Marie Graham landed at the Airfield May 19, 1930
at 10:30 AM. She was flying a Great Lakes airplane,
NC207K with passenger Victoria Thompson. They were flying
from Phoenix to Tucson. Pilot Graham noted in the remarks
column "Arizona Air Service."
Marie Graham was the first female flight instructor
hired in AZ. According to Ruth Reinhold (reference,
left), she also worked for Scenic Airways, Sky Harbor,
Phoenix. She held limited commercial license number
8698, a relatively low number. She was a member of the
We are fortunate with Marie Graham to have a series
of news articles that parallel and illuminate her activities
in aviation for a few years.
Below is a news article which describes one of her
early jobs in aviation. The obligatory pilot photo with
leather helmet and goggles is an icon of the era.
Although this article is of unknown source and date,
from its context with other known publications it is
probably from late 1929 or early 1930 (see elsewhere
SHE RECEIVES HER PILOT LICENSE
The next two articles document her receiving her pilot's
license. She was the very first woman to receive a license
in the state of Arizona. Articles are from the Tucson Citizen.
According to a quick lookup of her address in Streets &
Trips, she lived in a neighborhood now encircled by Interstate
routes 10 and 17 in downtown Phoenix.
SHE PRACTICES HER CRAFT
This one corroborates the first, undated article above.
Unfortunately, Miss Bradley and her Robin did not enjoy the
honor of being documented in the Register, however, because
they were not among the 26 entries for the month of January
1930. For whatever reason, Marie neglected to sign in or out.
Perhaps the weather was a factor.
Note that the Davis-Monthan Airfield is referred to as the
Mayse airport. That is a holdover from when the location of
the airfield was at what is now the rodeo grounds at the corner
of 6th St. and Irvington in Tucson. All that is left of that
airfield is the original hangar building , which is now used
as a buggy museum.
The Santa Rita Hotel is the same one Lindbergh
stayed in during his visit just a couple of years previous.
SHE INCREASES HER SKILL LEVEL
This article, left, from the Arizona Republican of March
14, 1930, documents her receiving her limited commercial license.
The end of the article is truncated, as it was at the Arizona
Historical Society archives where I acquired it.
Her achievement was a big deal back in 1930, as not many
women had acquired the training.
The other article, right, from the Tucson Star
of March 23, 1930 belatedly notes her achievement.
HER VISIT TO THE DAVIS-MONTHAN AIRFIELD
In the article, above, from the Tucson Star we pinpoint her
visit to the Airfield when she signed the Register on May
19, 1930. Her passenger, Victoria (Mrs. Mark B.) Thompson
is also mentioned in the article.
Their quest for funding, however, was already moot at Tucson,
because no funds were available to support an Arizona female
candidate in the 1930 Air Derby (see the next article, of
an earlier date). She did not compete in the 1930 Derby.
Pilot Jack Thornburg, mentioned at the end of the article,
signed the Register just below Graham. They were the only
two pilots and their aircraft to represent themselves in the
Register that day.
Lack of funds? Only two airplanes visiting the Airfield on
that day? Effects of the Depression?
UPLOADED: 10/16/05 REVISED: