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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.

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Registration Number NC5278

A Nice Way of Saying It: This Is An Airplane With A Very Curious History

This aircraft is recorded in NASM records as a Warren & Montijo monoplane, S/N W.M.1. It was manufactured in April 1928 by H.P. “Glen” Warren & John G. Montijo, San Luis Obispo, CA, as a class project at California Polytechnic College under the instruction of Warren and Montijo. There was no ATC # assigned (i.e. it was not certified by the CAA).

It was constructed with steel tubing fuselage and tail group, and spruce and Haskelite wings. Haskelite was a brand of molded plywood. It left the school/factory with a 260 HP Salmson (Menasco) 9-cylinder 92M air-cooled engine. In what has to be a mistake of record transcription, the empty weight is given as 3,032 pounds and gross weight of 3,355 pounds, leaving a useful load of 323 pounds. This is probably an error, as the airplane was billed as carrying two pilots and four passengers, as well as, hopefully, some fuel.

On August 1, 1928 this airplane sold to C.B. Bellows, a Dodge automobile dealer, of Long Beach, CA. The bill of sale called the airplane a “Glenmont Landau Sedan” (Glenmont undoubtedly being a combination of Glen Warren and John Montijo’s names). Bellows stated that he preferred the name “Belmont” and the name was changed on August 29, 1928. This is why the airplane was identified as a Belmont in the Register. Further, on November 23, 1928 Mr. Montijo summitted an application to register “Belmont Cabin Monoplane C/N M-1”. He had lowered the first station at the rear of the engine to improve frontal visibility. The total time on the aircraft to that date was 44 hours. No bill of sale was generated, leading the CAA to question the application.

Montijo explained, “Bellow still retains sole ownership of the Belmont M-1. The plane was designed and built by me. I engaged Mr. W.T. Waterhouse to figure the stress analysis for it before the plane was sold to Mr. Bellows (stress analysis recently sent to D.O.C.).” Further, he said he was building more planes, desired approval of this model only, and that future planes will be slightly changed in design and a new complete set of drawings will be sent by Waterhouse for approval.

Near this time, on March 10, 1929, NC5278 landed at Tucson piloted by Mr. Montijo. He carried three unidentified passengers, arriving from Phoenix and returning to Phoenix.

The airplane was sold, less engine, three months later, on June 26, 1929, to J.G. Melson of Los Angeles, CA. The airplane was still located in the Bellows hangar at Long Beach Municipal Airport. On August 12, 1929, Melson reported that the sale was, “not consummated and in litigation due to misrepresentations.” No bill of sale was submitted.

Assuming the owner still to be Bellow, the airplane was sold on July 16, 1932 to Monty G. Mason of Los Angeles. Record says, “airplane is of a blue and silver color, but at the time (of sale) has, at the instigation of the buyer been painted by the Arborgast Aero Service to green and gold.”

Then, in a series of confusing transfers, the airplane, Belmont S/N W.M.-1, registration 5278, was rebuilt and emerged as a Mason Greater Meteor, S/N M-200. It was identified as having the, “same wing and remodeled fuselage with different motor”, and said to have been “manufactured” as a single-seat aircraft by Mason Aircraft Co. as of November 23, 1933 with a 420 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine S/N354 and 348 gallons fuel capacity. It had a, “broadcasting booth and refueling equipment” in the passenger compartment (six tanks). Mason requested a restricted or “R” registration on February 27, 1934, and designated it for a, “non-stop refueling endurance distance flight.”

NR5278, ca. April 1934 (Source: Mason)

On April 29, 1934, the aircraft was in an accident at Long Beach. Damages were not stated in the NASM record, but the image above, courtesy of Dave Mason, is self-explanatory. Note the plumbing array on top of the wing to support the aerial refueling operation. You can see a rounded hatch behind the rearward- facing intake nozzle where an assistant probably stood to grapple with a wind-whipped refueler hose from an aircraft flying close overhead. The six down pipes probably fed the six fuel tanks individually. What a way to make a living!

Below is a detail fo the graphic on the side of the fuselage. It reads, "WORLD'S FIRST AERIAL BROADCASTING STATION". Below the logo is "Pride of Hollywood".

Detail of Fuselage Side (Source: Mason)

The NASM record goes on to say that a memorandum dated May 8, 1934 states that reports of spectators and inspectors indicate that the accident was due to the flying ability of Mason. Mason’s own report suggests the possibility that the ship was not airworthy in terms of stability as apparently the center of gravity was out of line (statement: “At about 50 feet a terrific oscillation was set up in the tail section and….had a tendency to corkscrew. At about 500’ I made a right turn…still maintaining complete left rudder and left aileron to avert a power spin.” Mason was cited on May 10, 1934 in violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations (carrying a passenger in a NR, "Restricted" licensed airplane). His transport pilot’s license (#29953) was suspended for 60 days.

The registration was cancelled on July 18, 1934. Title passed on July 18, 1934 to W.O. Buchanan, a mechanic, A&E #12539. The aircraft remained in hangar 15 at the Long Beach airport at least until October, 1935. No further information.

You will note at this link to, that Mr. Mason submitted the information above for posting on aerofiles in 2007.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/05 REVISED: 12/11/06, 06/11/10

The Register

The images on this page come to us courtesy of Dave Mason, whose father took them in 1934.

You may see other images of classic air race aircraft that his father took at Dave's excellent Web site.

Some of the images feature pilots of the Davis-Monthan Register, such as Pancho Barnes, Ruth Nichols, Roy Minor and others.

Thanks for your help, Dave!!

I'm still looking for an image of the airplane before it was wrecked. If you can help, click here.

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