I Fly Again!

View products that support dmairfield.org


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. Pilot Clark's signature is on page 18, along with those of Lester Maitland, Frank Hawks and Carl Spatz.


"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.  Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.

"Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race" is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.


Ford Air Tour link.


Travel Air Tails #13. 1991.

Travel Air Tails #16. December 1995.

Travel Air Tails #17. August 2001.

V3/N4&5 1989.

Aviation October 20, 1928.


Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
CulturalMotion PicturesFriendsNon Profit statusProducts and services
ReferencesPublicationsCollectionsGuest EditorsPress Coverage


Clarence E. Clark, Date Unknown (Source: Wyels)
Clarence E. Clark, Date Unknown

Clarence E. Clark was born July 12, 1904 at Garnett, KS. He was called, simply, "Clark." His family moved during his youth to Lincoln and Dodge City. At age 21 he lived again in Garnett.

Clark learned to fly in 1920. He was hired as Chief Test Pilot at Travel Air and moved to the Travel Air facility at Wichita, KS in 1925. At age 22 he signed the Register on Tuesday April 5, 1927 at 4:30 PM. He flew a Travel Air that he identified as "160". He carried a single passenger, C.W. North. Based at Wichita, KS, they were westbound from El Paso, TX to San Francisco, CA. Clark noted in the Remarks column of the Register "Ferry trip".

Seven months earlier, during August 7-21, 1926, Clark placed 7th in the second annual Ford Reliability Tour flying the "Pioneer," a Travel Air 3000, NC3947 (see the Air Tour link in the left sidebar). Chapter 2 of the link includes images of Clark's 180HP Hispano E-powered Travel Air, and a (poor) portrait on page 38. He is not mentioned anywhere else in the text of that chapter.

Based at Wichita, the airplane he brought to Tucson is serial number 160 (later NC2615) one of two prototypes of the monoplane later to be known as the Model 5000. Indeed, it was an important ferry trip.

The airplane was sold to Pacific Air Transport of California. According to sources reviewed by Mr. Wyels (right sidebar), the plane appears to have left Wichita on April 2,1927 accompanied by an OX-5 Model B with D.C. Warren and Louise McPhetridge (although both Warren - the Oakland, CA Travel Air dealer - and Louise McPhetridge Thaden signed the Register, they did not sign near this time).

The airplane identified as "160," now named "The City of Oakland", was sold by Pacific Air Transport to Ernest Smith (age 34). Mr. Smith and Emory Bronte (age 29) flew the airplane to Hawaii July 14-15, 1927. It was destroyed on landing on Molokai after 25 hours and two minutes aloft. Photos of the airplane do not show a Department of Commerce registration number, but we are sure of the serial number, as written by Clark in our Register.

An interesting build on the Smith-Bronte flight is that a similar Travel Air model 5000 was used by Art Goebel during August, 1927 to fly the same route to Hawaii as a competitor in the Dole Race. Goebel, and his copilot/navigator William V. Davis, Jr., used the same radio set as Smith and Bronte in their own Travel Air, named the "Woolaroc." That set can be seen here being loaded into Goebel and Davis' airplane before their flight. An account of the successful Goebel/Davis flight is in two of the books cited in the left sidebar. An aside is that Clark test-flew the "Woolaroc" as it left the factory.

Clark's test pilot duties at Travel Air were long-term and prodigious. His work began in 1925 with serial number 10 and Aviation (reference, left sidebar) cites that he had tested 667 planes for Travel Air as of October 1928, and that was just for the past year. Imagine test flying over two brand new airplanes per working day for that period. If you think about it, he very likely test flew every vintage Travel Air still in existence today, including the "Woolaroc."

He also tested and flew the Travel Air "Mystery Ship". A page from his pilot log, below, shows his flights with NR613K (owned by Pancho Barnes) and NR614K. This page shows 27 of the fifty-some hours he flew these two Mystery Ships. According to Travel Air Tails #16 (left sidebar) his logs seldom included dates. These flights are ca. 1929.

Undated Pilot Log Book of Clarence Clark (Source: Wyels)
Undated Pilot Log Books of Clarence Clark

After he left Travel Air during the fall of 1930, he worked for the Phillips Petroleum Company at Bartlesville, OK, remaining with them of 37 years as their Chief Test Pilot. His job kept him mostly in Bartlesville.

Pilot Clark flew West to his final horizon on December 31, 1988 at age 84. A piece of the original fabric from the "Woolaroc" sporting the registration number (NX869, not a Register airplane) was among his personal effects. His obituary from the Anderson (KS) Countian of January 19, 1989 is below, courtesy of Mr. Eravi (cited, right sidebar).

Clarence E. Clark Obituary, Anderson (KS) Countian, January 19, 1989 (Source: Eravi)
Clarence E. Clark Obituary, Anderson (KS) Countian, January 19, 1989 (Source: Eravi)

Mr. Eravi also provides the two photos below. The first is of a family reunion. Clarence Clark is highlighted by the red box. I did not straighten or crop this image. It is a true family snapshot, taken with the camera tilted to the photographer's left. The woman 6th from left holds a box camera in front of her.

Clarence Clark (Red Box), Date Unknown (Source: Eravi)
Clarence Clark (Red Box), Date Unknown (Source: Eravi)

Below, Clark in a casual pose beside a garden gate fashioned of iron pipe. Although difficult to see, his belt buckle is worn off to the side. This was a common way that pilots wore their belts in order to avoid scratching aircraft finishes when they leaned against them to clean a window or perform service. Close examination of the necktie suggests these photos were taken on the same day. Interestingly, his hands are about in the same position in both photographs.

Clarence Clark, Date Unknown (Source: Eravi)
Clarence Clark, Date Unknown (Source: Eravi)



Dossier 2.1.183

UPLOADED: 03/10/08 REVISED: 10/09/12, 01/26/13

The Register

I'm looking for better photographs of pilot Clark and his airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.


Thanks to site visitor and Travel Air afficionado Phillip Wyels for information about pilot Clark, including copies of Travel Air Tails.

Thanks to a cousin, M. Eravi, for details around Clarks life shared with me via his work on genealogy.com.


Given his VIP Travel Air status, it is unusual that Clarence Clark is not represented by a biographical file at the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.
Contact Us | Credits | Copyright © 2008 Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
This website is best enjoyed in a 1024 x 768 screen resolution.
Web design by The Web Professional, Inc