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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.


You may see an image of this airplane here on this site. Another is on the Web, here.


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Registration Number NC5877

A 1928 Ford Reliability Tour Airplane

Here we have what may be an interesting curiosity in record keeping. Although NC5877 was a valid competitor in the 1928 Ford Reliability Tour, the evidence of who was flying it (as recorded in the airfield Register) runs counter to the official record. For comparison, see NC5878, and refer to page 48 of the Register.

Our aircraft was a Monocoupe, S/N 57 (ATC #22) built in 1928 (date unknown) by the Mono-Aircraft Co. of Moline, IL. It came equipped with a 45 HP Velie engine, S/N 128. As a two-seater, it weighed 1,350 pounds.

It sold on June 25, 1928 to Atkinson Aviation Company, Gary, IN and immediately participated in the Ford Reliability Tour of 1928 (June 30-July 28, 1928). According to the NASM record for this airplane, it was SUPPOSED to have been piloted by Lloyd H. “Jack” Atkinson. See the page for NC5878 for an exposition of the data surrounding who was flying 5877 and 5878.

Its pilot is clearly identified in the Register not as Atkinson, but as Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, an aggressive race competitor of the 20s and 30s. She landed solo with the airplane wearing Tour #29. The 1928 Reliability Tour passed through Tucson. It was during the tour, on July 10, 1928, that NC5877 touched down amid the flurry of other tour participants that landed late in the morning (look at the bottom of this page 46 to get a feel for the energy of that morning).

Follow this link for information on the Ford Tours. Follow the choices on the home page to read the book titled THE FORD AIR TOURS: 1925-1931 by Leslie Forden. You can see a photo of Phoebe Omlie in the group photo on page 83 in chapter 4. She’s #5 in the photo. You can also see Jack Atkinson. He’s #24 in the photo.

As for NC5877, after the Tour it was re-covered (in October 1928), and new landing gear, wheels, tires and upholstery were installed by the factory. Atkinson Aviation Company went bankrupt in April 1929 and the airplane was sold June 7, 1929 to Greer Airways in Chicago for $825 “and all assets”, which included a Velie/Lambert engine S/N 467.

Through 1936 the airplane changed hands eight more times, living mostly in the upper midwest. Finally, it was purchased on December 7, 1936 by Cleon Eldridge Hodges of Webb City, MO. Hodges was a student pilot with an attitude. On December 27, 1936 he crashed the Monocoupe in Joplin, MO. His student pilot license was revoked on the spot for one year for, “low flying, aerobatics over crowds, no parachute.” The registration was cancelled as of December 27, 1936.


Dossier 3.1.28


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. 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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