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There is no biographical file for Paul T. Adams at the National Air & Space Museum.




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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Most of the information on this page comes from friend of dmairfield.org, Mike Gerow. He says about the information, "[Adams] was working for Intl. Flying Service when he passed through Davis-Monthan in the Emsco [NC849E] on his way to Guatemala. The Navy reference corresponds with our knowledge of Adams as a USNR pilot based at LGB [Long Beach Airport] in the early 1930s."

I do not know a lot about pilot Adams. The California Death Records show a Paul Theodore Adams, born December 20, 1899 in Illinois, died July 18, 1984 in Santa Clara, CA (near Palo Alto), age 84. This could very well be him. Adams was a competitor in the 1930 Thompson Trophy event at the National Air Races held at Chicago, IL. He flew a Travel Air. He placed 4th, with a time of 42:03.8, out of the money. See this link, and the Aircraft Yearbook for 1931, page 558, for a tabulation of competitors, times and prizes earned in the 1930 Thompson race.

Insight into Adams' superb lifelong reputation as a pilot can be gleaned from an excerpt from a 1971 trial in northern Calif, in which he was an expert witness just a few years before his death. The case, Mittelman v. Seifert (1971) 17 Cal.App.3d 51 [94 Cal.Rptr. 654] is available to view here. Apropos his aviation capabilities, a key paragraph in the trial deposition is this:

"Plaintiffs' witness, Captain Paul T. Adams, was flight instructor for Nystrom Aviation, with 40 years' flying experience beginning as a Navy pilot in 1924, and after a naval aviation career was a Pan American Airways international pilot from 1933 to 1960, accumulating about 30,000 flying hours; which at the time of trial was 34,500 hours. He held the ratings of airline transport pilot with single and multi-engine land and sea rating, plus rating for certain airplane types; and a flight instructor's rating, instrument airplane land and sea. He acted as flight instructor during his entire service with Pan American World Airways. He attended and taught ground schools. He acted as a check pilot, a designation given by the FAA, for 20 years with Pan American; later he was FAA examiner, until 1967 when he went on part-time employment. He was an instructor in several flying schools, including Nystrom at Palo Alto, where he was chief pilot. As such, he gave Seifert two periods of instruction in the Apache airplane, 138 minutes and 90 minutes respectively, the first of which was on March 9, 10 days before the fatal crash."

Paul Adams was a frequent signer of the Register. He landed at Tucson at least nine times between March 1931 and August 1933. Each time he carried passengers. He signed the Register twice as a Naval officer flying Curtiss Helldivers. The other seven times he flew civil aircraft, including the Kreutzer K-5 Transport NC243M, Travel Airs NC162V (still flying and owned then by one Thomas Griffin who backed Adams' bid for the Thompson Trophy in 1930), NC446W and the Emsco NC849E cited above. The Emsco flight on Wednesday August 23, 1933 was a delivery to CNA in Guatemala, which had several K5s, a Ford and the Emsco. The Travel Air he flew in the 1930 Tompson could have been NC162V.

Fresno Bee, August 12, 1932
Fresno Bee, August 12, 1932

Author, and dmairfield.org correspondent, John Underwood adds that Adams was very well known in Arizona flying circles as well as in Southern California. He was chief pilot for the International Flying Service (see above), which operated at several locations in Arizona as well as at Long Beach. He mentored Jackie Cochran among others at Long Beach.

According to John's notes, Adams purchased the Rehbock hangar, circa August 1932, and flew with the US Naval Reserve unit at Long Beach.  He subsequently joined Pan American Airlines and flew clippers from Treasure Island as of January 1940. The "Rehbock hangar" can be seen in the background of this image on the Joe Lewis page on this site.

Right, courtesy of Mr. Gerow, is a news article from the Fresno Bee, August 12, 1932. It describes a harrowing experience by a foreign visitor during Adams' military days. Note the article mentions the Curtiss Helldiver aircraft, the type which Adams flew to Tucson at least twice.



The Register
I'm looking for additional information and photographs of pilot Adams and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.


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