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There is no biographical file for pilot Gothlin in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


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Lieutenant Oliver Gothlin landed three times at Tucson. His first visit was on Wednesday, October 25, 1927. Based at San Diego, CA, Rockwell Field, he landed mid-afternoon, remained overnight and departed westbound for San Diego the next day. He flew 26-400, a Douglas O-2C. He carried a single passenger, one Major J.H. Houghton. No reason was given in the Register for their flight.

O.P. Gothlin, Popular Aviation, March, 1933 (Source: Woodling)
O.P. Gothlin, Popular Aviation, March, 1933 (Source: Woodling)


His second landing was on Tuesday, August 28, 1928. Still based at Rockwell Field, he remained at Tucson for two days this time, departing on the 31st at 7:30AM. He carried three passengers he identified as Lt. J.G. Hopkins, Burroughs and Woodall. They arrived eastbound from Yuma, AZ flying in a Douglas C-1C Transport Gothlin identified as 27-212.

Image, left, is from this article in the March, 1933 issue of Popular Aviation (PDF 400Kb). The article contains a nice summary of Gothlin's military services up to that date. It also cites fellow Register pilot John Corkville.

Further, the article describes Gothlin's job as a test pilot at the Boeing plant in Seattle, WA, where he tests for the Army, "... all Boeing types, and occasionally has an opportunity to take up one of the Douglas planes."

Since March,1929, he tested P-12 fighters and mostly Boeing's series of Army bombers. It is probably safe to say that, except for a few early and late models, most of the P-12s cited in the Davis-Monthan Register were given their initial acceptance flights by Gothlin (there are 113 landings by various P-12 models recorded in the Register).

Much of Gothlin's Web presence is centered around his census information, FindaGrave records (sparse) and news articles documenting his many assignments and promotions over the years. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, Gothlin lived at Hardin, KY. He was assigned at that time to Godman Field at Camp Knox, KY.

Guest Editor Bob Woodling provides the following news article from the Seattle (WA) Daily Times. The first is from photo feature in the September 6, 1930 issue and shows Gothlin preparing for a first flight in the cockpit of a Boeing P-12 in front of a hangar.

Gothlin at Boeing, Seattle Daily Times, September 6, 1930 (Source: Woodling)
Gothlin at Boeing, Seattle Daily Times, September 6, 1930 (Source: Woodling)

The second article is from the front page of the June 11, 1931 issue. The article described an air meet ("AIR ARMADA VISITS SEATTLE") held at Seattle that showcased military aircraft. In one of the photos accompanying the article, Gothlin is at far right. Fellow Register pilots B.M. Giles and Clarence Tinker are also in the shot.

O.P. Gothlin (R), Seattle Daily Times, July 11,1931 (Source: Woodling)
O.P. Gothlin (R), Seattle Daily Times, July 11,1931 (Source: Woodling)

Mr. Woodling says that Gothlin was, "... formerly an acceptance test pilot for the Army at Seattle. Including the third pilot in the mix, Millard Harmon, I think it makes it most likely that the three were ferrying modified P-26s with new wing flaps installed by Boeing in Seattle. The three pilots had a lot of flying experience and would have been the best choices to check out the new landing speeds and handling characteristics of the modified aircraft, and then use that knowledge to train the other pilots in the squadron, once they returned to Louisiana.

In support of the above, now Captain Gothlin's third and final landing was on Wednesday, May 15, 1935 at 12:05PM. This time he was with two fellow pilots, Carlton F. Bond and Millard Harmon. Based at Shreveport, LA, Barksdale Field, they were eastbound from Riverside, CA, March Field back to Shreveport via El Paso, TX. They flew three new Boeing P-26 fighter aircraft, 33-49 (Harmon), 33-50 (Gothlin) and 33-58 (Bond).

Gothlin Obituary, September 23, 1941 (Source: Woodling)
Gothlin Obituary, September 23, 1941 (Source: Woodling)


In September, 1935 Gothlin took command of the 77th Fighter Squadron at Barksdale Field, LA. According to the Air Corps Newsletter of July 1, 1926, he was promoted from Captain to Major in the spring of 1936. Interestingly, fellow Register pilot and flight mate Carlton F. Bond took over command of the Squadron just after Gothlin, in August 1936.

As of September 4, 1937, and until June, 1939, then Major Gothlin commanded the 72nd Test & Evaluation Squadron based at Luke Field, T.H. According to the 1940 Census, he lived, at age 45, in "190 Quarters," at Ewa, Honolulu, T.H. with wife Sarah and two daughters.

By 1941, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Army Register for 1941 lists him as having a, "Disability in the line of duty." Does anyone KNOW the nature of that disability, or how he came by it? Gothlin was born February 14, 1894 and died September 21, 1941 (unsourced obituary, right). He was a founding member of the Order of Daedalians.



The Register

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

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



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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.


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