Pilot Eyes

View products that support dmairfield.org


This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Beard, CB-075100-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

A copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and airplanes is available here.


American Aviation Historical Society Journal. 2005. 50:1. p. 35.

New York Times, 12/27/1974.

A letter written by Beard in 1920 to his sister Dorothy is archived here. This site was found by Googling "Myron Gould Beard". If you Google "Dan Beard", you'll get thousands of hits about the Boy Scouts!

M.G. Beard and E.W. Fuller, American Airlines, Inc. 1939. Feathering Propellers in Airline Transport Operation. S.A.E. Journal, September.

He was a member of the NACA subcommittee on induction icing in 1942.

Click here to review an article he wrote in 1960 on clear air turbulence.



Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
CulturalMotion PicturesFriendsNon Profit statusProducts and services
ReferencesPublicationsCollectionsGuest EditorsPress Coverage


Dan Beard, Undated

Dan Beard was born to missionary parents in Foochow, China on November 13, 1896. His birth was registered at the American Consulate there, making him an American citizen. He came to the U.S. in 1909.

During WWI he received pilot training in the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps. He received an engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1925.

During the 1920s he worked at the Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Company, and later joined American Airways, a predecessor of American Airlines.

Dan actually visited Tucson twice. On July 10, 1928 he blew into town with a couple of dozen other pilots as part of the National Air Tour. They all landed in the morning that Tuesday, which must have made quite a scene at the Airfield.

He was flying a Waco GXE, NX3132. Like the other contestants, he was westbound from El Paso to the next stops at Yuma, AZ, San Diego and Los Angeles, CA. He was in good company, with Eddie Stinson, William Brock and Phoebe Omlie as fellow competitors. At the finish line on July 28th, he placed 21 out of 24.

His Tour Waco was the primary testbed for the new Fairchild Caminez engine. At the time of the Tour, he was the Installation Engineer and Test Pilot for the company, based at Farmingdale, Long Island, NY. He became the Chief Test Pilot in 1928. If you go to the National Air Tour link cited above and download the Forden book (PDF) from that Web site, you'll find a description of the "Cam Waco" in chapter 4 (with more information about the 1928 Tour and another photo of pilot Beard standing next to his airplane). The airplane/engine combination wasn't a pretty situation, as the engine vibrated severely and destroyed propellers and stressed the airframe (Beard had sent eleven propellers ahead for replacements along his route!).

He went to work for American Airways as a co-pilot from 1932-34. He flew the Cleveland, OH to Fort Worth, TX run, a 6-day round trip in those days. Then he went to work for American Airlines as chief engineering pilot from 1934-41.

Dan Beard in American Airlines Uniform, ca. post-1938
Dan Beard in American Airways Uniform

Above, pilot Beard with Stinson "Reliant" SR-10E. The American Airlines fleet is described in Juptner, Volume 7, page 274. This image is from the Charles Cooper Collection available to view on this Web site.

On December 22,1935 he took delivery of the first DC-3 from Douglas and for the next three months, with a Douglas test pilot, put this original machine through its paces in development testing around southern California. In Beard's opinion, the DC-3 became the outstanding airplane of the time because it struck the perfect balance among the five vital factors of a transport aircraft: power, speed, payload, wing area and space.

His second visit to the Airfield is not so apparent, mainly because he was probably the co-pilot on the first American Airlines Douglas Sleeper Transport . The airplane, the Douglas DC-3 NC14988, landed at Tucson on May 4, 1936. If you look at the Register page that logs this flight, near the bottom you'll see Dan Beard's name and that of E.L. "Slonny" Sloniger listed, along with what I assume are the names of passengers. I've read a couple of accounts that suggest that Sloniger was pilot in command at the time of this landing.

Below is NC14988 in American Airlines livery as it sat shining on the sunlit ramp at Glendale, CA on May 1, 1936, just days before Beard and Sloniger brought it to Tucson (image from AAHS Journal, Spring 2005, page 35).

NC14988 at Glendale, CA 5/1/1936

According to NASM records, Dan Beard held Air Transport Pilot license #755, and had accumulated 4,450 flight hours as of 1941. During WWII he served as Chief Military Engineering Pilot for American Airlines' Military Operations Department. He worked with teams who surveyed North Atlantic airways. In 1943 he went to Brazil in order to "Americanize" the Brazilian airlines, which previously had been a part of German operation in South America.

Shortly after his return to the U.S. he was made Director of Flight Engineering for American. In 1950 he was appointed Chief Engineer. He worked closely with Dougas engineers on the new DC-7, which was delivered to American in 1953. From 1954 to 1960 he helped develop the Boeing 707, Lockheed Electra and Convair 990 jet transports.

Myron Gould Beard died Thursday, December 26, 1974 in Northport, Long Island, NY.


Dossier 2.1.43

UPLOADED: 03/04/06 REVISED: 10/08/07, 03/01/08

The Register
I'm looking for images of his Waco, NX3132. If you have one, please contact me using this FORM.
Contact Us | Credits | Copyright © 2008 Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
This website is best enjoyed in a 1024 x 768 screen resolution.
Web design by The Web Professional, Inc