Boeing Model 40-B-4 NC843M
This airplane is a Boeing Model 40-B-4 (S/N 1169; ATC #183),
manufactured in February 1930 by the Boeing Airplane Company,
Seattle, WA. It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney
Hornet CA engine (S/N 430) of 525 HP. It was a large, five-place
airplane, weighing 6,075 pounds. The pilot sat in the
Unlike its sister ship NC842M, which was used as a company
demonstrator, this airplane was sold directly on February
6, 1930 to Western Air Express (W.A.E.), Los
Angeles, CA. It
wore the title, “W.A.E. #55”. Below, courtesy of Tim Kalina, is an image of 843M in W.A.E. livery.
Boeing Model 40-B-4, Circa 1930, Location Unknown
February 2, 1931, Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT)(Source: Woodling)
We find NC843M at Tucson on February 12, 1930 flown solo
by Erik Nelson. He is eastbound from San
Diego, CA to St. Louis, MO. There is no clue in the Register or in the NASM record as to why he would
be flying a new W.A.E. airplane to St. Louis, unless it was a delivery flight.
There is scant information about this airplane in
the NASM records. It was flight-tested by Boeing pilot
E.T. Allen, then ferried south from Seattle to Oakland,
CA by Grover Tyler (neither Allen nor Tyler were Register pilots).
There is record at the NASM of a “minor
accident,” but no dates or details. We know the airplane was involved in a crash with another mail plane at Salt Lake City, UT about a year after delivery to W.A.E. The article, right, from the Ogden Standard-Examiner, February 2, 1931, describes the circumstances. None of the pilots listed were signers of any Registers. Other news reports stated there were no passengers in either plane, and that the pilots calmly transferred their mail to other aircraft and went on their respective ways.
Photographs of the aftermath of the crash are below from the Utah Departent of Heritage & Art (UDHA), Shipler Collection Negative Preservation Project, via Bob Woodling. This does not appear to be a "minor accident." Rather, substantial damage was suffered by both aircraft.
The first image shows NC843M in juxtaposition with another Boeing, probably soon after the collision. The other Boeing was a model 80A trimotor, NC227M, S/N 1085 (not a Register airplane). Note the snow on the ground, as well as the poor visibility.
NC843M (L) and NC227M, February 1931 (Source: UDHA via Woodling)
The second photograph is a close-up of the damage to the trimotor. That they struck each other's starboard wings rather than head-on is fortunate. Curiously, there was no fire. The wings of both aircraft undoubtedly contained fuel.
Boeing 80A NC227M, February 1931 (Source: UDHA via Woodling)
The last image shows NC843M being towed backwards away from the scene. The wreckage of the starboard wings is evident, as is damage to the propeller.
Boeing NC843M, February 1931 (Source: UDHA via Woodling)
Pilot Tyler ferried another Register Boeing to its new owners, NC178E. With thanks to his grandson, we know quite a bit about Grover Tyler, which is presented at the link for 178E. If you know
more about NC843M, please let me KNOW.
UPLOADED: 03/28/06 REVISED: 10/13/07, 07/31/08, 05/09/11, 06/03/19