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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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Registration Number NR8016

Hat Trick

This aircraft is a Fairchild FC-2W2, serial number 513. It was manufactured in 1928 (month and day not recorded, but probably in August sometime) by Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corp., Farmingdale, NY. It came from the factory equipped with a 400 HP Pratt & Whitney Wasp B engine, S/N 833. It weighed 5,500 pounds.

This airplane was truly a workhorse with a complex life. It landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield five times, flew well over 3,000 hours during its 20 years of service, and was registered in three different countries (thus, “Hat Trick”).

Original ownership of the airplane is hard to determine from the record, but it was being flown by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. as of 9/11/29. The record says it was sold to Fairchild Aerial Surveys on 12/31/29, but it was discovered on 1/30/31 that a bill of sale had never been submitted for original transfer to Fairchild Aerial Surveys. Please click to see an image of this airplane in Fairchild Aerial Surveys livery.

The government was advised on 1/15/31 that the airplane was assigned to Mexico for work for several weeks, and had Mexican registration X-BADW. It was “reimported” to the US as of 8/5/31 (piloted by E.P. Jeppesen) with authority for non-commercial flights in the US under Mexican registration.

It returned to US registration 9/29/32 and the Mexican registration was cancelled via official letter dated 8/2/32 (#0830234). It had accumulated 696:07 flight hours at this time (about 175 hours per year).

In 1934, it had eight feet of both rear spars replaced, and it was re-covered by California Aircraft Repair, Inglewood, CA. It was inspected and approved with a supercharged 450 HP Wasp SC engine, S/N 833. Its registration was also changed to “NR” and it was named “Fairchild Aerial Surveys No.1”. It was restricted as a three-place airplane for, “high-altitude photo work for two large cameras with operators.”

As of 7/18/34 it had, “complete camera equipment” and had accumulated 971:50 flight hours. It’s at about this time that we see the airplane for its first landing at Tucson, on 9/27/1934. This, and its second landing on 11/10/1934, were piloted by Fritz E. Secor with Henry Treadway as passenger/cameraman. These landings, and the next three on 1/26/1935, 6/23/1935, and 2/17/1936, were all cited as being “survey” flights. The origins and destinations for the flights spanned southwest locations, from Los Angeles to Deming, NM, Boulder Dam, AZ*, Safford, AZ to Alhambra, CA.

The years it was active at Tucson were also years for modifications to the airframe. On 7/5/35 it had oxygen equipment, gas dump valves, wheel pants and wing root fairings installed, and the engine was changed to a P&W Wasp SC-1, S/N 1548. On 9/21/36 it had Bendix wheels, Goodyear 36 x 8 tires and a tailwheel installed. As of 9/28/36 it had accumulated 2040:30 flight hours (about 530 hours per year under pilot Secor’s command).

After a few more years of surveys, including a trip to Guatemala and return, the airplane sold on 4/2/40 to Aero Brokerage Service, Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys, CA. It had accumulated 3283:08 flight hours. It sold again on 9/30/41 to Harvey Nelson Martin, Municipal Airport, Long Beach, CA.

WWII began and, on 4/10/41, the airplane was assigned an “NX” registration and was approved, “for flight out of combat zone.” It was flown from Compton, CA to Nogales, AZ on 4/13/42. As of 8/14/42, the cameras and equipment, oxygen tanks, wheel fairings, radio receiver/transmitter, and the antenna reels were removed.

On 8/17/42 it was sold to Northern Airways, Ltd., Carcross, Yukon Territory, Canada. It received Canadian registration CF-BDX in 1943. On 9/7/48, at Carcross, the, “rudder failed in flight; spiraled into pond.” It was damaged beyond repair.


* WHAT’S IN A NAME? The original site of the dam was to be at Boulder Canyon about 10 miles upstream from the current location. Thus the name “Boulder Canyon Project”. It was decided after the project began that if the dam were built at Black Canyon instead of Boulder Canyon, it would be able to capture more water. Also, geologically, Black Canyon had a more dense rock in its canyon walls. When the dam site was moved to Black Canyon, it was still called the Boulder Canyon Project. The dam got its name from the project which originated it, “Boulder Dam”.

On September 17, 1930, Herbert Hoover's Secretary of the Interior Ray L. Wilbur, went to the site to dedicate the official start of the project. In his dedication speech, he announced that the dam would from that point on be officially known as Hoover Dam. This was an unpopular idea at the time. On May 8, 1933, Harold Ickes, Franklin Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior, decided that the name of the dam should be “Boulder Dam”, its original name. The reason for this was no doubt political. And it’s why, in June 1935, pilot Secor cited his destination as “Boulder Dam”. I wonder if the photos from this flight to the dam still exist. Anyone know? If so, one of them would be a nice addition to this page.

On April 30, 1947, the resolution renaming the dam back to Hoover Dam was passed by Congress and signed by President Harry S Truman. Hoover Dam is still, currently, the name of the structure.


UPLOADED: 07/28/05 REVISED: 02/17/07, 12/05/08

The Register
I'm looking for additional 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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