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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 (NASM), 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.


The endurance flight of NR5189 "City of Chicago" was documented in a contemporary article in the New York Times. I'll look it up and put the reference here soon.

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Registration Number NR5189

A Famous Endurance Airplane

This aircraft is a Stinson SM-1 Detroiter, manufacturer’s serial number M-233. It was manufactured in April 1928 by Stinson Aircraft Corporation, Northville, MI. It was sold the same month for $12,500 to N.L. Hurd, VP of Central Airways Corporation of Chicago, IL, and licensed on 5/24/28 to be used, “for Chicago-Detroit taxi service.”

It came from the factory with a 200 HP Wright Whirlwind J5-AB, S/N 8383. The airplane weighed 3,485 pounds.

On 7/13/29 the airplane sold to Russell C. Mossman of Barrington, IL for a planned refueling endurance flight. A telegram authorizing a “R” (restricted) license for the flight arrived 7/20/29. Mr. Mossman sold it on 9/12/29 to the Chicago We-Will Corporation. A 300 HP Wright J-6 engine S/N 10585 was installed, as were two extra oil tanks, and an extra 132 gallon fuel tank in the passenger compartment. It was inspected and approved “Restricted for endurance flight” on 9/27/29. It was named “City of We-Will” in 1929.

It was sold on 6/4/30 to L.W. Schuetz of Chicago, and on the same day (don’t know why: cost subsidization? Anybody know?) to John A. Hunter of Sparta, IL for $2,628. At this point the airplane had wing fuel tanks (45 gal. L/45 gal. R) and the 132 gallon fuselage tank for a total of 222 gallons. It was re-inspected at Sky Harbor Airport, Northbrook, IL and the fuel system was found, “well padded and securely supported”, and “endurance equipped, appears OK.” It was renamed, "City of Chicago".

The endurance flight did take place between June 11-July 4, 1930 at Chicago. John and Kenneth Hunter flew NR5189 for 553h:41m:30s. They covered about 40,000 miles. The refueling plane was flown by their brothers, Albert and Walter (see NR5326). Their record was short-lived as the title was regained the following month (July 21-Aug 17, 1930 - 647h:28m:30s at St Louis by Dale Jackson and Forrest O'Brine in a Curtiss Robin restoring their title set in 1929). However, see this download for an article that appeared about a year later in the June 11, 1931 Cleveland Plain Dealer (shared by site visitor Robert Hayes). It clarifies that Jackson and O'Brine's record was disqualified because they actually landed during one night and affected repairs on their airplane. Although the news article is hard to read, please refer to the typed transcription in the last two pages of the download.

Now comes the "City of Chicago" to Tucson on 7/20/1930. NR5189 was piloted by John Hunter, the pilot during the endurance event two weeks earlier. He arrived from San Diego Rockwell Field, and was headed back to Los Angeles. He had a posse with him consisting of his brothers, Kenneth and Albert in NR5326, and a passenger Herbert Budd flying with brother Walter in Travel Air NC5241. They stayed in Tucson overnight, leaving the next day. In a conversation I had with Hershel Hunter, Albert's son (who was five years old at the time of his father's and uncle's record), he said the trip west was to appear in a Hollywood movie with Will Rogers about endurance flying. But the trump of their record by Jackson and O'Brine the following day cancelled Hollywood's interest.

After the NR registration lapsed on 4/16/31, the engine was replaced with a J-5 S/n 7686, radio equipment and extra fuel and oil tanks were removed, and the fuselage, tail group and cabin were overhauled (with new fabric applied). A “C”, commercial registration was issued 5/9/31.

The airplane had flown 1,568.5 hours as of 4/22/32. John Hunter was reported deceased and the NC registration was cancelled on 7/18/32. The airplane was sold two years later by Laura Hunter, John’s widow, on 6/21/34 to Lucille Trunnell of Cape Girardeau, MO. The airplane had 1,594 hours on it. She sold it to Howard Trunnell of Blytheville, AR on 8/28/34 with an address change of Leland, MS. He had a tail wheel installed.

Mr. Trunnell, who appears to have used the airplane for cotton dusting, showed good husbandry of NC5198. As of 7/2/36 he had installed new fabric on the fuselage, rudder and left side of stabilizer, new glass and molding in the cabin, the struts were stripped and recovered. He relocated to new addresses in the south over the next two years (Florence, AL, back to Blytheville, AR, to Jonesboro, AR, and to Greenwood, MS.

As of 10/4/38 the covering was "rejuvenated" (a process of applying an organic solvent to make the nitrate or butyrate dope more flexible), redoped, and colors changed to red and yellow. In the warm, southern fall of 1938, this must have been a beautiful airplane to admire. He had flown it several hundred hours.

Finally, the airplane was sold to Lloyd Adkins of Chicago on 6/6/39. It suffered an accident on 9/4/39 and was a complete washout due to, “Fuselage fabric failure, mentioned in report to Stinson from CAA, 10/4/34.” It seems the "rejuvenation" of the fabric wasn't a good choice for repairing the aging cotton and coating. The registration was cancelled 9/4/39.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/05 REVISED: 01/05/07, 02/12/07, 05/25/07

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.
See this link for candid photos of "The City of Chicago" and its sister ship "Big Ben". See this link and scroll down for additional images of both airplanes on the ground at Tucson.
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