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There is no biographical file for pilot Luscombe 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.


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Donald Luscombe, Date & Location Unknown Source: Link)

Donald Luscombe, Date & Location Unknown Source: Link)


Curiously, in light of the impact he had on Golden Age aircraft design and production, I found no biographical file for Donald Luscombe at the Smithsonian. Regardless, he was born May 25, 1895 in Iowa City, IA. He was a first-generation American citizen. His birth certificate identified his father as James Liddle Luscombe, born in England. His photograph, left, is from the New Jersey Aviation Hall Of Fame.

Luscombe landed once in Tucson Wednesday, October 23, 1929. He flew solo in the Monosport NC8957. Please follow the link to see a photograph of this robust and speedy aircraft, and to learn who else flew it.


In addition to his single visit at Tucson, Luscombe appeared six times in the Parks Airport Register. His more complete biography is at the link, including his legacies of Monocoupe and Luscombe aircraft design and manufacture.

At his Parks Airport link, you'll learn, by all accounts, Luscombe was an entrepreneur and business man who leveraged his early experience of a ride in a WWI airplane into becoming the manufacturer of a suite of Golden Age aircraft that still dot 21st century skies. He sought to make personal, general aviation aircraft, but innovative designs resulted in unique weight to power ratios that made his early products efficient racing machines. His later designs persist because of their mostly sheet metal fabrication, resulting in ease of maintenance and restoration.

A biographical statement appeared at his findagrave.com page, below.

D.A. Luscombe Biographical Statement (Source: findagrave.com)

Donald Arthur Luscombe (May 25, 1895 – January 10, 1965) was an American businessman and entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder of Luscombe Aircraft, which produced an advanced sheet-metal-fuselage light aircraft during the 1930–1950 time period in the US. Luscombe was born on May 25, 1895, in Iowa City, Iowa to parents James L. Luscombe and Minnie E. Hartle.

When the US entered World War I Luscombe volunteered for duty in France, where he served as an ambulance driver. He received a citation for valor for this service.

After returning home, Luscombe married. He and his wife had a girl on 9 February 1922, but she died 19 days later (28 February 1922). He and his wife Eleanor had a second child, a boy named James True Luscombe, who was born on 4 August 1927. James True Luscombe, founder of Luscombe Engineering Company (1954–present), died May 8, 1984 and is survived by James H. Luscombe, Kelly A. Luscombe, Elizabeth S. Luscombe and Patricia J. Luscombe. While in France, Luscombe received his first aeroplane ride, in a French Voisin III. After returning to the US he launched a career in advertising in Davenport, Iowa, and purchased a Curtiss JN-4, which he learned to fly. The Jenny's open cockpit and tandem seating arrangement caused Luscombe to envision an improved arrangement, with enclosed cockpit and side-by-side seating.

To further the idea, Luscombe talked several business associates into joining with him to form the Central States Aero Company, Inc. They hired Clayton Folkerts, a young Iowa farmer, to design and build the aircraft, which they called Monocoupe; the first example emerged in 1927—a cheap, light, quick, efficient, comfortable two-seater—and was the beginning of a radical change in personal aviation in the United States, the small, enclosed-cockpit "personal" light plane, well-suited for comfortable cross-country travel. In 1928, Luscombe published his first book, "Simplified Flying."

In 1933 Luscombe left the Monocoupe business (owned by Lambert Aircraft Corporation at the time) and moved to Kansas City, Missouri to found another company, Luscombe Airplane Development Corporation building all-metal monocoque fuselage aircraft.The company resumed production of light aircraft when World War II ended, but a glut of surplus aircraft caused his company to fail. Its assets were bought by Temco, but Luscombe did not remain in the business.

Luscombe died in January 1965. He was buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, Iowa [note this place of interment disarees with the location stated on his death certificate, above].

Luscombe flew West January 11, 1965, age 69. Besides additional biographical information, his grave marker in Pennsylvania, obituary from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, January 14, 1965 and his death certificate are at the Parks Airport link. He succumbed to a ruptured aorta.

Dossier 2.1.108



The Register


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


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.


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