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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.


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TRAVEL AIR A-6000-A NC9015

Registration Number NC9015

Tail Surfaces

Beery, left, & Travel Air

This airplane is a Travel Air Model A-6000-A, manufacturer’s serial number 816. It was manufactured February 10, 1928 by the Travel Air Manufacturing Company, Inc., Wichita, KS. It came from the factory with a 425 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, S/N 913. The six-place airplane weighed 5,250 pounds.

The number 9015 was temporarily assigned until ATC # 116 was awarded in March, 1929. This called for larger tail surfaces, which were installed at the factory, inspected and approved on March 22, 1929. The airplane was purchased on December 12, 1928 “for pleasure” by movie actor Wallace Beery of 921 Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, CA for $18,500. This image, right, shows Beery, left, in 1928 with Walter Beech with the new Travel Air.

Now comes 9015 to Tucson on December 18, 1928 piloted by Mr. Beery (transport license #3298). He carried George Maves as passenger. They were westbound from Wichita, KS to Los Angeles, CA during what was undoubtedly the first flight of this new airplane from the factory to its new home on the west coast.

The second visit to Tucson comes a few months later on March 14, 1929. The airplane was again piloted by Mr. Beery carrying a full load of five unidentified passengers from Los Angeles to El Paso, TX.

A year later, on March 25, 1930 at Alhambra, CA, pilot George H. Maves (transport license #3844; the passenger signed in with Beery, see above) crashed with the airplane. Maves and two passengers, his wife Cynthia D. Maves and fellow pilot Lynn Hayes, were killed when the airplane, “nose-dived while attempting to land, probably failure of tail surfaces.” Beery was not in the airplane.

One contemporary news article (New York Sun March 25, 1930) states that Maves was Beery's personal pilot. But, another article (Newark Evening News March 25, 1930) has Beery stating that he was unaware that Maves had taken the plane from its hangar, stating further that Maves had been employed only to take care of the plane on the ground, and never had his permission to use the ship for personal flights.

Regardless, according to the news articles, all occupants were burned beyond recognition, and the airplane was a total washout. The registration for this two year old airplane was cancelled on 4/25/30.


UPLOADED: 08/16/05 REVISED: 03/06/06

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