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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.


There is no biographical file for pilot James in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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C.N. James, Mid-1920s (Source: Web)


Charles N. (Jimmie or Jimmy) James was a pioneer airmail and transport pilot. He landed once at Tucson flying the Command Aire NC929E. He carried a single passenger, J. Hushman. Based at Fullerton, CA, they were westbound from Lordsburg, NM to Yuma, AZ on Friday, May 17, 1935. He noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Fullerton, Calif."

At right is a photograph of James next to his mail plane operated by Western Air Express (WAE). Below is an image of a poster found in the garage of site visitor George Kendle. The photo, from 1941, is of a WAE Douglas DC-3 sleeper transport, NC18102, and, in the foreground, a Douglas M-2, C150, of the type James used to fly the mail in the 1920s. Of interest, the first Douglas Sleeper, NC14988, passed through Tucson and is signed in the Register on May 4, 1936.  Another photograph of C150 is at the link. Neither of the airplanes in the photograph appears in the Register, but one of the signers seen at the bottom of the poster is Charlie N. James.

Promotional Poster, 1941 (Source: Kendle)
Promotional Poster, 1941 (Source: Kendle)

The photo is labeled "Sister ships of 1926 and 1941," contrasting the changes made in air transport technology in 15 short years. The photograph is dedicated to Gus Backman, "in appreciation of your service to aviation and especially for your generous support which has assisted Western Air Lines in becoming the first airline to complete fifteen years of continuous operation - April 17, 1926 to April 17, 1941." In addition to James, the poster is signed by William A. Walker, Leo Dwerlkotte and Thos. Wolfe. A photograph of Backman from 1951 is at the link. Backman was an attorney in Salt Lake City and active in the government of that city.

The following brief biography for C.N. James is from the link:

"Charles Negus James was born February 11, 1898 in Springdale, Cedar County, Iowa. He died January 15, 1964 in Glendale, California. Charlie enlisted in the Army Air Service on April 10, 1917, before the draft was issued for overseas duty. He was sent to the Central Flying School near London, England for three months of instruction and then entered the U.S. Air Service in France, and he continued in that service until the Armistice in November 11, 1918. He returned to South Pasadena, CA and was later stationed at the U.S. Flying School at March Field, in Riverside, CA as a flying instructor. He later was in the California National Guard and spent some time flying in the U.S. Fire Patrol over the mountains from Pasadena to Santa Barbara, CA. He married June 15, 1923 Helen Mae Beers, daughter of Samuel Perry Beers, Jr. and his wife, Harriet Maria Beers. She died by suicide March 26, 1935 in North Hollywood, California [he landed at Tucson a scant two months after his wife's passing]. On April 17, 1926, the United States government established air mail service in Southern California and Charlie N. James was the first pilot hired in that service and piloted the first plane which carried air mail from Salt Lake City, UT to Los Angeles, CA. At the time he was nicknamed Jimmie (Jimmy) James and was always known by that name in the aircraft industry. He flew regular air mail and passenger schedules, from Los Angeles, CA. to Salt Lake City, UT. from 1926 to 1934. In 1934 he was made Chief Pilot and then Vice-President of Operations, for Western Air Express, later Western Airlines...."

James was a member of the Early Birds of Aviation, and a complementary biographical sketch with photographs and images of his medical and pilot certificate are at the link.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 08/18/11 REVISED: 10/01/11, 12/08/15

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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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