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There is no biographical file for pilot Johnson 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, while supplies last.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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, while supplies last.


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.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. 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.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.



Norbert, John. 2003. Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue in Flight. Purdue University Press. 456pp. ISBN 9781557534897.


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"Flying wasn't so complicated in those days. You just got in and flew."

J. M. Johnson landed once at Tucson, Thursday, February 6, 1930 at 5:00PM. He carried his wife, Trudy, in the airplane he identified as the Buhl NC9632, a CA-6 Air Sedan. Based at Marysville, MI, they were eastbound from Los Angeles, CA to El Paso, TX. They remained overnight at Tucson, departing the next morning at 7:45.

J.M. Johnson, Date Unknown (Source: Find
A Grave)
J.M. Johnson, Date Unknown (Source: Find A Grave)


A site visitor from Canada provides the following information. He states, "James Mussey Johnson had a distinguished career as an early test pilot, among other contributions to American aviation. At the time of his arrival at D-M on Feb. 6, 1930, Johnson was Chief Test Pilot and Sales Manager for the Buhl Aircraft Company of Marysville, MI. He was travelling with his wife, Gertrude (Trudy), who also had a significant career in aviation."

Our visitor shares with us the portrait at left as well as a photograph of Johnson and Trudy at the link. As well as the photos, there are numerous anecdotes on that page related to Johnson's flying life.

He also links us to Find A Grave, which provides the following information.

"Test Pilot. Born in Helena, Arkansas, he graduated from Purdue University in 1907 with a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering. Johnson attended the Curliss Aviation School in Newport News, Virginia in 1914 and became an instructor there in 1915.

"He became one of the nation's first government test pilots for World War I airplanes at Langley Field in 1917. Later that year, he became the Chief Test Pilot at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio until 1920. He became president of the Johnson Flying Service from 1922 to 1925 and won the eighth event at the International Air Race in 1924.

"Johnson became an inspector for the Department of Commerce from 1927 to 1928 and the Chief Test Pilot and sales manager for the Buhl Aircraft Company in Detroit, Michigan from 1928 to 1932. Johnson held several other aviator positions including that of a pilot for United Airlines in the late 1940's. Johnson eventually retired to Weslaco, Texas for many years until moving to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1968 where he died at St. George Hospital when he was 83 years old. "

Chapter three of the Norbert book cited and linked in the left sidebar (pp. 69-90) contains biographical information about Johnson. On page 78 you'll learn that Johnson's wife, Trudy, was also a pilot. Page 85ff sites her flight experience, including serving as copilot with her husband on transcontinental trips, such as the one that brought them through Tucson.

Johnson is also represented by a very brief biography in the Who's Who volume cited in the REFERENCES. His collections of papers, photographs and log books are kept at Purdue University. Johnson was born July 19, 1885 at Helena, AR. He died Aug. 21, 1968 at Cincinnati,OH.



The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Johnson and his airplane to include on this page. I'm also interested in information and photographs of his wife, Trudy. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


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