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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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


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Kansas City Star, October 27, 1927 (Source: Woodling)


Arthur Hardgrave landed once at Tucson as a passenger with Gene Gabbert. Based at Kansas City, MO, they were westbound from Lordburg, NM in the Inland they identified as NX7255. They landed on Wednesday, September 5, 1928 at 10:35AM. They departed at 11:00AM for the "La Osa Guest Ranch," which was written in the destination column of the Register.

La Osa was owned by Hardgrave and his wife, Glenn (d. December 2, 1971), who bought the property in 1927 as a vacation home and an investment. The article, right, from the Kansas City Star, October 27, 1927 cites the purchase and details the Hardgrave's plans for continuing their permanent residence in Kansas City. La Osa is still in business as a guest ranch and you can stay there today. Some articles say that Hardgrave bought the La Osa Ranch for his wife's birthday and gave it to her to manage (see below).

The article cites Hardgrave as the president of the City Ice Company in Kansas City, but was an an electrical engineer by training, and an executive, venture capitalist and entrepreneur with broad interests. A pilot himself, he was impressed having flown in NX7255, which was the prototype for the model named the Sport. Some details of his interests are at the link, as well as some context for his flight through Tucson.

On September 5th, Hardgrave and Gabbert were headed for Los Angeles, CA Mines Field and the National Air Races. Their intention was to display their airplane and perhaps attract funding for its manufacture. Apparently unsuccessful in finding financial support, Hardgrave became interested in sponsoring the design himself and formed and became the president of the Inland Aircraft Company in Kansas City at the Municipal Airport, Fairfax.

Two years later, on September 1, 1930, Hardgrave won first place in the 1930 National Air Races, Sportsman Pilot Open Race, in an Inland Sport model W-500 Super Sport. This was race event #41 and the first three places were swept by Inland Sports.

Arthur Hardgrave, Obituary, Tucson Daily Citizen, October 3, 1958 (Source: Woodling)
Arthur Hardgrave, Obituary, Tucson Daily Citizen, October 3, 1958 (Source: Woodling)



As with many early aircraft companies during the Great Depression, Inland filed for bankruptcy in 1932. Hardgrave was undeterred. Among his other early management experiences, he was president of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and later became a board member of Helio Aircraft. Upon his death, he was president of his local Pepsi Cola Bottlers Association, and had been president of the Chicago Pepsi Cola Company.

Hardgrave was born in Texas, August 26, 1881 and passed away October 2, 1958 at Tucson, AZ after a six-year retirement there. At left is his obituary from the Tucson Daily Citizen of October 3, 1958. His and Glenn's headstones are from Find A Grave, below. They are interred at the Evergreen Memorial Park, Tucson, AZ.

Arthur and Glenn Hardgrave Headstones (Source: Find A Grave)
Arthur and Glenn Hardgrave Head Stones (Source: Find A Grave)


Hardgrave and his wife were an aviation family. Both were pilots, and she routinely flew solo from Kansas City to Arizona to visit La Osa. A retrospective article in the Tucson Daily Citizen of October 13, 1959 describes her flying from Kansas City to Arizona in, "... a Sky Roamer monoplane manufactured by her husband's company."

According to aerofiles.com, there is no model of Inland aircraft named the "Sky Roamer." Perhaps "Sky Roamer" was the pet name Mrs. Hardgrave gave her airplane, as was commonly done during the Golden Age, and the news reporter misunderstood.

Regardless, the photograph of the airplane in the article, although not good quality, looks like an Inland Sport. She used her airplane to commute cross-country for the ten years she owned and managed La Osa.

The article from the Tucson Daily Citizen, below, written only a year after Arthur Hardgrave's passing, revealed that she was, besides manager of La Osa ("The Bear"), an amateur correspondent/journalist who wrote articles for the Kansas City Journal-Post that she sent back to Kansas City. She was her own person, with an egalitarian personality unusual for the era, fully capable of living and thriving in her husband's absence. It is curious that neither she nor her husband ever signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register as pilot in command.

Tucson Daily Citizen, October 13, 1959, Glenn Hardgrave Interview (Source: Woodling)



The Register


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



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.


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.  Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.


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