J.L. Moran, 1918 (Source: NEA)
John Moran was signed in the Floyd Bennett Field Register April 8, 1933 at 9:00 AM. He flew the (Curtiss-Wright) Travel Air B-14B NS1A, S/N 2011 registered to the Department of Commerce (DOC). He cited his arrival and destination point as "Hempsbury," probably a local reference to Hempstead, LI. His entries for numbers of crew and passengers were obviously spoofs, as this airplane was a 3-person airplane. At the time Moran was an inspector for the Department of Commerce. The reason for the flight was not documented.
NS1A was a Curtiss-Wright Travel Air manufactured in 1932. It was a 3-place open biplane with a 330HP Wright R-975E engine. Its range was 575 miles; ceiling: 18,700'. It cost $13,500 new. Originally purchased and registered by the DOC as NS1A, it later became NC1A and then NC68261.
Moran was born in 1896. A native of Massachusetts, Moran, age 3, appears in the 1900 census (his first), living with his parents, Walter and Ella and sisters Evelyn (5) and Mary (1). Their home is on Banks Street in Cambridge, MA. Walter Moran’s occupation is listed as "U.S. Inspector." Living next door is Ella’s mother, Bridget Lalley and her son George Lalley.
In the 1910 census Moran’s mother Ella is shown as the widowed head of the family. The family, now housed at 97 Reservoir Street in Cambridge includes daughter Lucy, age 8, and Ella’s mother and brother George.
The following short biography is taken from the 1919 book “New England Aviators 1914-1918; Their Portraits and Their Records" (NEA). The accompanying portrait of Moran, above, was also found in that book
JOHN LALLEY MORAN Second Lieutenant, A.S.A., U.S.A., Instructor, Love Field Dallas, Texas Son of Walter Lawrence and Ella E. (Lalley) Moran; was born at Cambridge, MA, June 30, 1896. He attended the Russell Grammar School and the Rindge Manual Training School, Cambridge. When he was fifteen years old he enlisted in Co. C, 8th Regt, M.V.M., was made Corporal, and served three years, withdrawing finally because it was necessary for him to work during the evenings.
He enlisted July, 1917, in the Aviation Corps, and entered the Ground School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dec. 1, 1917. He was transferred to Princeton University, Dec. 29, 1917, and graduated with the class of Feb. 9, 1918. In the same month he was ordered to Love Field, Dallas, Tex., and thence to Kelly Field, and later to San Antonio, TX. He was commissioned 2d Lieut., May 20,1918, and appointed Instructor in the Gosport System of Advanced Flying, at Love Field, Dallas, a few months later. He was at last account Officer in charge of Transportation at Love Field.
He remained in Texas after the war and, per the 1920 census, he was living in Houston and was employed as a "Salesman" for an "Aeroplane company." From news articles of the 1920s the company was a distributor for Curtiss aircraft. At some point he married Evelyn Goodrich in Texas and they had a son, John, Jr, who was born in 1927. The 1927 and 1928 Dallas city directories listed the Morans at a couple of addresses and his occupation was shown as "salesman."
I could not find the Morans in the 1930 census, but the 1930 Cambridge city directory listed him and Evelyn living at 78 Reservoir Street. His occupation was listed as Inspector (for the DOC in the aeronautics division). Sisters Mary and Lucy also lived at 78 Reservoir Street according to the 1930 census. As a DOC inspector, other Floyd Bennett Field Register signers like Stanford Willits, Joseph Boudwin and Owen Harwood were his colleagues. Moran does not appear in the managerial lists on Joseph Boudwin's page, which probably means he was a staff inspector working among the ranks.
Moran did not have a long career as an inspector for the government. He was killed in an airplane accident just three months after he signed the Floyd Bennett Field register. The Syracuse American, July 16, 1933 described the accident as below, left. The article included a description and conjecture regarding the crash that killed Moran and pilot J. Allison Buck. The Buckley Sunday Register (WV) of the same date provided additional details, below right.
Test pilot killed in crash
WILMINGTON, Delaware (INS) — J. Allison Buck, Delaware’s best-known pilot, and Inspector John Moran of the aeronautics division of the U. S. Department of Commerce, were killed in a plane crash yesterday.
The plane, which they were testing for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, fell into the Delaware River from an altitude of about 500 feet opposite Delaware City, 10 miles south of here.
According to rivermen who witnessed the tragedy, the plane exploded in midair. It burst into flames and pieces went flying in every direction. The pieces and the bodies of the two men hurtled down into the river.
G. M. Bellanca, president of the aircraft company, denied the plane had exploded, and asserted the crash was caused by propellers cutting loose from the engine. He said both men bailed out, but because of the low altitude, their parachutes failed to open. They took off from Bellanca Field and had been cruising for several hours prior to the crash.
Buck’s body and part of the fuselage of the plane were dragged from the river about 9 p.m. River craft and state police continued to search for the other body.
The plane was a skyrocket monoplane and was scheduled for delivery to the Richfield Oil Company, at Pittsburgh, in a day or two.
Buck was a member of a prominent Delaware family. He was the first person in Delaware to get a flying license.
The Buckley Sunday Register (WV), July 16, 1933 (Source: Woodling)
If you know the identity of their Bellanca airplane, please let me KNOW.
The Denton Record-Chronicle (TX), July 18, 1933, stated that wife Evelyn and Moran were married in Dallas and had two children, John L., Jr. and Ransom Moran. Evelyn Moran passed away in 1988 in Texas. John L. Moran Jr. died in 2004. His son, Lawrence survives.
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