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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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


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Burdett Fuller, Date Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Burdett Fuller, Date Unknown (Source: SDAM)

Burdett Fuller landed once at Tucson, Saturday, September 11, 1926 at 4:00PM. He carried a single passenger, Miss Thelma Anderson. Based at Los Angeles, CA, they were westbound from Lordsburg, NM to Los Angeles. They remained overnight, departing at 6:00 the next morning.

The San Diego Aerospace Museum (SDAM) holds a collection of 173 photographs donated by Fuller's grandson in 2006. The collection consists of 2 scrapbooks, a photo album, and a logbook. Some of the information and photos on this page come from that collection. Thanks to the SDAM for making these, and other items, freely available for Web users.

Swallow NC8736, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Swallow NC8736, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)


The airplane Fuller and his passenger flew through Tucson was a Swallow he identified clearly in the Register as simply "236." According to aerofiles.com, there is no Swallow aircraft with either the registration or serial number "236." Another source lists only two aircraft which ever held NC236 as their registration numbers; they were a Curtiss and a Douglas.

Among Fuller's photographs in the SDAM collection is this one, above left, of a Swallow identified as NC8736. It was serial number 136. The presence of the photo in his collection, as well as the final digits, "36," suggest that Fuller might have misidentified his airplane in the Register. Regardless, the airplane he flew looked like the one pictured.

You can view the entire Fuller collection at the link. It contains photographs of airplanes, people and places relevant to his life in aviation. SDAM's description of the collection is abridged as follows. Note mention of a few additional Register pilots whom Fuller taught to fly. And notice his use of his airplanes for, "therapy for hearing disabilities." It was popular at the time to take people with hearing disabilities aloft in an airplane to see if the air pressure differences on the ear drum might cure their ailment.

"Burdett Fuller was a naval reserve flyer who started a flying school and passenger service that grew into an active operation known as Burdett Airport and Burdett Airline located off Western Avenue at 94th Street in Southwestern Los Angeles. Fuller began his airline in 1919 with war surplus Jennys and opened his Burdett Airport in 1922. Primarily a flight instruction operation, he taught Jack Frye, his partner, Bobbie Trout, Paul Richter, and Jack Maxness how to fly. His flight logbook indicates about 40% of his flying time was instruction with charter passenger, sightseeing, aerial photography, and therapy for hearing disabilities filling most of the entries from 1928 to 1935.

"Recognized as a pioneer commercial pilot, licensed as Transport Pilot #538, Fuller logged 10,031 hours, 38,225 flights, and 18,259 passengers during his commercial pilot career. He never lost a passenger or student. Fuller sold his interest in Burdett Airline and Airport to Jack Frye in 1927 and later worked for Douglas Aircraft as a test pilot.

"His student and partner, Jack Frye, developed Burdett Airline into mergers with Aero Corp. and Standard Airlines, later flying under Western Air Express (an early U.S. mail carrier) and finally into Trans World Airline (TWA) where he was president through the 1940s. Another historic aviation venture involving Fuller and Frye was known as the "13 Black Cats" a stunt team working for the pioneer movie industry in the early 1920s. Jack Frye was one of the pilots. They were based at Burdett Airport, reportedly the first private airport in Western United States...."

Below, from the SDAM collection, is Fuller's Burdett Airport operation. The date is not specified.

Fuller's Airfield Operation, Los Angeles, CA, Date Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Fuller's Airfield Operation, Los Angeles, CA, Date Unknown (Source: SDAM)



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