Pilot Eyes

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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Daugherty , CD-045500-01, 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, 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.



Case, Walter H. 1927. History of Long Beach and Vicinity. S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago, IL. Chapter 47 documents Long Beach and aviation.


The thumbnail image on this page is used with permission from the archives of the San Diego Aerospace Museum

Each thumbnail has a database number, which you can use when you contact the Museum if you would like to have a full-sized, higher quality image sent directly to you. 

See the Museum’s ARCHIVES listings online to understand the scope of their holdings, and the procedures for acquiring prints.


The Russell T. Gerow Collection.

Final image, below, from The Sportsman Pilot. April 15, 1937, p. 12.

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Earl Daugherty, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)

Earl Daugherty was born April 4, 1887 in DesMoines, IA.  Photograph above, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), shows Daugherty in an unidentified aircraft which might be one of those manufactured by the company he worked for, Illinois Aero Construction Co. (see below).

Daugherty's parents moved to Long Beach, CA in 1902 and Earl graduated Long Beach schools in 1904.  He attended Long Beach Business College, but it is unclear whether he was degreed.  He worked in a bank for a while, but became interested in flying.  He learned to fly at Dominguez Field, Los Angeles, CA and received license #87 from the Aero Club of California on December 23, 1911.  He also earned a license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale on January 10, 1912. Having soloed and aircraft before December 17, 1916 qualified him for membership in the exlusive Early Birds of Aviation.

Earl Daugherty, Date Unknown

Soon after he learned to fly, he accepted a job as pilot and construction engineer for the Illinois Aero Construction Co., Coal City, IL.  This company built airplanes and conducted a flying school and promoted exhibitions.  He flew their planes, carried passengers and gave exhibitions in the Chicago area. 

In September 1912 he flew to the Chicago Air Meet at the Cicero Flying Field.  By the end of October, the mid-west flying season was ending and Earl flew back to California.  He continued this shuttle between California and the mid-west for the next two years, carrying passengers, performing and offering flight instruction at each venue.

Two photographs, below, capture Daugherty during his pre-WWI flight activities. Site visitor George McDonald offers the photographs of Daugherty, his airplane, and site visitor McDonald's grandmother, Pauline Clara Robinson. Ms. Robinson was a parachutist that participated in the Daugherty flying circus air shows.

The two photographs were taken at Long Beach, CA circa July 14, 1917. Mr. McDonald says about the photographs and his grandmother, "My Grandmother told me she would bail out of the  airplane over the beach, which was through a trap down below the seat she sat on."

Pauline Clara Robinson, Earl Daugherty and "Eileen," Ca. July 14, 1917 (Source: McDonald)
Pauline Clara Robinson, Earl Daugherty and "Eileen," Ca. July 14, 1917 (Source: McDonald)

The second photo shows Daugherty at center with leather coat and Ms. Robinson at his left hand. The flying clothes and bathing togs are typical of the era.

Earl Daugherty (C) & Pauline Clara Robinson, Ca. July 14, 1917 (Source: McDonald)

During WWI, Earl was a flight instructor at March and Rockwell Fields.  In 1919 Daugherty opened his own airfield on the corner of American Avenue and Willow Street in Long Beach.  Business was good; he hired more instructors and bought more airplanes, and put on exhibitions to attract customers.  As part of his stunts he hired one Clarence "Ace" Bragunier to wing walk.  Please follow the link to see two spectacular images of Daugherty and Bragunier at work. By 1920 he was known as “The King of Aviation” in Long Beach.

Through 1922-23 his business grew more and he and a colleague organized the California Curtiss Company to operate on his field.  This venture made them sales distributors for Curtiss planes and engines in southern California and Arizona.  He kept 7-10 airplanes busy with instruction, exhibition and transport during this time.

Below, two images allegedly of Daugherty and his airplanes shared with us by site visitor M. Campbell.

