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, 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.


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


W.L. Cleveland, 1935 (Source: Web)
W.L. Cleveland, 1935 (Source: Web)

As he signed the Register, "Bill" Cleveland was born in Binghampton, NY September 7, 1902. I have seen his middle name spelled Leroy, LeRoy, Le Roy and De Roy. The way I have spelled it, "LEROY," is the way it appears on his grave marker (below). I defer to that authority.

Cleveland landed on an unspecified date flying the Sikorsky S-39C, NC809W. He did not specify passengers or destination, or the reason for his visit to Floyd Bennett Field. Please direct your browser to the airplane's link for further information. Photograph, right, from a news article dated November 29, 1935.

The 1910 U.S. Census, his first, placed him at age 7 living at 55 Drake Avenue, New Rochelle, NY. He lived with his father, Arthur, age 31, mother, Elizabeth (29), sisters Mary E. (10) and Lucinda (17 months) and brother Joseph W. (2). His father's occupation was coded as "Conductor" on an "Electric Car." I found no Census data for him for 1920.

W.L. Cleveland Service Record, Ca. 1930 (Source: ancestry.com)
W.L. Cleveland Service Record, Ca. 1930 (Source: ancestry.com)


This absence of data for 1920 could be because he was in the Navy at the time, right. I found no information regarding why he was "dropped" in March 1930 for being AWOL.

However, the 1930 Census placed him living at 618 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY. That residence today is a four-storey brick, multi-family apartment building located behind a small group of storefront businesses (e.g. Lucia's Nails). The building appears to be 1930s-vintage. Cleveland, at age 27, lived there with his mother, Elizabeth (49), as head of household, his sister, Lucinda (21), his wife Edith (24) and their son William, Jr. (20 months; 8/18/28-5/31/2013). Their rent was $75 per month. Also living with the family were two boarders, Henry Hort and William Bartlett, both 19 years old. They were telegraph operators. Cleveland's occupation was coded as "Pilot" in the "Aviation" industry.

Chicago Tribune, November 30, 1935 (Source: Woodling)


Cleveland appeared in the news a few times. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY), September 3, 1930, posted him landing at Roosevelt Field in a Cessna, arriving from North Beach Airport (now LaGuardia). At left, the Chicago Tribune of November 30, 1935 reported on an incident solved by Cleveland with the help of one of the Sikorsky ambhibians he flew (probably not NC809W).

Briefly, a tteenage girl swallowed an open safety pin while on a steamship on Long Island Sound. Although he is not mentioned in the article by name, Cleveland is identified, far right, as the pilot in the photograph that accompanied the article. That photograph is below, right. The boom and wing strut of a Sikorsky amphibian can be seen behind them.There was no information in the article regarding how or why an open safety pin made it into her mouth.

Cleveland traveled a fair amount during the 1930s and 40s. An immigration form dated March 6, 1931 documented his departure from Valparaiso, Chile aboard the S.S. Santa Clara. He landed at New York on March 23rd.

The 1940 Census placed him at age 37 living at 716 Majorca Avenue, Coral Gables, FL. That address today is a large, single-family home with a Spanish-style façade. It has a breezeway carport. The structure could be 1940s-vintage. Over the decade William and Edith had added three children to their family besides William, Jr. They were Jerome L. (9), Richard R. (7) and George Don (2). Cleveland's occupation was coded as "Aviator on call" and he worked for a "Private Flying Plane." He earned a handsome salary for 1940 being an on call pilot: $5,000. They owned their home, valued at $5,500.

Cleveland worked for Pan American during WWII, ferrying airplanes across the Atlantic. Corroborating his work with Pan American, in 1941, he was documented on an immigration form on February 22, 1941 arriving on the S.S. Santa Rosa from St. George, Bermuda to New York. This was probably a return to the U.S. from a ferry flight.

Chicago Tribune, November 30, 1935, Photograph (Source: Woodling)




A January 28, 1942 immigration form documented his travel from Karachi, India (Pakistan became independent in 1947) again aboard NC18612. This airplane was a Boeing 314A Clipper (S/N 2086). He arrived in New York February 8th. This form was interesting, because it stated that he held $150 on his person, had a tattoo "U.S. Navy 1918-1919" on his right forearm, and when asked by the form if he ever was in prison or in an institution for the care and treatment of the insane, he answered, "not yet." His address was recorded as 4722 Alhambra Circle, Miami, FL.


