Registration Number NR8016
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
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
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
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,
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
After a few more years of surveys, including a trip to Guatemala
and return, the airplane sold on 4/2/40 to Aero Brokerage
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
* 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
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
UPLOADED: 07/28/05 REVISED: 02/17/07, 12/05/08