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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot LeBoutillier, CL-211000-01, 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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


Juptner, Joseph. 1962-1981. U.S. Civil Aircraft. Volumes 1-9. Aero Publishers, Inc. Fallbrook, CA.


Some of this information is from the "Blue Book of Aviation", Roland W. Hoagland, Ed., published in 1932 by The Hoagland Company, Publishers, Los Angeles, CA. 292 pp.

Chicago Tribune. October 25, 1970.

"Queen 'High' in Air Dash Across Atlantic". OAKLAND TRIBUNE, June 12, 1928.

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Oliver "Boots" LeBoutillier,
ca. 1932
(Source: NASM)
Oliver "Boots" LeBoutillier, ca. 1932


Oliver “Boots” LeBoutillier was born May 24, 1894 at Montclair, NJ.  He was educated through Columbia University.  During WWI he served from July 1916 to April 1919 in the Royal Naval Air Service, attached to Squadrons 3, 9 and 209 on the Belgian front and the Somme.  He received the British Distinguished Flying Cross and accumulated 10 "kills".

Image, left, from the "Blue Book of Aviation" cited in the left sidebar. Image, below, from Chicago Tribune 10/25/1970.

"Boots" LeBoutillier, WWI
"Boots" LeBoutillier, WWI

After his military service he pursued aviation through the 1920s with the Curtiss Airplane & Motor Company, barnstorming his own planes, and with a sky-writing firm from 1923-1927.  He was western manager for Sky Writing Corp. of America with headquarters at Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys, CA.  He held Transport Pilot license no. 710.

In the late 1920s, he worked in the movie industry and was a member of the Motion Picture Pilots Association.  In that capacity, he was friends with Pancho Barnes, Art Goebel and Al Wilson.  He “dabbled” in air racing, but was uniformly unsuccessful in his attempts. 


He participated in the September 1928 National Air Races “On to Los Angeles” event.  He flew a Bellanca named “North Star” owned by Mrs. James Stillman.  LeBoutillier and copilot George King (not a Register signer) did not finish. Image, below, from the New York Evening Graphic, September 12, 1928.


George King (L) & "Boots" LeBoutillier
George King (L) & "Boots" LeBoutillier

LeBoutillier's NASM dossier holds several news clippings from late December 1928 describing his preparations, with navigator Lewis A. Yancey, to fly the “North Star” from Roosevelt Field, LI, NY to Brazil via France Field, Panama Canal Zone.  Their intent was to arrive at Pernambuco, service the airplane, and then attempt a non-stop return from there to Roosevelt, a distance of about 5,000 miles.

After several delays and an abandoned initial take-off run (soft runway), they finally took off from Roosevelt at 12:14PM on December 31.  Alas, after only three minutes aloft they dumped their fuel and made a wide circle back to land at Mitchel Field at 12:17PM.  LeBoutillier attributed his abort to “engine trouble”.

On February 14, 1929 a news item in the Newark Star-Eagle announced Leboutillier’s intention to fly the Bellanca to Montreal, Canada, thence to Latok in the north woods to visit Mrs. Stillman.  The airplane was to be fitted with skis at Montreal.

Of interest regarding his military flying is that he served in air combat with the unit that shot down Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the “Red Baron”) on April 21, 1918.  In his later life (1970s) he was interviewed for at least two news articles reminiscing about his experience on April 21.




The Chicago Tribune of Sunday October 25, 1970 published one such interview where LeBoutillier sides with the theory that fellow Pilot, Captain Roy Brown, was responsible for the shooting of von Richthoven, rather than Australian ground fire. 

LeBoutillier & The Red Baron (Source: LeBoutillier)
LeBoutillier & The Red Baron


LeBoutillier's Sopwith Triplane, WWI (Source: LeBoutillier)
LeBoutillier's Sopwith Triplane, WWI

He used as evidence his eyewitness view of the incident (from his airplane immediately above).  1) He observed Brown’s fire entering von Ricthoven’s fuselage in the area of the cockpit, 2) the shuddering and hesitation of von Richthoven’s airplane as a result of the blast of fire, and the resultant uncoordinated (flat) turn and wobbly glide into the ground.  LeBoutillier hypothesizes that von Richthoven was dead before he hit the earth.  3) The post accident analysis of the Red Baron’s wound suggests that might have been the case, as the bullet entered his right armpit, proceeded transversely across his chest and exited under his left nipple.  4) The angle of the shot agreed more with an aerial source for the bullet, rather than a ground source. But, see this link for the opposite view. In a 1973 article, LeBoutillier was hailed then as the only living participant in the Red Baron’s last dogfight. Two images above courtesy of A.P. LeBoutillier. He also provides us with an article from 1981 available here. This article further explores the Red Baron shoot down. This animated simulation of the shoot down, which cites LeBoutillier, is worth a look (YouTube video; 6 min).

