AIR SERVICES AND SWALLOW PRESIDENT
E.B. Christopher landed
at Tucson four times. His first visit was on September 22,1929. He
was solo northwest bound from Lordsburg,
NM to Phoenix, AZ. He flew Travel Air 8137, a
Model B-4000 with J-6 engine.
He lands again on September 24, 1929 flying the same airplane, only
this time headed from Phoenix to Nogales, AZ on the Mexican
border. He carries passenger C.B.
Cosgrove. An interesting
aside is that today, Tuesday, in another part of the country,
Jimmy Doolittle was the first to demonstrate takeoff, flight
and landing using only gyroscopic instruments for orientation
and positional reference.
Christopher landed again later in the year on November 29, 1929,
carrying passenger Hazel Chambers in Travel Air NC9916. This
airplane is still registered with the FAA and is owned by
artist Joel Harris in California. The airplane is disassembled
and not flying. Image, right, from an unidentified source,
but probably taken some time during his tenure as an independent
air operator a the Wichita Municipal Airport, 1927-33.
Christopher landed the last time on August 24, 1931 flying Travel
Air NC671H. He was solo, flying from Phoenix, AZ to Cleveland,
OH. This is the airplane flown by Louise Thaden to win the
1929 National Air Races. He
noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Airport
Getting Better". Below, a photo of NC671 with Christopher standing in front if it in knickers and kneesocks. The lettering under the cockpit reads"E.B. Christopher" and the striping and logo look the same as in the photo above. Note, however, that the cockpit enclosure seems to have been painted in the photo above.
E.B. Christopher and Travel Air NC671H, Ca. 1931 (Source: Web)
Christopher was involved with the Swallow Airplane Co. founded
in 1927. It went into receivership, but, with some refinancing
in 1933 by Christopher (who became president of the company),
it remained operational as an aircraft mechanic school and
subcontractor for B-29 and B-47 components until 1956.
The Wichita Beacon of Friday,
October 6, 1933 reports:
|The Swallow Airplane Company, oldest in Wichita,
has been sold to E. B. Christopher,
of the Christopher Airplane Service, located at the Wichita Municipal Airport.
been an independent air operator in Wichita the past six years with large success.
Swallow plant has been operated in a small way recently. Mr. Christopher purchased
assets from the stockholders. Material for twelve ships, and five planes already
constructed, are among the assets. Mr. Christopher hopes to restore the business
normal operating business and to perfect a sales organization.
The Wichita Beacon of Sunday, February 2, 1936 reports:
|The new Swallow Model C airplane
which has been under engineering and construction at
the Swallow Aircraft factory for a year and a half and
which made its first test flight last week. It is powered
with a 125 h.p. Menesco engine The plane was built under
the direction of E. B. Christopher, who become head of
the Swallow plant in 1933, purchasing it from the previous
stockholders directed by George R. Bassett. In designing
the ship Christopher was aided by Sam Bloomfield. Dave
Brehm was the superintendent of construction.
In 1937, flying one of his
company's C Coupes, Christopher crashed in a fogin California
The Wichita Beacon reported:
Friday, April 9, 1937:
Report that well known Wichita pilot, E. B. (Swede)
Christopher, president of the
Swallow Aircraft Manufacturing Company, was killed
today in a plane crash north of Los
Angeles. Age 34. Had been resident of Wichita for eight
years, being a sales
representative with Travel Air before establishing
the Christopher Airplane Service and
then in 1933 taking control of the Swallow Company.
Tuesday, April 13, 1937
Announcement made today that the Swallow Airplane
Company will carry on its work
despite the death of E. B. Christopher. S. Bloomfield
is chief engineer and general
manager. O.K. Swope is chief test pilot. Homer Herington
is factory superintendent.
UPLOADED: 03/22/06 REVISED: