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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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


There is no biographical file for pilot Busch in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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Frank Busch landed once at Tucson, Friday, April 4, 1930. He carried a single passenger identified as G. Sprado. They arrived late, at 8:15 PM. They were westbound from El Paso, TX in American Eagle 201, NC222N. They remained in Tucson overnight, continuing to Los Angeles, CA the next day.

The image below, shared by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood, shows Busch on the left with another Register pilot, Tommy Tomlinson.

Frank Busch (L), With Tommy Tomlinson, Ca. 1935 (Source: Underwood)
Frank Busch (L), With Tommy Tomlinson, Ca. 1935 (Source: Underwood)

There is no biographical file for pilot Busch at the NASM, so I'm hoping site visitors have INFORMATION to share with us about him. I'm fishing for clues here, so I hope you can help.

Busch's Web presence is very sparse. According to one TARPA Topics, Albuquerque, New Mexico was the location of the Eagle Nest Flight Training Center operated by Transcontinental & Western Airlines (TWA). TWA was contracted to operate B-24 Liberators in support of USAAC Ferry Command Operations. The program was established in June 1941 and got underway in July. As a TWA pilot of the line, Frank Busch was assigned to head of twin-engine instruction, and was trained in the 4-engine Liberator on July 15th and 16th. Busch is pictured on page 33 at the link.

The Albuquerque training facility was established to reduce the number of losses in the North Atlantic by military planes flying from Gander, N.F. to Prestwick, Scotland. At the outbreak of WWII, the facility was taken over by the military. Register pilot Larry Fritz managed the trans-Atlantic operation.

Busch later was TWA VP of Operations. Frank E. Busch appears in the Social Security Death Index. He was born June 6, 1904 and died October 16, 1996. Below, a respectful obituary and tribute by Bill Towner that appeared in the TARPA Topics for March, 1997.

June 6, 1904 - October 16, 1996

Frank Busch, went west early Wednesday morning, October 16, 1996, at his home in Camarillo, Ca. Frank was born on June 6, 1904, on board ship en route from Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, British Columbia. He spent his early years in Pasadena, California, and later graduated from USC in 1927, with a BA Degree.

His parents expected him to go into the family enterprise, The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company; however, Frank had discovered the airplane. He began taking flying lessons after graduating from USC, and soloed in a OX-5 Eaglerock shortly thereafter.

He flew around Southern California and Northern Mexico for a couple of years, and then enlisted as a cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was in the first class of cadets to graduate from Randolph Field, the Air Corps Primary Flight School, and graduated from advanced training at Kelly Field as a Second Lieutenant Air Corps Reserve. He was posted to March Field which was under the command of Major "Hap" Arnold at that time.

When the U.S. Post Office Department temporarily canceled the private airmail contracts in February 1934, the Air Corps was given the task. Frank was assigned to fly the mail on the leg from Milford, Utah, to Las Vegas and return on a regular basis. The flying was nearly all nighttime and the equipment used was the ungainly, open cockpit, Keystone Bomber of that era.

By the first of June 1934, after four months of flying the U.S. Mail in terrible weather, the Post Office saw fit to renew the mail contracts with private companies. Frank went back to his duties at March Field and when his enlistment period was up he went looking for work with the reorganized airline companies.

On April 24th, 1935, Frank went to work as a co-pilot for TWA. In 1939 he checked out as Captain and in 1940 he became a check pilot. He worked in that capacity until 1942 when he became Chief Flight Instructor at the Eagle's Nest, a TWA - run operation at Albuquerque, N.M., to instruct U.S. and U.K. military pilots in the operation of four engine aircraft. Once the Eagle's Nest was operating smoothly he was transferred to Washington, D.C., to assist in setting up TWA's new Intercontinental Division (ICD). He later became Chief of that Division. After WW II, Frank was promoted to General Manager of Operations TWA. Then in March of 1956 he was appointed V.P. of Flight Operations.

When Frank retired in 1964, his colleagues gathered in New York's Union League Club to wish him well. He was lauded for his war time service and for his dedicated work for TWA. Following his retirement, his sloop "Skeeter" was a familiar sight along the California Coast and around Catalina Island. He could be seen often on the golf course at Las Posas Country Club. In recent years he returned to his first love - the airplane, and his Cessna Cardinal (604 Foxtrot Bravo) could often be seen or heard around Southern California skies.

He is survived by his wife, two children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His Cessna can be viewed at the link (no guarantee of link longevity; please let me KNOW if it's broken).


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/04/10 REVISED: 02/21/12

The Register

I'm looking for more information about pilot Busch, and photographs of him and his airplane airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Thanks to site visitor Bob Woodling for help with this page.


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, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


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