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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.


The definitive reference for early Lockheed aircraft is:

Allen, Richard S. 1988. Revolution in the Sky: The Lockheeds of Aviation's Golden Age. Orion Books, NY. 253 pp.


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This airplane is a Lockheed Vega Model 1 (S/N 33; ATC #49) manufactured in January 1929 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA.  It left the factory with a Wright Whirlwind engine (S/N 9285).  It was a five-place airplane.

It landed at Tucson once on May 15, 1929 piloted by E.L. Benway.  In the Remarks column of the register, the flight was identified by Benway as a “Ferry to N.Y.”

NC32E sold on August 14, 1929 to California Aerial Transport, Inglewood, CA (Lawrence B. Talbot, President).  It was painted white with a red cross, and named the “Invalid Coach”.  It was used as an ambulance airplane. Image, below, from R.S. Allen, p. 167.  Follow this link for another image.

NC32E, ca. 1929

NC32E was the first airplane ever fitted out as an ambulance.  It was more than just the paint scheme.  It had a suspended, form-fitting bed rigged to remain level during flight.  It had a first-aid cabinet, stretchers, heat pads, blankets, sheets and pillows.  There was room to seat a doctor and nurse at the bedside.

According to the NASM record, NC32E was involved in an accident at San Bernardino, CA on July 9, 1934.  I have seen other sources that cite the crash date as September 7, 1934.  Someone got the 7/9 switched to 9/7 somewhere along the line.  I have two sources that agree on the 7/9 date.  A third source is below, from the Web, an Acme photograph via eBay. The photograph was dated July 10.

Lockheed NC32M Crash, July 9, 1934 (Source: Web)
Lockheed NC32M Crash, July 9, 1934 (Source: Web)

Below, the press caption on the back of the photograph. If there were three passengers on board, only two, plus pilot Hague, are mentioned in the caption.

Lockheed NC32M Crash, July 9, 1934 (Source: Web)
Lockheed NC32M Crash, July 9, 1934 (Source: Web)

Regardless of the date, Pilot George E. Hague and two passengers were killed and a third passenger was injured. According to a letter from Paul Mantz (United Air Services) the airplane was “…completely demolished.  Remains stored in our warehouse.”  No further information.

Below, another earlier profile of 32E shared with us by friend of, Tim Kalina. He says about this image, "Although you can't make out the registration on the rudder this is obviously NC35E. NC32E was owned by California Aerial Transport, which was based at LA Municipal Airport. The airport was originally known as Mines Field and this is the location of the attached photo."

Lockheed Vega NC32E, Mines Field, Date Unknown (Source: Kalina)
Lockheed Vega NC32E, Mines Field, Date Unknown (Source: Kalina)



UPLOADED: 04/14/06 REVISED: 01/15/11

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please click 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 a 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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