LeBoutillier landed solo at Tucson on August 16, 1929 flying Aeromarine-Klemm NC39K. Based at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, NY, he was westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. Image, below, of his airplane from the Juptner reference in the left sidebar (this airplane is c/n 2-44; cf. Juptner volume 3, p. 18).

Aeromarine-Klemm NC39K
Aeromarine-Klemm NC39V

He identified his purpose with NC39K as a "ferry", probably from the manufacturer on Long Island to its new owner in California. From the sign in the background ("West Coast Air Transport") this photo was taken after Boots' visit to Tucson. Does anyone recognize the location?

Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is an informal, undated photograph of LeBoutillier.

O.C. LeBoutillier, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)


As happens sometimes on dmairfield.org, site visitors find relationships between and among the people, airplanes and images that are not apparent to me when I build the individual Web pages. Here's an example that is simply conjecture, but which might be historically interesting. Consider the Klemm above. It's a low-wing airplane, two-tone paint scheme (light wings; darker fuselage) with squared-off vertical and horizontal stabilizers. Site visitor Mike Gerow got out his loupe and put two and two together. He suggests that this image may capture NC39K landing at Long Beach, perhaps on the same day LeBoutillier left Tucson. Bear with us on this.

I opened the Long Beach image in a separate window for you. Slide that image next to the one below and follow along. In the image of the Long Beach airport you can see a tiny airplane on the ground with a dust plume behind it just beneath the word "Reserved" on the image. Now, Mr. Gerow provides the image below, which is an enlargement of that airplane from the original photograph in his possession.

Klemm NC39K at Long Beach?
Klemm NC39K at Long Beach?

While it is impossible to know for sure if this airplane is NC39K, it definitely looks like a Klemm, and the paint scheme, as well as the broad vertical stabilizer, are suggestive. Further, there weren't that many Klemms around (a few dozen were built), and the timing is right: LeBoutillier was in Tucson in August, 1929, and the image of Long Beach Airport is dated "late 1920s". Mr Gerow notes, "...we can further date the Long Beach image to after May 10, 1928 (when the U.S. Naval Reserve facility was dedicated) but before May 1930, when the City of Long Beach opened a similar facility for the Air Service."


From 1932, we have two articles and images from two unidentified newspapers of LeBoutillier doing things that made the Golden Age such a spectacular era of flight. Articles shared by A.P. LeBoutillier. Below, LeBoutillier takes an airplane off from the roof of a speeding automobile.

Flying Off an Essex Automobile (Source: LeBoutillier)
Flying Off an Essex Automobile

Below, a month later, and with a different airplane, LeBoutillier delivers a passenger to the roof of the same speeding Essex Terraplane.

Delivering a Passenger to an Essex Automobile (Source: LeBoutillier)
Delivering a Passenger to an Essex Automobile

NASM records are sparse for LeBoutillier’s activities during the 1930s-60s. Below, courtesy of A.P. LeBoutillier, we find him serving as a Civil Aeronautics Authority inspector in the west. He is pictured in the second row, center, with the faint circle around him.

O.C. LeBoutillier as Air Inspector, 1939 (Source: LeBoutillier)
O.C. LeBoutillier as Air Inspector, 1939

  He was, as of the early 1970s, operating a Las Vegas, NV pharmaceutical distribution company. 

O.C. LeBoutillier, Chicago Tribune,
October 25, 1970
(Source: NASM)
O.C. LeBoutillier, ca. 1970s




Pilot LeBoutillier left us in May, 1983. I have no NASM information about his airplane, Aeromarine-Klemm NC39K. If you can help, please let me KNOW.












Dossier 2.1.109

UPLOADED: 06/05/07 REVISED: 06/11/07, 11/01/07, 04/14/08, 05/05/08, 12/17/12, 12/05/14

The Register
I'm looking for photographs and information about NC39K to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Some of the information and images below are shared with us by A. P. "Boots" LeBoutillier. He says about our O.C. "Boots" LeBoutillier, "I'm not sure in exactly what way O.C. and I are related, since O.C. was from NJ he is likely related to either the Philadelphia branch (my branch) or New York branch (cousins)."

I asked him how his family pronounces their name. He responds, "As far as pronunciation of our name, take your choice.  French, as I do is (Soft e') 'Le-Boo-tee-yay'  ('Lay' pronunciation of Le would be Italian, not
French). Or American as my Brother does 'Lu-boo-till-ear', we have relatives in Quebec that pronounce it 'Le Booth-yey'.

"I have no idea how Oliver said it.  The family is English, not French,  from the Bi-Lingual English Channel Islands."

Compare this with the Bragunier family's pronunciation of Register pilot Ace Bragunier.

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