ford sold it immediately to National Air Transport, Chicago, IL.  It was registered as NC11Y and flown briefly by N.A.T. in five-place configuration. 

NC11Y descended into Tucson on June 2, 1931 at 5:10PM.  It was flown by Gage Irving carrying one unidentified passenger.  They were eastbound from Burbank, CA to Kansas City, MO.  Neither the Register, nor the NASM record, suggests the purpose of the flight.  We can assume it was a N.A.T. charter, or perhaps a post-maintenance flight from the factory.

Northrop Alpha NR11Y, Date & Location Unknown
Northrop Alpha NR11Y, Date & Location Unknown

Image, above, from Tim Kalina. Regarding the "NR" registration, upon further research at the Smithsonian, I discovered the airplane never was officially registered "NR". While the photo clearly shows the rudder painted so, it apparently was illegal. Note the “trousered” landing gear.

On November 27, 1931 it was sold to Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., New York, NY.  It was painted with “T.W.A. #12” and flown on T.W.A. mail routes from 1931 to 1935.    Charles Lindbergh flew it on T.W.A. business on February 21, 1933. Key players in T.W.A. were Davis-Monthan pilots Jack Frye and Paul Richter.

NC11Y then passed almost annually, over the next fourteen years, through ten owners as follows.  Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. (a new company) on December 27, 1934.  Please follow this link for an image of the airplane in TWA livery. And follow this link for another image in TWA livery taken in 1933 with Charles Lindbergh as pilot. Frederick B. Lee, NY, on April 26, 1935 (Lee purchased floats and was planning a long-distance flight.  He did not make the flight. See the PDF download available in the left sidebar).

Harry V. Spaulding, NY, on 9/12/37 (as a single-place airplane).  Richard E. Conley, Ridgefield, CT, 1/20/38.  Murray B. Dilley, Jr., Kansas City, MO, 12/20/40.  Dilley Aircraft Company, Kansas City, 6/20/41.  Victory Aircraft School, Kansas City, 2/23/42.  United Aircraft Training, Wichita, KS, 5/16/42.  Harold V. Leslie, Detroit, MI, 6/12/45.  Stephen Tuttle, Dearborn, MI, 9/10/45.  Foster Hannaford, Jr., Winnetka, IL, 9/18/45. An image of NC11Y in 1940 is on this site and can be found here.

An interesting biographical aside regarding owner Hannaford appears on a Web page that describes homes in St. Paul, MN. One of the homes, at 875 West Osceola Avenue, was owned by Foster Hannaford. Using Google Earth, you can see this home today, still with its detached garage. The description of the home and Hannaford's ownership and aviation interests are quoted below.

"875 West Osceola Avenue: Built in 1907. The structure is a two story, 2643 square foot, ten room, four bedroom, two bathroom, two half-bathroom, frame house, with a detached garage. The 1918 city directory indicates that Mr. and Mrs. Foster Hannaford resided at this address. The 1930 city directory indicates that Adam J. Holmes resided at this address.

"Foster Hannaford (1888-1981) was the son of Jule Murat Hannaford and was a 1908 graduate of the Yale University Sheffield School. Alice Steel Ide Hannaford (1888-1975,) the daughter of Mrs. Charles Ide, who was a sculptress who exhibited at the National Academy and who made her debut in 1908, was the wife of Foster Hannaford.

"Foster Hannaford was interested in airplanes. In 1935, a Northrop Alpha, piloted by R. S. LeRoy, had an accident near St. Clairsville, Ohio. The aircraft was salvaged and the remains were sold in 1938 to Foster Hannaford, Jr., of Minneapolis, who planned to rebuild the aircraft and retained the registration as late as 1948. In 1945, Hannaford also purchased an intact Northrop Alpha NC11Y that had been flown by Charles Lindbergh and he stored both airframes in a barn. In 1971, the aircraft were acquired by the Experimental Aircraft Association, TWA Technical Services Center, Kansas City, Missouri, restored NC11Y, and it was on display at the National Air and Space Museum in 2003.

"An aircraft manufactured under license to Jack Rose in 1947 by Blackhawk Aircraft Company was registered, but did not complete the certification process and was sold to Foster Hannaford, along with four incomplete airframes in 1948. Foster Hannaford had a license from Jack Rose to manufacture and sell five Hannaford Rose A-4 Parrakeets per year. In 1950, the Hannaford Aircraft Company completed and sold it's first Hannaford A-4 as an experimental airplane.

"Sometime between 1948 and the early 1950's, Rose came to believe that Hannaford had violated their agreement and filed an injunction against Hannaford Aircraft, which was settled out of court. By 1955, plans marketed as Hannaford Bee Model D-1, but in fact copies of the Rose Parrakeet plans were sold for $85 by Hannaford Aircraft Company.

"Foster Hannaford also collected Medieval manuscripts. In 2002, Ogden Hannaford and other heirs of Foster Hannaford of Winnetka, Illinois, gave to the Oberlin College Library a complete medieval manuscript in original bindings, a 15th century missal of German origin that contains a full set of liturgical calendars and extensive hand coloring.

"There is a Foster Hannaford Recognition Award for distinguished service at the North Shore Country Day School of Winnetka, Illinois. Alice Ide Hannaford was a correspondent with Booker T. Washington. R. Ogden Hannaford was a son of and Priscilla Hannaford Greeley, Taylor Hannaford Churchill, and Charlotte Hannaford Drake were daughters of Foster Hannaford and Alice Ide Hannaford. Mary Eva Gay Hannaford (1916-1999,) the daughter of Edward Elias Gay and Etta Deen Wright Gay, was born in Springdale, Arkansas, was the wife of Foster Hannaford, Jr., and died in Kankakee, Illinois. The last sale of this property was in 1993 and the sale price was $276,000. The current owners of record of the property are ...."

To continue, NC11Y remained with Hannaford until 1971, when it was acquired by the Experimental Aircraft Association, Hales Corners, WI.  In 1975 it was completely rebuilt and refinished in TWA livery by the TWA Technical Services Center, Kansas City, MO.

It was presented to the National Air & Space Museum (NASM) and hung in the Hall of Flight in 1976.  It is there today, and you can see images of NC11Y here.  An article describing the restoration at NASM is at the link.


UPLOADED: 06/25/06 REVISED: 11/06/07, 01/27/09

The Register
I'm looking for photographs (not from the NASM) of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Tim Kalina, friend of dmairfield.org, provided the image at left, 06/19/07.


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, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.



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