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There is no biographical file for pilot Burford 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Dean Burford, Ca. 1936 (Source: TWA Skyliner Magazine)
Dean Burford, Ca. 1936 (Source: TWA Skyliner Magazine)



Dean Burford landed three times at Tucson. The first time was in Ford 4-A-T NC5578. Based at Phoenix, AZ, he arrived from Safford, AZ carrying five unidentified passengers on Wednesday, November 14, 1928. According to Burford's Register entry, they remained on the ground five minutes and returned to Phoenix.

Burford was born at Cripple Creek, CO, Jan. 17, 1901. He died of cancer on August 24, 1936. Photo, right, shared with us by site visitor Bob Woodling, is from the TWA Skyliner Magazine for September, 1936.







Dean W. Burford, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Dean W. Burford, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)

Photograph, left, is shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. It is undated, but it is signed by Burford in the same bold hand as his Register signatures. Another photo of him is on Lamar Nelson's page.

His second landing was on Monday, January 7, 1929. This time he carried J.C. Kirsteiner as passenger. They flew in the Ryan B-1 Brougham NC5544. Based in Phoenix, their itinerary took them northbound from Nogales, AZ to Phoenix.

His third and final landing came on January 21, 1929, flying the same Ryan. His passengers this day were J.E. Kimtris and Lawrence Scudder. Again based in Phoenix, they were southeast bound from Phoenix to El Paso, TX

According to Who's Who in American Aeronautics for 1928, he enlisted in the Army Air Service, May 1919 and was appointed a Flying Cadet in June 1922. His first solo took place January, 1923. He graduated from Advanced Flying School and was rated Airplane Pilot, Pursuit on February 1, 1924. He was a member of the First Pursuit Group from April to July 1925. At some point it appears he left the military and became a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve, probably ca. 1925.

He took employment with the Ford Motor Co., July 1, 1925 and flew a Ford Tri-motor in the National Air Tour for 1927.
He held F.A.I. license number 6042 and Dept. of Commerce Transport License 302 (a very low number).

In the 1927 Air Tour he placed 4th flying a Ford 4-AT-A, registration number 3022 (not a Register airplane). Below, from the Detroit News of June 26, 1927, photographs of the principals in the Tour. Burford is second from right, middle row. Other Register pilots pictured are Charlie Meyers, Louis G. Meister, John P. Wood, Frank Hawks, E.W. "Pop" Cleveland and Eddie Stinson.

Ford Reliability Tour, 1927, Participants (Source: Detroit News)
Ford Reliability Tour, 1927, Participants (Source: Detroit News)

During the Tour, he carried several passengers in that large tri-motor transport. Among them were Harry Russell, Clarence Young, C.W. Thomas, William F. Sturm, James Pierson, E.P. Crocker and Thos. F. Killian. The Ford wore tour number 23. Harry Brooks was copilot. An account of the 1927 Tour is at the link.

At some point he flew for TWA. This news article (poor quality copy) outlines a weather-related problem he had one night flying mail over New Jersey. The paper is circa 1932-35.

Undated News Article, Union Springs (NY) Advertiser (Source: Advertiser)
Undated News Article, Union Springs (NY) Advertiser (Source: Advertiser)


The New York Times, December 17, 1933 (Source: NYT via Woodling)
The New York Times, December 17, 1933 (Source: NYT via Woodling)


He is probably most famous for bailing out of an ice-laden TWA Northrop Alpha mail plane in December, 1933.The New York Times of December 17th reported it at right.

A site visitor from England provided some color commentary identifying his airplane and location as follows. "On December 11, 1933, pilot Dean William Burford in Northrop Alpha 4/4A Registration NC127W (c/n7) at Portage, Pennsylvania. A.M. Route No. 34, Trip 6, 2:56 a.m. Eastbound. 600 pounds of mail were recovered, including $73,000 in diamonds."

Further, he says about the second pilot, "On December 11, 1933, pilot Henry Gay 'Andy' Andrews [not a Register pilot] in Northrop Alpha 4/4A, registration NC947Y (c/n 2),  at Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania. A.M. Route No. 34, Trip 5, 2:52 a.m. Westbound. 111 pounds of mail recovered intact."

Numerous other contemporary newspapers reported the two bailouts, which occurred within minutes of each other, over the same state, involving the same make of airplane, operated by the same company. The night of December 11, 1933 was not a good evening for TWA, Burford or Andrews!


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/05/10 REVISED: 10/12/11, 01/03/12, 7/22/18

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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Burford 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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