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Some of 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.


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Registration Number NC4563

“Too damn hot!”

San Antonio (TX) Light, November 2, 1928 (Source: Woodling)
San Antonio (TX) Light, November 2, 1928 (Source: Woodling)


This aircraft is a Ryan B-1 Brougham, S/N 77 (ATC 25). It shares lineage with the “Spirit of St. Louis”, but was built during the following year. The B.F. Mahoney Aircraft Co., San Diego, CA manufactured it on March 6, 1928. It was equipped with a 220 HP Wright J-5C engine, S/N 8291. It weighed 3,300 pounds.

NC4563 was sold to Mission Airplane Services of San Antonio,TX on April 18, 1928. Mission turned it over to Homer D. Ballard of San Antonio on May 26, 1928. The airplane landed at Tucson Saturday, May 26, 1928 piloted by Matthew Watson. Mr. Ballard and two others were passengers. They were on their way from San Antonio to San Diego. The pilot wrote in the remarks column, “Too damn hot!” (and this was May; just wait until July and August!)

Ballard was President (?) of Sunbeam Air Transport Co. of Denver, CO. The advertisement, right, from the San Antonio (TX) Light of November 2, 1928 describes part of Sunbeam's business of offering scenic rides to the public. Note mention of both Sunbeam and Mission companies at the bottom of the advertisement.

NC4563 was flown hard, as it was recorded as having 420 flight hours on August 15, 1928. Mr. Ballard died on December 1, 1928 in an accident with Ford NC7862 (not a Register airplane) at Spur, TX. The record for NC4563, not surprisingly, does not indicate if he was flying in the Ford, or collided with it in another aircraft. However, you will find out at pilot Watson's Web page that Watson was flying the Ford and that Watson and several other passengers besides Ballard were killed in the post-crash fire.

Nonetheless, on December 9, 1928, the Ryan NC4563 was sold by Mrs. Sarah Ballard (probably as a partial dissolution of owner Ballard's estate) to Joe Schalz of Brewster, KS for $5,600.

NC4563 sold again on June 4, 1929 to Winstead Brothers Airplane Co. of Wichita, KS. The airplane was re-covered and Friese-type ailerons installed and approved on May 31, 1930. The registration was cancelled upon its expiration on June 1, 1931, with no further information available on the final disposition of the airframe.

Below, courtesy of Mr. Woodling (cited, right sidebar), are photographs of the airplane found at the Denver Public Library (DPL). The first shows it being fueled from an underground gas pit. It is in Sunbeam livery. The airplane in the background is the Ford Trimotor NC5093 (not a Register airplane) probably belonging to Rapid Air Lines, Rapid Cit, SD.

Ryan NC4563 Being Fueled, Date &I Location Unknown (Source: DPL via Woodling)
Ryan NC4563 Being Fueled, Date &I Location Unknown (Source: DPL via Woodling)

The second view shows a crowd of people gathered around the airplane outside a Denver hangar. The weather is cool with a slight breeze. Other photos from DPL suggest this was the airplane's christening and the woman 5th from the right was the one who broke the bottle over what looked like one of the engine rocker covers. The rest of the people were unidentified.

Ryan NC4563 With Unidentified People, Date &I Location Unknown (Source: DPL via Woodling)
Ryan NC4563 With Unidentified People, Date &I Location Unknown (Source: DPL via Woodling)

Note the deep ruts in the soil, probably from the airplane tail skids.


UPLOADED: 6/20/05 REVISED: 2/24/13

The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs 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.

Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.

---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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