Pilot Eyes

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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Cooper, CC-611000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


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.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


Aircraft Year Book. 1930. Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America, Inc. New York, NY. Events and happenings of the previous year are reported in each volume.


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Larry Cooper landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield twice. On September 21, 1929 he was solo flying Great Lakes NR842K. This airplane was a model number T-2-1A, S/N 106 owned by the Texas Company.

Cooper was ferrying this new airplane on his way to Los Angeles from Cleveland, then ultimately to Seattle (see news article below). From the date of his arrival, he might have visited the 1929 National Air Races that were held in Cleveland that year. It is not clear from the Aircraft Year Book of 1930 if he participated in any events. His name was not listed among any of the competitors for any of the events.

Cooper was the husband of Margaret Perry. They were married in Seattle, WA July 8, 1931.  Perry was not his first wife; one of seven (and eight marriages), according to his daughter by his third wife. He married first Sigrid Braten on January 23, 1925 in Los Angeles.  They are shown together in the 1930 census in West Los Angeles. They were divorced by 1931 when he married Margaret.  

I do know that Margaret was a participant in the August, 1929 Powder Puff Derby. It could very well be that Larry was at the Races with her. Margaret flew a different airplane than his (Spartan NC8058, a model C3-120, S/N 85, eventually sold to the Mexican Air Force). She became ill and dropped out of the Race in Abilene, TX.

Larry Cooper was born, seemingly of privilege, in London, England on November 28, 1902. He attended private school in the United States (Huntington, LI, NY), then in England at Borlase's, a prep school similar to Eton, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, 4 yrs.; Christ College, Cambridge University, 2 yrs. of general engineering.

It is not clear when or where he learned to fly, but he held U.S. commercial pilot license #8949. He learned before 1920, because that year he was employed (until 1922) at Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA as a flight instructor. From February 1923 to April 1928 he was a sales engineer (aviation oils) with Pan American Petroleum Co.

L.H. Cooper, ca. 1928-32

From April 1928 to January 1932 he worked for the Texas Company of Los Angeles as manager of their Aviation Division. The image, above, shows an autographed image of Cooper in a Texas Company aircraft (a Great Lakes airplane, NR842K, Texaco #6, see below, not a Register airplane). The location of this photograph is Clover Field, in front of James E. Granger's flight school (look closely and you can see Granger's name on top of the hangar building). Two other beefy biplanes sit in the background along the perimeter fence.

Below, from Cooper's daughter, is a news clipping from the Seattle Star dated October 23, 1929. Note mention of the Great Lakes being ferried from Cleveland. Note also the difference between the tires in the news photo and the photo above. Somewhere during his "air scout tour," the standard tires were replaced with large balloon tires.

Seattle Star, October 23, 1929 (Source: Cooper Daughter)
Seattle Star, October 23, 1929 (Source: Cooper Daughter)


Cooper, Undated & Unsourced News Article (Source: Cooper Daughter)
Cooper, Undated & Unsourced News Article (Source: Cooper Daughter)

On April 24, 1930, again solo, Cooper landed at Tucson flying Spartan NC712N. I have no information on either the context or purpose for this visit. A clue might be the news article at right, which sites Cooper flying a "Spartan biplane." NC712N was a C3-225 model, S/N A-6. Like the Great Lakes, above, this flight through Tucson might have been a ferry for a brand new airplane. NC712N also appears once in the Oxnard Field Register, Albuquerque, NM on September 13, 1932 flown by Register pilot Roy Harding.

As the Great Depression deepened, Cooper got by. From January 1932 to February 1936, he was "self-employed" in what sounds like a general aviation study of England, France, Italy and South America. From August 1936 to September 1937 he was president of Larry Cooper, Inc., an Oldsmobile and GMC Trucks dealership in Burbank, CA. For a while he was in Bridgeport, CT for one month, studying ballistics of aircraft gunfire at Remington Arms Co. Interestingly, your Webmaster's dad worked at Remington about the same time.

From October 1937 to March 1939 he was again self-employed at Clover Field with charter work and flight instruction. From April 1939 to December 1940 he was superintendent of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, CA (Clover Field). In December 1940 he began working for Vultee Aircraft, Inc. of Downey, CA as their Director of Flight Operations. He was in charge of all test flying, and all foreign and domestic field service.

In June 1942 he went to work for Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in San Diego, CA. He was Superintendent of Field Operations, in charge of all aircraft produced from the time of final assembly to delivery.

Google searches for him come up dry. According to his daughter, he died in the spring of 1980 at Ocala, FL.

COOPER MARRIAGES: Thanks to site visitor RMK for information about his marriages. His first two marriages, to Sigrid Braten and Margaret Perry are documented above. His marriage to Perry lasted about five years. His 3rd marriage was to Barbara Clare Wardenburg on July 24, 1936 in Wilmington, New Castle, DE.  The birth on February 1, 1942 of their daughter Linda Laurance Cooper is in the California Birth Index. There is an informationvoid from 1942 to 1956. 

On February 6, 1956 Laurance H Cooper married Madeline (Yonker) (Davis) Lloyd in Santa Barbara Co, CA.  She is shown as Madeline Yonker and Madeline Davis in the marriage record.  Madeline had a daughter, Mabel Blair Davis (1936) by her 1st husband, John W Davis III; and a son, Fergus Lee Lloyd, Jr (1939) by her second husband, Fergus Lee Lloyd. 

There is a 1966 City Directory entry for "Cooper, Laurence H (Madeline) retd, 3969 Kalakaua Ave., Apt 605, Honolulu, Hawaii."  Laurance and Madeline were divorced on October 1, 1970 in Broward Co, FL and almost immediately remarried there November 28, 1970.  And there are still three marriages to find.  

Cooper also appears twice each in the Clover Field Register, Santa Monica, CA and the Parks Airport Register, East St. Louis, IL.


As of 08/29/16, this page is Google search item #1.

Dossier 2.1.76

UPLOADED: 03/23/06 REVISED: 06/17/11, 08/29/16

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of his airplanes, NR842K and NC712M, to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.


Autographed photo courtesy of Hudgin Family Collection. Compare his signature on the image with those in the Register.


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