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This information comes from the biographical file for passenger Havens, CH-231000-01, 02 et seq., reviewed by me 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 here.


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. The book includes the Loening model flown by Dallas and Havens.


April 9, 1928. "Loening Amphibian Crosses Continent". Aviation, 24:15. 918.

Aircraft Yearbook. 1929.

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Beckwith Havens, ca. 1920s
Beckwith Havens, ca. 1920s

Beckwith "Becky" Havens was born in New York City May 29, 1890. He died May 9, 1969 and was, at the time, the last of the original 13 aviators hired by Glenn Curtiss to demonstrate airplanes. In between he lived a grand life in aviation. This link, which documents the Early Birds of Aviation, provides images as well as some information about the aviation career of Mr. Havens.

Havens joined the Curtiss Aeroplane Company in 1910 as a salesman. He ran Curtiss exhibit at the 1910 New York Air Show where he displayed the Albany to New York $10,000 prize plane (note that it was Curtiss' landing in Poughkeepsie, NY during this prize-winning flight that imprinted John Miller with the desire to become a pilot.

He was taught to fly by Glenn Curtiss and made his first solo flight May 1, 1911 at Hammondsport, NY. He joined the Curtiss Exhibition Team in June and during 1911-13 made exhibition flights in 13 states and Cuba.

One of the events he was assigned to by Curtiss was the Northern Wisconsin State Fair between September 19 and 22, 1911. He made two flights each day, which were praised in a letter written to the Curtiss Exhibition Company by the advertising manager of the Fair. That letter, from Havens' NASM biographical file, is below.


Letter, September 23, 1911

Similar letters from the Chanute, KS Commercial Club and the president of the State Fair of Texas cite equal praise for Havens and calls him, "...the majestic 'Condor of the Clouds'". This quiet competence and distinction followed him throughout his flying career.

Havens flew the first airmail at Savannah, GA and made the first flight from Bridgeport, CT to Fort Jefferson, LI across Long Island Sound in late May, 1912. He carried a passenger on this flight, John Dibert.

On October 7, 1913 the NY Times reports he attempted and completed the first passenger-carrying flight along the Hudson River from Albany to Staten Island, NY. Havens and J. Verplanck departed Albany at 1:32PM and headed south. With a stop for fuel at Fishkill, NY they sighted the Statue of Liberty and arrived, in fog, in the Staten Island area near 7PM. The fog made them land at a different location about three miles from their intended landing. Below, courtesy of site visitor Mr. Udart, is a photograph of Havens posed in a slicker standing on a Curtiss airplane. The photograph is from his grandfather's album titled, "William B. Udart Sr. friends 1909-1939." It appears to be a very hazy day at best.

Beckwith Havens With Curtiss Airplane on the Hudson River (?), Ca. 1913 (?) (Source: Udart)

This flight wasn't without initial trials, however. As reported in the NY Herald Tribune of October 16, 1913, he and his passenger, J. Verplanck, were again interrupted in their flight flight north at Tarrytown, NY due to high wind. They landed on the River, were towed to shore and continued their flight the next day. A second photograph courtesy of Mr. Udart is below. It shows Havens' airplane on a body of water, probably the Hudson River. From the wind blowing the smoke from the smokestacks on the far bank, we can estimate it was fairly strong. It would be a reasonable guess that this photo and the one above document one or both of his precautionary landings cited in The NY Times and the NY Herald Tribune. Please examine a third photograph shared by Mr. Udart at the bottom of this page.

Beckwith Havens' Curtiss Airplane on the Hudson River (?), Ca. 1913 (?) (Source: Udart)

Havens had joined the Signal Corps via the New York National Guard and flew in joint maneuvers of Regulars and National Guard in Connecticut in 1912. FAI Airplane Pilot Certificate #127 (some sources say #124) was issued to him on June 1, 1912. Parenthetically, an oversight kept him from receiving Air Corps wings at the time he flew for the Signal Corps. This oversight was corrected in 1966 at age 76!

