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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.

Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
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Fokker F-10A NC800E

Wings Sawed In Three Places

This aircraft was a Fokker F-10A tri-motor, (S/N 1029; ATC# 96), manufactured during May 1929 by the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America, New York, NY.  It left the factory with three Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines (S/N 961; 991; 992) of 410 HP each.  It sold on May 7, 1929 to Universal Aviation Corporation, St. Louis, MO.  The airplane was based in Chicago

Now begins a lesson in Golden Age air transport companies and mergers.  About a year after its initial sale, NC800E was sold, on March 31, 1930, to Central Air Lines, Inc., Fort Worth, TX (a division of Southern Air Transport).  It stayed with Central for about nine months before being transferred to Southern Air Fast Express, Inc., Love Field, Dallas, TX (it was owned and operated by Southern Transcontinental Airways, Inc.).  On August 5, 1931 it was sold to American Airways, Love Field, Dallas, TX.  The NASM record has no information on the use or scheduling of NC800E by these air lines.

While under American ownership and operation, we find NC800E at Tucson on December 16, 1931, flown by Ted Lewis carrying two passengers, F.S. and Marie Davis.  Based in Phoenix, AZ they were headed for Phoenix from Tucson.  They did not cite their point of origin.  Two passengers in this large tri-motor aircraft might be dim testimony to American Airways’ passenger loads two years into the Great Depression (but, see below). Please follow this link to see two images of this airplane on the ground at Tucson, probably on December 16, 1931.

File this under conjecture, but below is an image provided us by dmairfield friend Tim Kalina. And below that is the annotation written on the back of the photograph. The photograph was taken at Tucson. We wonder if the date is December 16th, and if this Fokker is 800E. Follow our logic...

Fokker Trimotor (NC800E?) At Tucson
Fokker Trimotor (NC800E?) At Tucson

I checked my database that drives this site (and see Register page 178) and the only Fokker trimotor landing on the same day as military planes was December 16, 1931 when NC800E landed with four Army Douglas BT-2Bs.  The military planes look a lot like BT-2Bs in this photo.  The times of arrival are listed in the Register, but not departures, for both the Fokker and the Douglas aircraft.  

From the timing, they could have overlapped on the ground at Tucson. The Fokker landed about 8AM. The army planes arrived about noon, which about agrees with the shadows on the ground. Although it looks like the photographer only captured two of the Army planes, upon close inspection of the photo there are two aircraft just below the horizon to the far right of the photo. So we could have here the transport plane departing noonish to the north, while the Army planes are just arriving, with the first pair at the flight line, and the second pair just taxiing in.

Fokker Trimotor (NC800E?) At Tucson, Annotation
Fokker Trimotor (NC800E?) At Tucson

Further, with a lupe Mr. Kalina can discern the AA logo on the side of the Fokker fuselage. Another bit of information is that pilot Lewis cited his destination as Phoenix, agreeing with the photo annotation. Further, the two images of the airplane at the link above were taken about the same time of day, judging from the shadows. And the dress - men carrying topcoats - is appropriate for December in Tucson (as is the dress for the flight line crew near the Army planes in the photo above). The man and woman standing next to the entry door at the link very well could be passengers Mr. & Mrs. Davis. The other four men may be passengers embarking from Tucson to Phoenix. End conjecture; draw your own conclusions.

On October 25, 1932, American Airways advised the CAA by letter that NC800E had been dismantled, with the wing “sawed in three places.”  No further information.

UPLOADED: 07/07/06 REVISED: 10/05/09

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