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There is no data for NX7281 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, while supplies last.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.


Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.


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NX7281 landed on November 7, 1928. It carried VIP passenger Donald W. Douglas. His pilot was Eric Springer. Based at Santa Monica, CA they gave their itinerary as Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX. Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM), a photograph of this new airplane.

Douglas DA-1 NX7281, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Douglas DA-1 NX7281, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

Another photograph of NX7281 is at the link, as well as the following information.

"Design work on the DA-1 was begun in 1926 but progressed at a slow pace, as the company's limited engineering staff was kept busy with the basic design of new military types and the modification and improvement of aircraft already in production. Compared with the Commuter, which had just begun flight trials, the DA-1 was conceived as a markedly different aeroplane, with emphasis on sturdy construction and dependability rather than on low manufacturing and operating costs.

"Twice as heavy as the Commuter, the DA-1 was powered by a 220 hp Wright Whirlwind nine-cylinder radial enclosed in a conical-shaped cowling with protruding cylinder heads and a two-blade propeller with large spinner. The fuselage was of chrome-molybdenum structure, the wings had Russian birch spars and ribs with plywood covering, whilst the fabric-covered tail surfaces and the cabin floor were of duralumin. Accommodation was provided for one pilot and one or two passengers in tandem open cockpits, and quickly disconnected dual controls were fitted in the front cockpit for pilot training.

"Ordered by Ambassador Airways Inc, the DA-1, registered NX7281, was first flown in September 1928 and, after completing its tests at Santa Monica, was flown to El Paso, Texas, to be demonstrated during the air races held there in the autumn of 1928.

"After the races the aircraft, piloted by Eric Springer and carrying Donald Douglas, took off from El Paso for Santa Monica. However, shortly after takeoff the engine stopped. Springer succeeded in making an emergency landing and he and his passenger walked out unhurt. Unfortunately, as one of the undercarriage legs had been torn off and one wing damaged, the aircraft was not repaired and Douglas did not pursue his second attempt at producing a private aircraft."

The useful life of this aiplane was about four months. Their landing at Tucson was probably part of their flight to the air races and back as described above.



The Register
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