Earl Daugherty (?), Date, Location & Airplane Unknown (Source: Campbell)
Earl Daugherty, Date, Location & Airplane Unknown (Source: Campbell)

I say "allegedly," because John Underwood, a knowledgeable source, states, "The first two Campbell pictures reputed to be Earl S. Daugherty don't look anything like him.   The [first] airplane is his Nieup[ort] 28 prior to mods by Joe York, who clipped the wings and installed one-piece interplane struts."

Earl Daugherty (?), Date, Location & Airplane Unknown (Source: Campbell)
Earl Daugherty, Date, Location & Airplane Unknown (Source: Campbell)

While the airplanes are clearly Daugherty's, the people may not be him.

Daugherty made national headlines in 1923 by marrying his wife while piloting his own airplane over Long Beach.  He got into the growing motion picture flying business and made a national reputation from his work in some of the early aviation films.

In 1924 Long Beach was growing rapidly and Pacific Avenue cut through his field.  He moved to what is now the Long Beach Municipal Airport.  In 1925 he announced he was retiring from the rush of active flying and would fly “by appointment only.”  He continued to deal in plane distributorships and as a west coast representative for east coast aircraft manufacturers. Below, an undated photograph of Daugherty in his cockpit from around this period. This photo is shared by site visitor Renee Nagel, who identifies it as, "... a neat old original photo of pilot Earl S. Daugherty ....  On the side of the airplane it reads Aviator Earl S. Daugherty Long Beach Cal." Santa Claus stands by the airplane, so we can probably identify the month as December.

Earl Daugherty and Santa Claus, Date Unknown (Source: Nagel)
Earl Daugherty and Santa Claus, Date Unknown (Source: Nagel)

Below, from site visitor Mike Gerow, is an outstanding, "never-before-published photo of Earl Daugherty from my dad's collection. It's the clearest and most detailed of the 'famous people' shots. You see E.D. standing in front of the Ryan M-1 demonstrator [note the beautiful tooling on the cowls and wheel covers] .... probably taken at Long Beach c. 1927. You can use it on your site if you wish to, but I would only ask that you please credit the Russell T. Gerow Collection. The original 4 x 6 print is perfectly crisp, clear and without yellowing." I'm happy to tell you the photo is, indeed, courtesy of the Russell T. Gerow Collection. Thanks very much, Mike. See Milo Burcham's page for other images from Mike.

Earl Daugherty, ca. 1927


Earl Daugherty, ca. 1928


In June 1928 Daugherty became the west coast representative for the E.M. Laird Company of Chicago, IL.  He was given a new Laird plane for demonstration work.  Earl Daugherty landed at Tucson on October 3, 1928.  Again, he carried as passenger his wife.  They were westbound to Long Beach, CA from El Paso, TX.  They flew in 7617, the new Laird LCB. 

The image, left, from a period newspaper, shows him next to a Navy Vought (UO-1?). The same, but better quality, image is viewable on the Joe Lewis page. Earl had two months and five days more to live.

On December 8, 1928 he was flying his Laird with two passengers at the Long Beach Municipal Airport.  During a barrel roll, the left wings collapsed and he had no chance of regaining control.  His passengers were W.E. Monfort, City Editor for the Long Beach Press Telegram, and Elmer Starr, Manager of the Pacific Engraving Company.  None were wearing parachutes.  Daugherty packed a lot into his 42 years.

Below is notification of Daugherty's crash as it appears in the January 9, 1929 Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter. Daugherty was an officer in the Navy Reserve. His passing was a shock to civil and military pilots alike.


Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, January 9, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, January 9, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

The BuAeroNews of December 4, 1929 announced, below, that Long Beach Municipal Airport was officially named Daugherty Field.

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, December 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, December 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)


Dossier 2.1.79

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 04/03/06 REVISED: 06/09/06, 01/02/08, 12/21/09, 03/09/11, 04/09/11, 06/2/11, 01/29/14, 11/26/14

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of his airplane, Laird 7617, to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.


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