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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.


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.

---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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Proud Airliner Turned Proud Teacher

This Lockheed is a Vega DL-1B manufactured June 1930 by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, Detroit, MI (fuselage and final assembly) and Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (wing and other components). Although the NASM data card says the airplane was manufactured in June, the dataplate below is stamped 5/16/30. As a seven-place aircraft, it bore S/N 137 (ATC #308). It came from the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine of 450HP; gross weight 4,270 pounds.

Below, an image of the data plate for this airplane offered to us by site visitor Chris Johnson. The dataplate is a legal requirement and must stay affixed to the aircraft for its life.

Data Plate for NC288W
NC288 dataplate

NC288W was transferred to the Detroit Aircraft Corporation in 1930. It was the third metal (duraluminum) fuselage Vega, flown as a demonstrator by Detroit Aircraft. It arrived at Tucson piloted by Vance Breese on February 27, 1931. Breese at the time was assistant to the president of the company, supervising design, engineering and sales.

Later in 1931 it was under lease to Pittsburgh Airways, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA. It was repossessed by Detroit Aircraft on November 13, 1931, then sold on March 29, 1932 to Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., Kansas City, MO. It was identified with "TWA #254" painted on its fuselage, and flew on TWA routes during 1932-33.

NC288W in Hanford Airlines Livery, Ca. 1934 (Source: Green)


Postcard, Ca. 1930s, Omaha Municipal Airport (Source: Budka)

TWA sold it to Hanford's Tri-State Airlines, Inc., Sioux City, IA in 1934. It flew Hanford's routes 1934-35. Above, courtesy of site visitor Stephen Green, is a starboard profile of NC288W when it was flown by Hanford Airlines.

The location of this photograph is the Omaha Municipal Airport. At right, courtesy of site visitor Mark Budka, a period postcard of the airport showing about the same perspective view of the building and the rotating beacon tower beyond. A Boeing 247 stands in front.

Hanford sold it to Varney Air Transport, Inc. (VAT), El Paso, TX. Image below, shared by friend of Tim Kalina, shows 288W in Varney Air Transport livery. The caption states the airplane ran the route from Pueblo, CO to El Paso, TX.

Lockheed Vega NC288W, 1934 in VAT Livery
Lockheed Vega NC288W, 1934 in VAT Livery

VAT transferred NC288W to Continental Air Lines, Inc., Denver, CO in 1937 and it flew Continental's routes 1937-41. Continental sold it to Jerome Martin of El Paso, TX in 1941.

There is no record of maintenance during these years, or of use or maintenance during the WWII years. It was sold finally in 1948 to the New Mexico Board of Education, Las Cruces, NM. It was used for vocational education, dismantled and scrapped. We can visualize one of the last students removing the data plate and keeping it as a class souvenir!


UPLOADED: 03/10/06 REVISED: 11/20/06, 02/01/08, 07/28/11, 10/18/11, 02/02/12

The Register
I'm looking for images of NC288W. If you can help, please contact me through this FORM.
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