Further to this voyage and his arrival on February 8th, is the form below from ancestry.com which provides the complete passenger listing for the "Capetown Clipper," the ages and names of passengers and from whence they arrived to the U.S. There was a full complement of 25 passengers plus crew, commanded by W.M. Masland (not a Register pilot). All were of U.S. or Chinese citizenship, and all were traveling to the U.S. from either Karachi or Bahrain. Cleveland, at age 39, appears in the left-most column, below.





Entry Declaration, February 8, 1942 (Source: ancestry.com)
Entry Declaration, February 8, 1942 (Source: ancestry.com)

As WWII spooled up, hundreds of these flights would be made, ferrying VIP passengers around the world. A significant number of the passengers on such flights would be ferry pilots, like Cleveland, returning to the U.S. to pick up another airplane to be ferried to war zones around the world.

And, further, this PDF article (1.3mB) from the American Aviation Historical Society Journal lists the flights on which he was the captain. "Cleveland" is cited nine times in the text of the article (use the search function in the PDF to find him). In the article, a good example one of his ferries was on September 25, 1941. It involved the Douglas Sleeper Transport NC33642 (not a Register airplane). The ferry assignment appeared on page 132 of the download article.

With a little sleuthing, we can reconstruct this flight. Early in September he flew NC33642 from the United States, probably to Natal, Brazil, which was the starting point for eastbound ferries to Accra, Ghana. Cleveland was admitted to Brazil on September 7th, as indicated on the immigrations card, below. Frustratingly, the form does not include his photograph in the space provided.

Brazil Immigration Card, September 7, 1941 (Source: ancestry.com)
Brazil Immigration Card, September 7, 1941 (Source: ancestry.com)

He moved the Douglas to Africa and somehow made it back to Brazil. The back of this card indicated he departed Brazil October 6, 1941, again aboard the "Capetown Clipper." Look below at the ** to learn what happened to his assigned Douglas.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 2, 1952 (Source: newspapers.com)



The Dade County, FL census for 1945 placed Cleveland at age 42 living at 6830 Rue Notre Dame, Miami, FL. Edith and his four children were with him. His occupation was coded as "Navy Commander." The date of this local census was not recorded, but Cleveland was coded as being home at the time at his Coral Gables address. I have no information about his activities during the late 1940s.

In 1952 he became the pilot for Walter F. O'Malley, who was president of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball organization. The article at left describes his work, and makes clear that he was not a baseball fan. The article also provides background on his aviation and personal lives.

I found Navy Veteran Service Dates for Cleveland from February 1, 1929 to February 1, 1949. He rose to the rank of Captain.

Cleveland flew West on April 22, 1987 at Jensen Beach, FL. He was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. His grave marker at Arlington is at right. Notice his Navy wings engraved at the top of the marker. Edith passed away in 2002.

WIlliam L. Cleveland, 1987, Grave Marker (Source: findagrave.com)
WIlliam L. Cleveland, 1987, Grave Marker (Source: findagrave.com)

Son William, Jr. flew West May 31, 2013. He retired as a Lt. Colonel, USMC, where he was a pilot and flight instructor. He was also a career transport pilot with Eastern Airlines.




**Information about NC33642, the airplane that was Cleveland's ferry assignment of September 25, 1941. The airplane was a Douglas Sleeper Transport commandeered from United Air Lines. He flew it from the U.S. to South America, then to Accra. It was operated by Pan American Airways in Africa as U.S. Army number 42-38259. Information in the following table is from Joe Baugher's site.

38259 DST-A-207D MSN 4114 ex United Air Lines NC33642. To USAAF as C-52S 33642 Jun 10 1941. Operated by PAA Africa then RAF 267 Sqdn Mar 4, 1942. Changed to C-48C serial 42-38259 Mar 14, 1942, probably NTU. Africa and Middle East May 29, 1943. North Africa Wing ATC (still 33642). Operated by United Oct 3, 1943. Pacific Wing ATC Aug 30, 1944. To civil registry as NC33642 (United *Allentown* Nov 20, 1944. Plains Airways Apr 1, 1949, Fram Corp, Providence, RI Dec 1953), N22MA (Manhattan Airlines, Syracuse, NY 1975, operated for Air Commuter Express since 1974. Leased Oct 18, 1977 to Airgo Air Freight and from Jun 4, 1979 to Bo-S-Aire).

I have no information about the fate of NC33642 or N22MA after 1979. Neither registration number is assigned to a Douglas aircraft today.



The Register

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


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