There were thirteen landings by at least eight different Pitcairn aircraft betweein September 9, 1928 and October 8, 1933. Although the number of landings was relatively small compared to other aircraft makes, the aircraft and the people who flew them were more than significant to Golden Age aviation.
Besides two autogiros, which are linked below, other aircraft were NC3261 (landed twice), NC549K (landed three times), NC6708 (still registered with the FAA and owned by David Pitcairn, see below), NC824N, NC96W,
For access to the few models of Pitcairn aircraft that landed at Tucson, go to this link and choose to search the database "by plane type and model". Then choose "Pitcairn" from the drop down menu.
The photograph below is shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. It is an aerial view of Pitcairn Field during July, 1925. An entire Web site (part of the Delta Mike Airfield, Inc. suite of airfield Register sites) is dedicated to Pitcairn Field. Please direct your browser to the link to view the Register of the airfield and to learn about the pilots and aircraft that landed there.
Pitcairn Field, Bryn Athyn, PA, July,1925 (Source: Underwood)
The annotation on the back of the photo states that the crowd of people and airplanes was there to commemorate the grand opening of the field. Contrast enhanced in PhotoShop for better legibility.
Annotation, Pitcairn Field, Bryn Athyn, PA, July,1925 (Source: Underwood)
REGISTER PILOTS AND THE AIRCRAFT THEY FLEW
Among the pilots celebrated on this site who flew Pitcairn aircraft are: Robert Buck, Albert Carl, Marjory Doig, Amelia Earhart, Dana Fuller, M.E. Grevemberg, John Miller and Howard Rough.
MODEL X "Mailwing"
MODEL PCA-1, 2 Autogiro
Two Pitcairn autogiros landed at Tucson. NC10780 was a model PCA-2 flown by Amelia Earhart. NC10781, the same model, was flown by John Miller, who landed twice with his aircraft. Please direct your browser to the links to find out more about these two interesting pilots and aircraft.
Motion picture footage of one of the earliest American autogiros can be seen about ten minutes into the film found at this link. Site visitor David Pitcairn states about the film, "I confirmed that the autogiro in the picture is the PCA-2 prototype NC760W (most likely still X760W in the video) s/n B-4 built March 1930 used for certification and publicity flights. The main distinguishing characteristic is the vertical fin shape which flowed into the fuselage toward the pilot vs. the production configuration that was truncated. A lot of the early pictures of NC760W showed it with the aerodynamic cap in front of the engine and short exhaust stacks like it has in the video. I have not seen any other autogiros outfitted that way except for some of the PCA-1 pictures. Some racing Mailwings had a similar configuration such as NC96W (which I only know because of the picture on your site!). Also, it has 30x5 Bendix wheels that were only used early on before switching to air wheels on the production aircraft."
Part of this film shows the aircraft on the ground with a photographer standing in front of it demonstrating a camera. The person to the right of the frame is Harold Pitcairn. Mr. Pitcairn attended conferences and made various demonstration flights with his company's autogiros. One example is documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter for May 29, 1929, below. This landing and demonstration was made at the Fifth Naval District's Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, VA.
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, May 29, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
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