The Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register

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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.


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

An image of this aircraft is on page 172 of the Allen reference.


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LOCKHEED VEGA Air Express 3 NC522K

LOCKHEED VEGA Air Express 3 NC522K


This airplane is a Lockheed Vega Air Express 3 (S/N 92; ATC #102) manufactured during August 27, 1929 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA.  It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 2256) of 450 HP.  It was a five- or seven-place airplane, weighing 4,375 pounds.  It was painted white with red and blue trim.

We find NC522K landing at Tucson on March 30, 1930 flown by Wiley Post.  He carried as passenger Jerry Vultee, who was a primary designer of the Vega model at Lockheed.  Based in Burbank, CA, they were eastbound from Burbank to El Paso, TX.

NC522K was sold on November 3, 1930 to Reginald L. Brooks, New York, NY.  Brooks sold it on January 22, 1932 to Edmond Guggenheim of New York, who, a week later, sold it to Marron Price Guggenheim on February 1, 1932.  There is nothing in the NASM record of what the Guggenheims did with the airplane.

Next, on October 14, 1932, the airplane sold to Dr. Daniel A Poling of New York.  The airplane was flown for Poling by Russell W. Thaw (who had also been the pilot for the Guggenheims).  It was named “Raymond Robins” in honor of Poling’s associate in the Allied Forces for Prohibition movement.

Poling and Thaw made an extensive campaign tour for the candidacy of President Herbert Hoover in 1932.  It suffered minor damage when the airplane taxied into a hole at Helena, MT.  We are fairly certain that the pilot was not drinking!

Below, a signed photo of Register pilot Hugh Herndon, Jr. in the cockpit of 522K. The cockpit geometry and the nature of the "parasol" wing of this Vega model are clearly shown. The Cities Service logo on the fuselage dates this photograph sometime between February 16 and April 27, 1934 (see below).

Lockheed Vega Air Express NC522K, Hugh Herndon in Cockpit (Source: Copeland)
Lockheed Vega Air Express NC522K, Hugh Herndon in Cockpit (Source: Copeland)

Below, another photograph of Herndon with the airplane, probably taken during the same time frame. It is unknown what the person head-down in the cockpit is doing on this blustery day.

Lockheed Vega Air Express NC522K, Hugh Herndon in Front (Source: Russell)
Lockheed Vega Air Express NC522K, Hugh Herndon in Front (Source: Russell)

On February 16, 1934 the airplane was sold to Swiflight Aircraft Corporation, Jersey City, NJ.  Swiflight was associated with Cities Service Oil Company.  A couple of months later, on April 27, 1934, the airplane was demolished near Palmetto, GA.  Pilot Hugh Herndon and mechanic Ed Sherman left the airplane via parachute after they ran into bad weather.  Hugh Herndon, Jr. signed our Register on December 6, 1929.  Herndon was a New York socialite, who, with Clyde Pangborn, was first to fly a plane across the Pacific Ocean nonstop, October 3, 1931.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/02/06 REVISED: 02/20/09, 03/03/10

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 use this FORM to contact me.

The signed photograph of Hugh Herndon in NC522K is shared with us by Bill Copeland.

The photo of Herndon standing in front of NC522K is shared with us by Joel Russell. Thanks to Bill and Joel.

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