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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.


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.

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


Reinhold, Ruth. 1982. Sky Pioneering: Arizona in Aviation History. U. of Arizona Press. Tucson, AZ. 232 pp.

To see an image of this airplane, please follow this link to the Klein Archive of Aviation Photographs.

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This airplane is a Fairchild Model F-71 (S/N 607; ATC #89) manufactured in January, 1929 by the Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corporation, Farmingdale, NY. It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 927) of 410HP. It was a seven-place airplane weighing in at 5,500 pounds gross. It was a large airplane, with a wingspan of 50 feet and a length of 35' 7".

It sold on January 29, 1929 to United Aviation Corporation of Chicago, IL for $18,900. J. Parker Van Zandt was Vice President of this organization. United at the time was operating Scenic Airways and Interstate Airlines as subsidiaries. The airplane was immediately transferred to Scenic Airways (of which Van Zandt was President), "for aerial transportation & sight-seeing through the southwestern states and occasional flights in Mexico."

We find the airplane at Tucson for its first of three landings on March 1, 1929. The pilot was Philip D. Lucas (transport license #730). He carried five unidentified passengers, and they were southeast bound from Phoenix, AZ to El Paso, TX.

His passengers were lucky, because two weeks later, on March 17,1929, pilot Lucas wrecked the airplane at El Paso with six passengers on board. No one was injured, but the airplane suffered a wiped out landing gear, and damage to the lower part of the fuselage and wing tip and the propeller. The accident report states, "L/G collapsed on T/O. Excessive strain due to ground loop." The airplane was shipped to the Fairchild factory and repaired as of August 7, 1929.

On March 4, 1930 it was sold to Frank Free of Phoenix, AZ Sky Harbor Airport. It landed again at Tucson on March15, 1930 flown by Charles Goldtrap carrying six passengers. Their itinerary was a round robin from Phoenix. Scenic Airways had, by this time, folded due to the Depression, and Sky Harbor was relatively barren. Ruth Reinhold (reference, left sidebar, p. 184) describes the scene:

"The year 1930 was an unhappy one for Scenic Airways' Phoenix Sky Harbor. The field's new owners....had no desire to run and airport; thus Charlie Goldtrap, the former operator of South-Central, was invited to become 'nominal manager.' He and his partner...moved in with their Monocoupes and a Monoprep. These, plus a new Aeronca and a few privately owned units, helped to fill the void left by Scenic's departure."

Below is an image from the same reference showing the flight line at Sky Harbor in 1930. You can see two Mono-aircraft at left; third from left appears to be an Aeronca. The big Fairchild was also resident, but does not appear in this photo.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, ca. 1930

The airplane's final visit to Tucson was on July 16, 1930 piloted by Henry J. Hoey carrying four passengers. They were northbound from Nogales, AZ to Grand Canyon, AZ. Three days later on the 19th it was purchased again by United Aviation Corp., who transferred it to Richard K. Peck of Elgin, IL on November 18, 1930.

NC9738 went through the hands of two more owners in the Chicago area. It then sold on May 25, 1935 to Jay Graybill at Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. He had floats installed in September, 1936 when the airplane had accumulated 600 flight hours.

Graybill sold the airplane to Al Jones of Anchorage, AK on June 23, 1937. He installed water rudders on the floats in July, and a Wasp C engine (S/N 1884) was installed on September 30, 1937 at 748 total flight hours.

Two months later, the final disposition states, "COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY FIRE AT ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 11/23/37."


UPLOADED: 03/23/06 REVISED: 11/07/07, 06/16/11

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.
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