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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.


The 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Bernt Balchen was the most accomplished 20th-century aviator, navigator and polar explorer that most people know nothing about. Among the reasons appears to be that, highly confident and self-assured about his own abilities, he did not participate in self-aggrandizement, brand marketing or credit-taking that many of his kind did during the Golden Age of Aviation.

Bernt Balchen (Source: Glines)

The decade of the 1920s was a great period for "marketing" aviation. Charles Lindbergh made a tour around the U.S. in 1927 to do just that during the months immediately after his trans-Atlantic flight in May. Register signers Wiley Post and Harold Gatty would do the same a few years later after their around-the-world adventure. There was also a proliferation of activity around record setting, racing and barnstorming, all aimed at raising aviation and aviators in the collective public consciousness. The photograph of Balchen at right is the official photo taken after piloting the circum-polar flight of the Byrd Antarctica Expedition in 1929.

Balchen landed at Tucson on November 9, 1926 as copilot and navigator of the Fokker F-VII “Josephine Ford” (although not specified in the Register, the number of the airplane was NX4204). The airplane was the same one used earlier by the Byrd North Pole expedition.

His pilot this day was Floyd Bennett. See Bennett's link for conjecture related to Byrd's claims regarding the North Pole.

With Bennett and Balchen when they landed at Tucson were four passengers, all of whom signed the Register. They were Charles F. Kunkel, a representative of the Guggenheim Fund (see below), John McPhail, mechanic, and G.O. Noville, photographer.  Donald Keyhoe was along as the resident writer for the crew.

Why were they here? Their flight was documented in U.S. Air Services magazine, appearing in the January 1927 issue, authored by passenger Keyhoe. Refer to page 13 of the article to see a listing of their itinerary. The magazine, at the link, informally explains the particulars about the flight of the "Josephine Ford."

Balchen was an arctic pilot and explorer of wide reputation. He did not sign the Register (an example, perhaps, of preferring to be the doer rather than the credit taker?), but he had important dual roles during the flight of the "Josephine Ford" as it flew around the country in 1926.

When the "Josephine Ford" and crew landed at Tucson October 23rd, they were at the mid-point of an 8,604 mile tour around the United States. They had left Washington, DC on October 7th for the two-month tour. Their tour was sponsored by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, with the cooperation of the Department of Commerce. The airplane was donated for the flight by its owner, Richard E. Byrd, whose name was emblazoned on the fuselage in large, white letters. Below, a photo of pilot, copilot and crew. From left, Kunkel, Bennett, Balchen, Keyhoe, Noville, McPhail.

Crew of the "Josephine Ford" Date Unknown (Source: Linked Document)




Bernt Balchen was born October 23, 1899 in Tveit, Kristiansand, Norway. Balchen flew West October 17, 1973 (aged 73) from Mount Kisco, NY.


Dossier: 2.2.13


The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of copilot Balchen to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


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