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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.


C.W. Gilpin is cited on pp. 125 & 203 in Ruth M. Reinhold's 1982 book entitled, "Sky Pioneering: Arizona in Aviation History" (University of Arizona Press, Tucson. ISBN 0-8165-0737-6).


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.


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Registration Number NC9114


This aircraft is a Fairchild 71, S/N 628 (ATC #89), manufactured in April 1929 by Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corp., Farmingdale, NY. It left the factory with a 410 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, S/N 1042 as a seven-place airplane. It weighed 5,500 pounds.

It sold on May 7, 1929 for $17,010 (less 10% fleet owner’s discount) to Pickwick Airways, Inc., Los Angeles, CA (Tom Morgan, husband of Mildred Morgan, was VP and General Manager of Pickwick). The airplane was, “to be used for air transport and charter flights.”

The airplane was flown NY-LA for a delivery charge of $700. It is during this flight, on May 6, 1929, we find this new airplane at Tucson. It was piloted by Grant Demtas, carrying two unidentified passengers. The NASM record states the airplane had accumulated 35:40 flight hours as of May 9, 1929.

Pickwick sold the airplane on August 26, 1931 to C.W. Gilpin of Glendale, CA. Gilpin was a frequent visitor to Tucson (11 landings between 1926 and 1929). He was inspected frequently by the Border Patrol. Gilpin and NC9114 were frequently signed in the Grand Central Air Terminal Register (GCAT) at Glendale. Please direct your browser to the GCAT link for further information.

The airplane was well-used. It went through seven owners between 1931 and 1937, and accumulated over 3,000 flight hours. It moved around between owners in California, finally living in Alaska for the last four years of its life, suffering five accidents there. Below, we see the airplane after one of its Alaska accidents. It appears to still carry the remnants of the Pickwick Airways, or Gilpin Airlines logo on the rear fuselage.

Fairchild NC9114, October, 1935
Fairchild NC9114, October, 1935

Photograph donor T.C. Howard says about the image, "My mother, Hazel Howard, had written on the back of the photo 'This is John Littley's plane that was forced down recently when taking off from the island.  The landing equipment was all that was damaged on the plane.'"

Further, he states, "The island she was talking about was the landing strip which was an island at low tide.  The photo was taken by Rev. Ferdinand Drebert, a Moravian minister in Bethel.  My dad, Clif Howard was the Alaska Communications System radio operator in Bethel.  John Littley died 8 Jan 2004 in Vancouver, Washington at the age of 100."

Finally, on July 29, 1937, NC9114 was involved in an accident at Egigok, AK. Pilot John H. Littley and three passengers were injured. Littley was cited in violation, he “demonstrated carelessness and incompetency” and his license was suspended for six months. The airplane was not re-approved for flight and the registration was cancelled August 28, 1938.

Added 02/08/10 Shared by site visitor M.H., another clear image (# A8255) of the airplane, in what looks to be the same livery as above, is at this link for the Pomona (CA) Public Library. It shows NC9114 at the "airport" at the Death Valley National Monument. The date is identified as 1934. The people in the photograph are unidentified.

The date, however, may be a little earlier, between August, 1931 when Gilpin operated it, and 1933 when it transferred to Alaska. Corroborating that, the uniformed gentleman standing next to the fuselage behind the starboard wing struts looks a lot like C.W. Gilpin (please direct your browser to his biography link above, and to the The Charles W. "Bill" Gilpin Image and Document Collection to find other photos of Gilpin for comparison). The uniformed gentleman on the right could be Gilpin pilot George Farnham. Upon magnification, the image blurs, so it is difficult positively to identify either of them.

There are several children looking on, at least one of whom has bare feet. One holds a small dog. From the length of the shadows, this photo was taken either early or late in the day. Luggage is either being loaded or unloaded. Note the characteristic oil streaks on the cowl just behind the engine.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 08/16/05 REVISED: 03/10/08, 02/08/10, 01/04/15

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.
The image, left, is by Rev. Ferdinand Drebert from the collection of Terris C. Howard. Mr. Howard is currently in charge of restoring UAL N7001U, the first Boeing 727-100 built.
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