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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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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This airplane is a Hamilton Metalplane H-21 (S/N 43; later conforming to ATC # 85) manufactured on May 15, 1928 by the Hamilton Metalplane Company, Milwaukee, WI. It came from the factory with a Pratt & Whitney engine (S/N 694) of 400 HP.  It was a five-place airplane.

It sold on July 17, 1928 to Scenic Airways of Chicago, IL for $25,000. Register pilot J. Parker Van Zandt was the founder of the company. We find NC5562 at Tucson once on October 30, 1928 flown by P.D. Lucas carrying Mrs. Lucas as his single passenger.  The are based in Albuquerque, NM and arrived in Tucson from El Paso, TX.  They did not cite a destination.

Below, two time-faded, sepia images of NC5562, date and location unknown, but probably late 1920s. These images are is shared with us from the collection of Hank Zaletel. Mr. Zaletel graciously states in an email to me, "Anyone may use or copy so long as I am credited." The original of the first one is 2 7/8" x 4”.

Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery (Source: Zalatel)
Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery

Below, the same photograph color-balanced and level-enhanced in Adobe PhotoShop. Numerous details show up. The gentleman standing akimbo right of center with the light-color clothing is wearing a uniform cap and may be the pilot. He may be pilot Lucas. I doubt he is Van Zandt, who also flew Scenic Airways aircraft, because Van Zandt was considerably taller.

The airplane is tied down at two wing points, and what looks like a homemade ladder stands by the starboard tiedown rope. Three children sit on the ground next to it. The starboard tire appears either to be flat, or to be submerged to the rim in soft soil. Compare it to the other tire.

Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery, Enhanced (Source: Zalatel)
Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery, Enhanced

There appear to be a couple of people standing on the far side of the airplane, and the shadow of the photographer(?) is visible, lower right. The Scenic Airways livery painted on the side of the fuselage includes a rainbow swoop, which is still part of the Grand Canyon Airlines livery seen at Van Zandt's link, above, and here on a vintage Ford trimotor. Scenic Airways became Grand Canyon Airlines in October, 1929.

Below, a second view of NC5562. It is difficult to tell if these two photos were taken on the same day, but the shadows indicate about the same time of day.

Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery (Source: Zalatel)
Hamilton Metalplane H-21, NC5562 in Scenic Airways Livery (Source: Zalatel)

NC5562 must have been flown hard, because it was returned to the factory in April, 1929, with 137 hours flight time, for a complete overhaul. A complete, new fuselage of a wider type was installed, the engine mount was moved forward four feet to correct longitudinal instability and Wasp engine S/N 740 was installed. 

It was licensed under ATC 85 as a six-place airplane, model 45, and approved on May 13, 1929.  Scenic Airways was unable to pay for repairs and the airplane was stored.  The manufacturer resumed title and it was sold on April 20, 1930 to the Boeing Airplane Company, Hamilton Metalplane Division, Milwaukee, WI.

Boeing stated its intention was to convert the engine to a Hornet model and install floats and test the airplane.  There is nothing in the NASM record to suggest this was completed.  The airplane was sold on May 8, 1930 to the Ministerio de Marina y Aviacion, Inspeccion General de Aeronautics, Lima, Peru.  It was exported to Peru.

There is one other Hamilton Metalplane, NC134E, that landed at Tucson.


UPLOADED: 04/01/06 REVISED: 03/19/09, 12/19/10

The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
Thanks to Hank Zaletel for sharing his images at left.
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