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There is no biographical file for pilot Griggs 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.


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Hubert Griggs landed once at Tucson, Friday, May 9, 1930 at 10:45AM. He carried two unidentified passengers in the Sikorsky S-38 NC303N. Based at Chicago, IL, they were northwest bound from El Paso, TX. They stayed on the ground for an hour, then departed to Phoenix, AZ. Griggs wrote in the Remarks column of the Register, "None yet."

Below, Griggs stands with cigarette at left on the deck of NC303N. At the time, knickers, knee socks and spectator shoes were in style, and golf clubs were made of wood. Part of the airplane registration number is visible over the golf clubs. It is not clear if the berets on Griggs and his mechanic were part of a uniform. They both appear to have a pin or logo on them. The context of the photograph, and identification of the other people, is outlined below.

Hubert Griggs (L), Ca. 1930 (Source: Woodling)
Hubert Griggs (L), Ca. 1927-33 (Source: Woodling)


Dallas (TX) Morning News, May 11, 1930 (Source: Woodling)
Dallas Morning News, May 11, 1930 (Source: Woodling)

Griggs was the personal pilot for B.J. Grigsby. The link quotes the following, "Circa 1930, Bertram James Grigsby (1884-1954), an electrical engineer and president of the Grigsby-Grunow Company, manufacturer of the Majestic Radio, with his pilot and mechanic flew from Chicago to Ocean Springs for a holiday and round of golf at Gulf Hills. Grigsby’s Sikorsky amphibian plane landed in Old Fort Bayou and was met at the Gulf Hills’ harbor by Harvey Wright Branigar (1874-1953) and entourage. L-R: Hubert Griggs, pilot; unidentified mechanic; Mr. Grigsby; George Mueller; H.W. Branigar shaking hands with Mr. Grigsby; Oscar Spilman [sic]; Richard Richsteig; O.H. Olsen; Stewart Bell; and John G. ‘Jack’ Little (1882-1937), Mr. Branigar’s brother-in-law and resident manager of Gulf Hills. The Grigsby-Grunow Company was founded in 1927 by B.J. Grigsby and William Carl Grunow and by 1933 had become insolvent, another victim of the Great Depression."

At right, an article from the Dallas (TX) Morning News of May 11, 1930 documents the flight and some of the people pictured in the photo above. The Gulf Hills Club was located near Ocean Springs, MS. Founded in 1927, the Club is still in operation and has a good Web presence.

Unsourced News Article, February 9, 1930 (Source: Woodling)
Unsourced News Article, February 9, 1930 (Source: Woodling)


At left, besides citing an allegedly new method of taking off with an amphibious airplane, we find a possible clue to the reason Griggs and NC303N stopped at Tucson. Their visit might have been part of the U.S. tour cited in the last sentence of the article. This would be an extended, but not unreasonable, tour from at least February to May. From the dress of the people in the photograph, it was cool in Mississippi at the time of their landing. The two unidentified passengers logged in the Register could have been Grigsby and his mechanic. Incidentally, there have been incidences of Piper Cubs on floats taking off and landing on wet grass.

Earlier, Griggs was a U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer who received his NAP wings in 1921. He is listed as "Herbert B. Briggs" on the Navy's NAP list and is pilot number 39. During his Navy tenure, he was involved in a rescue attempt on Lake Michigan as cited below. Similar articles were syndicated around the country.

The Salt Lake (UT) Tribune of March 8, 1929 reported under the headline HOPE VANISHING FOR MISSING TRIO, "Universal hope was held tonight for the rescue of two men and a woman who were lost on Lake Michigan off Kenosha last night. The party left Kenosha in a boat to lay some nets. They planned to go out about 20 miles and before nightfall when they failed to return the coast guard was notified. Throughout the day the coast guard and Chief Aviation Pilot Hubert Griggs of the Great Lakes naval training station in a plane sought the missing party but without success."

Griggs' boss, B.J. Grigsby appeared in at least two issues of The New York Times during the late 1930s, cited for hosting a dinner for friends at the Biltmore in New York, and as a passenger on an ocean liner arriving at New York from "Channel ports."

I have nothing about Griggs' personal or family life, or his early Navy career. If you can help, please let me KNOW. According to a Ft. Wayne, IN business directory from 1914, Griggs was a "tester" for Ft. Wayne Electric (?) Works. His residence was listed as 453 W. DeWald. The naval Reserve Register for January 1, 1943 lists him as a machinist/Warrant Officer born April, 1890; enlisted in active duty April 13, 1925. Similarly, the Register for 1949 cites him as a Chief Warrant Officer as of September 1, 1943. Griggs was born February  13, 1889 (or April, 1890, depending on the source) and died in 1965.



The Register

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

Thanks to site visitor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.


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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