Pilot Eyes

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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Brutus, CB-534000-01, reviewed by me 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Les Bowman landed at Tucson either April 21 or 22, 1932, as a flight of two with his wife, Martie Bowman (date inferred from the Register, as neither of them cited their arrival date or time). They were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. Both flew Waco airplanes: Les in Waco UEC NC12456; Martie in Waco UBA NC12449. Les carried one passenger, Mrs. Jerry Brutus. At the time, Lee N. Brutus was VP at Waco. Mrs. Brutus may be a relative.

Bowmans with NC12456

Image above, courtesy of Andy Heins (right sidebar), shows Les Bowman, left, Martie Bowman and an unknown individual in front of NC12456, location unknown.

Les and Martie's grandaughter has put a nice website online at this link. Check there for additional images of Les, Martie, friends and family. A brief quote from that site about Les and Martie follows:

"They started their flying careers in the 1920's when Les decided to become a pilot
instead of a preacher.  He spent his years as a test pilot and once tested 165 new models in one year.

He made over 300 forced landings, but never cracked up or was injured in any of them.
He was a charter member of the International Engineering Society.  He had one of the earliest commercial pilot's licenses signed by Orville Wright.

In the 1930's he was an airplane motor designer.  W. B. Bert Kinner and Les developed one of the first five cylinder-radial type airplane motors. In order to sell, the engine had to be approved by the "Bureau of Standards" in Washington D.C.  

Les took the first engine by train to D.C. and had to plan and help build the first
test stand for aircraft engines.  The engine had to run for 500 consecutive hours.  It did, and revolutionized the private aircraft industry. He was also a barnstomer and racer and performed aerobatics.

The photograph below is shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. Les Bowman is posed beside a Monocoupe aircraft, which states on the door, "Les Bowman, Kinner Factory". The airplane and date are unidentified, but the engine is a five-cylinder model, thus placing the date during his tenure with Kinner.

Leslie Bowman & Monocoupe; Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Leslie Bowman & Monocoupe; Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)

Les was born December 9, 1899 at McKinleyville, CA. He spent two years at Pacific Union College (1916-18). From 1923-28 he worked for the W.B. Kinner company, first in engineering, then in charge of field sales and service.

From 1931-36, the time he visited Tucson, he worked for the Waco Aircraft Company as western factory representative. He and Martie were probably ferrying these new Waco aircraft west for delivery. From 1926-39 he was sales manager for Southwest Airmotive Corp., based at Dallas, TX.

Beginning in 1939, he was President and General Manager of Service and School Operation, Aircraft Sales Co., Ft. Worth, TX. This second quote from the link above summarizes after 1939:

"War came to America and the Bowman's [sic] participated in a very active way. Les was president of the "Aircraft Sales Company and Fort Worth Aviation School of Fort Worth Texas.  The company was one of the primary and advanced civil pilot training schools, where he taught and tested planes. The company was one of five civilian schools picked to train U.S. Navy pilots for the war effort by the War Training Service.

The Bowmans went on to other careers before their deaths. Les was a ballistics consultant and expert for many gun companies and both were big game outfitters in Wyoming.  They also owned a manufacturing company for
horse trailers. Les wrote and photographed articles for many outdoor and gun magazines. Marty was the force behind the force, editing the articles and managing the big game outfitting business.  They were married 66 years."


Dossier 2.1.52

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/10/06 REVISED: 10/08/07, 01/22/10, 12/15/21, 01/25/23

The Register

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



The National Waco Club is recognized as the oldest "Type Club" in the United States.  President (as of the upload date of this page) Andy Heins runs the day to day business of the Club, and we should all thank him for the effort he expended to help us understand better the Waco aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield way back when. Thanks, Andy.


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