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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.


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.

And from R.S. Allen's "Revolution in the Sky". 1988 (revised). Orion Books. New York. p. 225.


Another image of this airplane in Alaska is available here.


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Registration Number NC162W

Five Strikes; You’re Out

This airplane is a Lockheed Vega 5B, S/N 128 (ATC 227) manufactured July, 1930 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA.  It came with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 3200) of 450HP.  It was a seven-place aircraft.  It was named “Shell No. 6.”

The airplane sold on September 8, 1930 to William H. Dunning of Beverly Hills, CA.  Dunning was president of Sequoia Oil Company, Fort Worth, TX.  The airplane was equipped with a NACA cowl and wheel pants.

We find NC162W at Tucson the first time on September 12, 1930 piloted by L.B. Andrews carrying new owner William H. Dunning as passenger.  They were inbound from Los Angeles, no doubt ferrying this bright new airplane to Texas.

At some time during 1930-31 the windows were blocked out and the airplane bore the legend ”Air Express & Trading Co.”  The airplane visited Tucson three more times in this livery (12/20/30, 12/1/31, 8/5/1932), each time piloted by Edward F. Booth.  He carried Mr. Dunning on the first visit; solo the second visit; three passengers third visit.  Their itineraries shuttled between California and Texas. 

Between October, 1932 and June, 1933 the airplane changed hands three times, finally winding up with the Shell Aviation Company, Ltd. in San Francisco on June 21, 1933.  On November 11, 1933 it suffered its first accident at Pasco, WA.  The pilot was injured and the airplane “Practically washed out.”

It was purchased by Charles H. Babb of Burbank, CA on July 9, 1934 and repaired by Timm Aircraft Co. with a new fuselage, “shell and rings”, motor mount and landing gear repair.

With no indication of how it was used for the next six-months, Babb sold it to H.C. Lippiatt of Burbank on January 30, 1935.  It was sold “as is” with factory parts and the original P&W engine, S/N 3200.

Lippiatt sold it on September 19, 1935 to Hans Mirow of Nome, AK to be flown on skis for charter work in Alaska.  It suffered its second accident at Nome on April 28, 1936.  It was completely rebuilt by Northwest Air Service at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA as of August 1936. Below, courtesy of Guest Editor Bob Woodling, is a photograph of NC162W in Mirow Air Service livery, on skis, presumably in Alaska. The small caption at the bottom of the photo states that mail is being offloaded from the airplane into a 1935 Nash.

NC162W in Mirow Livery, Ca. 1935, Alaska (Source: Woodling)
NC162W in Mirow Livery, Ca. 1935, Alaska (Source: Woodling)

Mr. Mirow died in 1940 and the aircraft was licensed in the name of Mirow Air Service, Madeline Mirow, Executor, Nome, AK.  It suffered its third accident on April 16, 1940 at Anchorage, AK.  It struck a 6-inch diameter pole with the left main landing gear.  The gear was damaged and the airplane ground looped, wrecking the gear and fuselage.  It still had the P&W S/N 3200 Wasp engine installed.  It was repaired again by Northwest Air Service of Seattle as of November 8, 1940. Image, below, of the airplane in Mirow livery after the accident. We see the effects on the left main gear of the pole.

Lockheed Vega NC162W
Lockheed Vega NC162W

NC162W sold on June 15, 1942 to Alaska Star Airlines in Anchorage.  The total time as of this sale was 1,657 hours.  It suffered its fourth accident with only minor damage on November 28, 1943 at Kotzebue, AK. Below, an image of NC162W in Alaska Star livery. We can deduce that the image was made, against a magnificent Alaska skyline, sometime between June 1942 and May 1944.

Lockheed Vega NC162W in Alaska Star Airlines Livery
NC162W in Alaska Star Livery

It transferred finally on May 26, 1944 to Alaska Airlines of Anchorage.  On August 2, 1944 it suffered engine failure leading to its fifth accident on the south fork of the Kuskokwin River, AK. Pilot and four passengers escaped with injuries.  It landed on a 300 foot by 75 foot sand bar covered with ten foot willows.  It entered the willows, which, “…kicked the plane fully broadside, collapsed gear and threw the engine to one side.”  The cockpit was enveloped in flames and the airplane was completely destroyed by fire.  Notice of cancellation of its registration cancellation was dated March 1, 1948 in the airplane's FAA record. No further information.


Below, three additional COLOR images of NC162W during its service in Alaska. It is very unusual to find images of our Davis-Monthan Register aircraft rendered in color! These images were probably taken in the early-mid 1940s.

Lockheed Vega NC162W
Lockheed Vega NC162W

Below, the big red Travel Air transport, NC615K, left, is not found in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. NC162W is on the right.

Lockheed Vega NC162W
Lockheed Vega NC162W


Lockheed Vega NC162W, Left
Lockheed Vega NC162W


UPLOADED: 03/09/06 REVISED: 02/22/07, 10/30/07, 11/17/08, 03/03/14

The Register

Images on this page from Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry archives, William Fike collection, via Lars Opland. Exhibited for you with permission.

If you have other information or images of NC162W you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

---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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