He was a test pilot for the U.S. Navy during WWI at Hampton Roads, VA. After the war he was a demonstration pilot and salesman throughout the State of New York for Curtiss in New York from 1920-22. In 1921 he joined former flying colleague Charles C. Witmer to form the Airship Manufacturing Company of America in Hammondsport, NY to develop and manufacture all types of lighter-than-air craft and accessories. In 1923 Witmer resigned due to ill health, his interest was bought by another Curtiss pilot, and the name was changed to Airships, Inc., with Havens remaining as VP and Treasurer.

In 1928, Havens took a leave of absence from Airships, Inc. to act as sales manager for Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation in 1928, which brought him to Tucson as copilot and passenger.

"Aviation", April 9, 1928, page 918
"Aviation", April 9, 1928, page 918

Havens was a co-pilot/passenger on a flight to the Davis-Monthan Airfield on Friday March 9, 1928. His pilot was B.R. Dallas. THey were flying aircraft number 28-81, a standard service Loening OA-1C. His NASM dossier identifies this flight as the first coast-to-coast for an amphibian aircraft as well as the first ever cross-country demonstration trip for Loening. Havens is Loening sales manager. The 1929 Aircraft Yearbook also notes this flight on page 156. Havens was 38 years old. They were on the last leg westbound from New York to Rockwell Field, San Diego, CA. This flight was documented, left, on page 918 of the April 9, 1928 edition of "Aviation".

Below is an excellent image of the Loening OA-1C from the book cited in the left sidebar (note the difference in model nomenclature). It is wearing the roundel of the US Army Air Corps, much like the ship Dallas and Havens were delivering to Rockwell Field..

Loening OA-1C Type, 1929
Loening OA-1C Type, 1929

Note the water-cooled, inverted Liberty engine, with radiator at the top of the center pontoon.

OA-1C Three-View Silhouette
OA-1C Three-View Silhouette

At right, also from the book cited in the left sidebar, is a three-view silhouette of the Loening OA-1C. This diagram was used as a device for training US Army Air Corp personnel how to identify the various aircraft in the military fleet of the time.

From 1931-32 he was special representative for aviation for the Vacuum Oil Company. In 1932 he became factory representative in the northeast for the Fairchild Aircraft Company. He was the northeast distributor for Fairchild Aircraft from 1932 to 1942, based at Roosevelt Field, LI, NY. He worked this distributorship with Richard Depew. Again on September 25, 1937 Havens flew his first passenger, John Dibert, across Long Island Sound in a Fairchild to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their first flight in 1912.

He was commanding officer of the New York State Civil Air Patrol in 1941, and went on active duty with the U.S. Navy during 1942-1946. He held the rank of Lt. Commander and finished his service as commanding officer of the Naval Air Base at San Julian, Cuba.

After WWII he became sales manager and pilot for Embry-Riddle, Miami, FL. His total flight experience is unknown, since he stopped logging his flight time after he passed the 5,000 hour mark.

On October 6, 1953, Havens, his wife and a Mr. Braun of the Edo Corporation commemorated the 40th anniversary of his 1913 passenger flight up the Hudson River by flying a Cessna aircraft along the same route. Mr. Verplanck was unable to join them due to illness in his family. The entire aviation industry celebrated its 50th anniversary that December. It was suggested at the time that their flight along the Hudson was the closest in time to the original Wright Brothers flight to be re-flown by the same pilot.

Havens is an original Early Bird and served as president of that organization in 1941. He held commercial license number 2207.

Below is an unidentified photograph from Mr. Udart's grandfather's album. Mr. Udart says about his photo, ":The photo attached labeled unknown man, shares facial feature resemblance to Beckwith Havens, nose, jawline, etc, but with the hat on, it is hard to say if it is him and at what age.  My Grandfather and his Father along with some friends went to Panama in 1908 or 1909 and this may be a photo from that time period...just not sure." We think it might be Beckwith Havens. Can anyone CORROBORATE our guess?

Possibly Beckwith Havens (Source: Udart)


Dossier 2.2.48

UPLOADED: 01/28/09 REVISED: 06/25/08, 03/03/14

The Register
I'm looking for better photographs of passenger Havens to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
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