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


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Luke Christopher, Ca. WWI (Source: ancestry.com)
Luke Christopher, Ca. WWI (Source: ancestry.com)



Luke Christopher signed the Davis-Monthan Register once, on Saturday, December 12, 1931 at 11:45AM. He flew a Douglas aircraft he did not identify in the Register. Based at Washington, DC, he was eastbound arriving at Tucson from Santa Monica, CA. He remained overnight, departing the next day back to Washington. He gave no information regarding the reason for his cross-country flights. At the time, he was an officer in the Air Corps Reserve. He identified his rank as lieutenant in the Register, although he would later be promoted to major.

From a letter, courtesy of a site visitor, dated November 16, 1931 we know exactly why Christopher was in Tucson, and we know of one passenger he carried. That letter is below and it contains orders for him to proceed from Washington, DC to Santa Monica, CA and return to pick up a new Douglas O-38A aircraft at the Douglas factory at Clover Field. He was to carry as his mechanic a machinist "Mack" W.R. Kenly, who signed his name on the line above Christopher in the Register.


L. Christopher, Commandant Orders for Airplane Ferry, November 16, 1931 (Source: Site Visitor)
L. Christopher, Commandant Orders for Airplane Ferry, November 16, 1931 (Source: Site visitor)

Although he flew the airplane back to Washington, his orders did not specify how he was to proceed west to California. We can assume that the train was the preferred method. Regardless, it probably took him a good month to make the round trip. An example of the Douglas O-38 wearing U.S. Coast Guard livery is below.

Douglas O-38 Type (Source: Site Visitor)
Douglas O-38 Type (Source: Site Visitor)


Christopher was born in Cookeville, TN May 31, 1894 (other sources say 1896). Through a nearly 20-year aviation career, Christopher appears to have served in at least three different branches of the military: Army, Navy and Coast Guard. As well, he accumulated broad experience in civil flying, including barnstorming, crop dusting with the original Huff-Daland Dusters and test flying. An undated (ca. 1930?) biography, signed by Christopher, is below. Note his date of birth is cited as 1896.

Luke Christopher, Undated Biography (Source: Site Visitor)
Luke Christopher, Undated Biography (Source: Site Visitor)

Christopher was killed in a night water takeoff in an amphibian off Assateague, VA on December 5, 1936. The circumstances around his death were summarized at the U.S. Coast Guard Web site at the link.

Christopher is also signed twice in the Parks Airport Register. He landed there on June 13 and September 29, 1929 as a civilian pilot . His full biography is at his Parks Airport link. There you will find information about his marriage, U.S. Census information and more details about his flying career. Compare at the link a similar summary of his flying experience composed in 1935.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/07/16 REVISED: 10/20/16

The Register


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