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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.


Information about NC9194 is abstracted from the official FAA registration and airworthiness files for the airplane.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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A Classic Airplane, Flown by Classic Pilots, Doing Classic Things


This airplane is a New Standard D-25, S/N 133 manufactured in July, 1929.  It was manufactured under ATC #108 by the New Standard Aircraft Corp., Patterson, NJ.  It left the factory with a Wright J-5 engine of 220HP (S/N 2237 or 9237, depending upon if you read the FAA's registration or airworthiness data). It was a 5-person airplane with a gross weight of 3,400 pounds, with a useful payload of 1,390 pounds. Below, courtesy of Steve Oliver, a photograph of NR9194 when it was young. Note the "NR" (restricted) registration. The exact date of the photograph is unknown, but the Douglas DC-n aircraft and the automobile in the background would date it at least during the mid to late 1930s.

NR9194, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Oliver)
NC9194, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Oliver)


NC9194 Vertical Stabilizer, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Vertical Stabilizer, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)

Regardless, it sold on July 12, 1929 to the Citizen's Aircraft Corp. Patterson, NJ, Hugh Herndon, Jr. President.  It was purchased expressly to act as a supply ship in an endurance attempt. A telegram filed in the airworthiness record for the airplane, dateline Roosevelt Field, August 25, 1929, reports that, "... ninety one ninety four completed refueling tests for special license." Further, the notation that the airplane carried a, "..standard oil tank. Oil to the endurance plane, 182H, to be supplied in cans". It also explains why the airplane was registered "NR." See the update of 09/28/11 below for additional information.

Indeed, according to Plehinger, NR9194 participated in the men's landplane endurance record, acting as the supply aircraft for another New Standard D-25, NR182H (named "Empire State Standard"; not a Register airplane). "Empire State Standard" was flown by Clyde Pangborn, with Carl A. Dixon as copilot. Herndon and two others managed the refueling from NR9194, which was, for the event, named "Uneedus" for obvious reasons. Alas, the flight lasted only 179 hours, 41 minutes (August 26-September 2, 1929), being forced to discontinue by a broken oil line. The record attempt was unsuccessful. See Register pilot Marjory Doig's page for a possibility related to this event.

NC9194 Engine & Propeller, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Engine & Propeller, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
Book Cover, 1978 (Source: Hammond)
Book Cover, 1978 (Source: Hammond)

NC9194 (note the "NC" registration) landed once at Tucson, about three months after the record attempt, on Friday, December 6, 1929. It was flown by Herndon carrying a passenger identified as, "1 mechanic".  They were eastbound from Calexico, CA to New York, NY. No purpose was given for his trip in this new airplane. But the book "Upside Down Pangborn," right, chapter 24, page 149 gives a clue to why Herndon was on this cross-country voyage. The link provides the relevant part of chapter 24 (PDF 1.9Mb).

Citizen’s Aircraft Corp. owned and operated the airplane through 1931.  The FAA record then includes an affidavit of public auction dated August 1931.  The airplane was auctioned by Pacific Airmotive Corporation to recoup a mechanic’s lien of $971.07.  It seems that Pacific Airmotive had performed, “Major overhaul of engine and propeller.  New fittings installed” and had not received payment for their service. The successful bidder was Palmer Nicholls (not a Register pilot). The registration was switched to his name as of August 15, 1931.

Nicholls was probably an aircraft broker, as he turned around and resold the airplane on September 16, 1931 to the Independent Crop Dusting Service, San Francisco, CA.  He turned his $971 into $1,400, making a profit of almost $500 on the deal.  Not a bad monthly wage as the Depression was deepening. The airplane had Wright J-5 S/N 9186 installed at the time of sale. Somewhere between this transaction and the next sale the registration was changed back to "NC".

The next registration document in the FAA file is dated October 8, 1931, and it describes modifications to the airframe to prepare it for crop dusting.  Its seats were removed, it was classified as a one-place airplane, a 50 gallon spray tank and spreader were installed and it was reassigned a “NR” license (restricted to crop dusting with one person aboard). A stamp on this document shows that the mechanic’s lien was released May 26, 1932.

NC9194 Starboard Fuselage, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Starboard Fuselage, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)

As of December 3, 1934, the airplane had five fuselage members replaced and the landing gear fittings rebuilt.  Eight additional fuselage braces were installed and “…reriveted all main panel points where loose.”  Wing ribs were replaced and the wings were re-covered. The tail group was, “replaced and re-covered…”.  It is not clear if this work was performed as the result of an accident, or due to wear and tear from three years of crop dusting work.

NC9194 Cockpits, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Cockpits, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)

In March 1941 the airplane was sold for $7,500 to George T. Boyd, Jr. and R.J. Streif of Modesto, CA. The next record of sale was recorded December 12, 1946 and was executed by Mabel Boyd, executrix of the George T. Boyd estate. The purchasers were John Delphia and William G. Dunlop of Modesto.   The next sale was recorded April 5, 1952 to Maxim B. and J.W. Shears, a crop dusting company, of Glendale, AZ. 

NC9194 Landing Gear, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Landing Gear, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)

Shears must have failed to register the airplane, because on December 1, 1971 a certified letter to Elsie Shears appears in the FAA record accusing her of violating the Federal Aviation Regulation.  Other things must have happened in the years between 1952 and 1971, because one Elsie Shears penned the instruction to direct correspondence to M.B. Shears and signed it “Elsie L. Shears (formerly Mrs. J.W.)”.

Another 20 years goes by and the airplane is now sold on March 11, 1993 to M.B. Shears.  The sellers were entered as J.W. Shears and Elsie Shears, co-owners.  We can only imagine the airplane during those two decades. 

Soon things look up.  On January 15, 1993 the airplane was sold to James H. Cole Palen of Rhinebeck, NY.  Palen built the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, a business that flies original, vintage aircraft.  They offer shows at the property every Sunday, to which viewers come from all over the world.

Palen passed away in 1993; little effort or enjoyment spent or gained from NC9194. The airplane was placed for sale again on November 17, 1994, signed off by his wife as Executrix of his estate. The next bill of sale is dated August 10, 1998 (and recorded at the FAA August 10, 1999), signed off by a Director of the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum (Mrs. Palen passed away in 2002).  Today the airplane lives in Colorado. As of April 30, 2009 I am informed by the airplane's owners (Steve & Suzanne Oliver, see below) that its flying status is imminent sometime during the month of May. 


Update of 02/08/10 The airplane is finished and flying again. It can be viewed here.

NC9194 Graceful Wing Plan, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)
NC9194 Graceful Wing Plan, April 16, 2010, Lakeland, FL (Source: Webmaster)

Update of 05/12/10 New Standard NC9194 was at the Sun 'n Fun air show at Lakeland, FL during April. I took the photographs above at Lakeland and met the owners, whom I had been corresponding with for over two years. They gave your Webmaster a chance to fly in it. Believe it or not, this is the FIRST REGISTER AIRPLANE I HAVE EVER FLOWN IN. A very gracious and appreciated perk by the warm and cordial Olivers.

Below, the "ticket to ride." Many thanks to Steve and Suzanne Oliver for giving me the opportunity.

Ticket to ride in New Standard NC9194, April, 2010 (Source: Oliver)
Ticket to ride in New Standard NC9194, April, 2010

The MOTION PICTURES link lists "NC9194 Movie" on the menu of available movies. Please direct your browser to the link, select the film, and see what it was like to fly in this airplane in 1929, just a few feet from where Hugh Herndon sat. The video was made by your Webmaster. If you get a chance to fly in 9194, I recommend it. You can contact the Olivers at their Web site. Their airplane is the oldest flying New Standard.


Update of 12/09/10 Sad to learn of the following accident that occurred exactly a week after "NC9194 Movie" was made:

NTSB Identification: ERA10CA239
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 23, 2010 in Vidalia, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/12/2010
Aircraft: NEW STANDARD D-25, registration: N9194
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

The pilot stated that he was performing a full-stop landing on runway 24. After touchdown, the tailwheel-equipped airplane rolled approximately 100 feet and turned to the left. The pilot corrected with right rudder and brake, but the airplane continued to the left and departed the left side of the runway. The propeller dug into the soil and the airplane nosed over, incurring substantial damage to the top wing, vertical stabilizer and rudder. The pilot did not report any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane prior to the accident. The wind reported about the time of the accident was from 220 degrees at 7 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing.

It should be back flying soon.

Update of 08/24/11 The airplane is repaired and flying again as of April, 2011. It performed at the Sun 'n Fun air show at Lakeland, FL during April this year.

Update of 09/28/11 Clay Hammond, pilot of 9194, did some research and found a group of newspaper articles (PDF 238Kb; 9pp.) relevant to the endurance flight of the "Empire State Standard," supported by "UNeedus," NC9194. The articles are from the Hartford (CT) Courant and the New York Times between June 22nd and September 14, 1929. The first couple of articles report on Carl Dixon (not a Register signer), pilot of the record attempt airplane. Later articles cite Hugh Herndon and "UNeedus."

Details of the attempt are interesting. Food carried aloft was fresh fare consisting of corn on the cob, potatoes, milk and coffee and strawberries and cream. One article describes a plan for a daredevil to rope down to the "Empire State Standard," visit with pilots Pangborn and Dixon, then parachute to the ground. Their ground men stated, "Pangborn and Dixon may veto that idea." The final article from Courant of September 14, 1929 reports on Dixon and Pangborn after their disappointment with terminating their record attempt (August 26-September 2, 1929).

Update of 11/30/15 I learned from owner Oliver that NC9194 is for sale. The advertisement below tells the details. Please use the contact information on the ad if you are interested in knowing more details or purchasing this airplane.

Mr. Oliver also tells me, "We also have the paperwork plus everything new excluding wooden items for a second D-25 that someone needs to finish." That other airplane is a Jones New Standard D-25, N19155, S/N 160J. Please use the contact information in the poster above if you have interest in either of these airplanes. FULL DISCLOSURE: Your Webmaster is not an aircraft broker and neither he nor Delta Mike Airfield, Inc. makes a commission on the sale(s). The ad is posted here as a courtesy to Mr. Oliver, who was very generous to offer me a flight in NC9194, and more than gracious to share information to help me make this Web page more accurate and interesting.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/17/08 REVISED: 04/30/09, 02/08/10, 05/12/10, 11/30/10, 12/09/10, 08/24/11, 09/28/11, 03/08/12, 06/25/12, 11/30/15

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 good news about this airplane is that, at the upload date of this page, it is still registered with the FAA. See below for updates.
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