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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, while supplies last.

---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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.


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Registration Number NC5770

Where Did It Go?

This aircraft is a Thunderbird W-14, S/N 2811. The Thunderbird Aircraft Co., Glendale, CA manufactured it in May 1928. It was equipped with a 150 HP Hispano-Suiza engine, S/N 83363. It was a three-place airplane.

NC5770 was sold on 5/31/28 to General Aircraft Company, Los Angeles, CA, “For instruction flights”. General was the Thunderbird distributor for the state of California and operated the Thunderbird School of Aviation (“Wings of the Wind”).

We find 5770 at Tucson Thursday September 27, 1928 flown by Jay Talbot. He carried two passengers R.L. Smith and Bill Robinson. They were southbound from Los Angeles, CA to Guadalajara, Mexico. No purpose was given for the trip.

The airplane was reported sold for cash in October 1928 to R.L. Smith (our passenger during the landing in September) of Calexico, CA, however no bill of sale or transfer papers, and no application for license or registration were submitted. Official mail to Smith was returned “unknown”.

In November 1928, inspector Parkin in Los Angeles was unable to locate the airplane and was told by the D.O.C. in May 1929 to ground it if found. A 5/21/29 letter to General Aircraft Co. regarding this airplane was returned by the post office as “unclaimed” and the registration was cancelled as of 5/21. No further information. One possibility might be that Smith remained with it in Mexico, or sold it in Mexico without an export permit.


Although it is not known if this airplane is still in existence, its sister ship, NC5830, s/n 2812, is and it has an interesting story.  It was used by Roscoe Turner to test a whole airplane parachute and he rode it to the ground.  It is now beautifully restored and flying, below. It still has the bent seat tube from the parachute episode.

Thunderbird NC5830 (Source: Web)

Below, it sits on display at the Eagle Meres Museum in Pennsylvania. Thanks to a site visitor for sharing the link, which exhibits over 400 Golden Age craft, including a few images of NC5830.

Thunderbird NC5830 (Source: Web)
Thunderbird NC5830 (Source: Web)



UPLOADED: 6/27/05 REVISED: 12/3/08, 04/19/18

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.


An image of a Thunderbird W-14 is available here.


Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.



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