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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Mouton, CM-795000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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Edson E. "Monte" Mouton, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)


Edson E. "Monte" Mouton landed once at Tucson, sometime between May 2 and May 5, 1933 (he didn't note the date of his arrival). Based at Oakland, CA, he was eastbound from Yuma, AZ to Dallas, TX. He was solo in the government Fleet, NS-36. Photograph, right, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM).

His reason for being in Tucson at that time was captured in an article in the Oakland Tribune for May 17, 1933 as follows.

MOUTON RETURNS. Edson E. Mouton, supervising inspector for the Federal aeronautics branch at Oakland Airport, is back at his desk today. "Monty" landed his plane at the local field to complete a 10-day air tour which took him as far south as Dallas, Tex. Bucking headwinds "Monty" made the 1800-mile hop back to Oakland in 23 hours. He was piloting one of the department's blind-flying ships. He stopped in Dallas long enough to give fellow inspectors their instruction in instrument flying.







His NASM biographical file (access number cited, left sidebar) is very sparse, holding just a single sheet of information. Born December 10, 1894 at Sacramento, CA, Mouton learned to fly in the Army Signal Corps during WWI. His NASM file cites his training with the American Pursuit School at Issoudun, France. There is no record of his military flying, if any, in his file.

After WWI, he was an early airmail pilot assigned to the western division, as well as, later, an employee of the Department of Commerce (DOC). Before he went with the airmail, he had accumulated about 500 hours of flight time in 26 different aircraft types. Most of the Web information about him has to do with his postal service. Below, from his airmail days, is Mouton on the left.

Edson Mouton and Rexford Levisee, Ca. 1921 (Source: Web)
Edison Mouton and Rexford Levisee, Ca. 1921 (Source: Web)

The caption for this photo (from the link) reads, "Edson E. Mouton and Rexford Levisee were employed by the US Post Office Department as airmail pilots. They are posed in front of an airmail service biplane at Reno, Nevada. Mouton served as an airmail pilot from September 8, 1920 until May 22, 1927. ... Both pilots were assigned to San Francisco, California, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Reno, Nevada during their careers. On September 11, 1920, Mouton flew the last leg of the nation's first cross-country airmail flight, landing at Marina Field, California after flying the 250 miles from Reno to San Francisco in one hour and fifty-eigThe Salt Lake City Tribune, May 18, 1921 (Source: Woodling)ht minutes, a new flight record for that distance. Levisee came to the Airmail Service from the Army Signal Corps. His most dramatic airmail flight was on June 25, 1927 when he was forced down on the summit of Elko Mountain, 12 miles east of the Elko, Nevada, airmail field. Levisee noted in his report on the crash, "before I knew it, airplane and I were flat on our backs in the Sierras."

In 1921, Mouton and two other air mail pilots for the western division, were recognized for their efficiency and safety. Below from the Salt Lake City Tribune of May 18, 1921, is a report of their rewards. Hopson was not a signer of any Register. However, Christopher Pickup, while not a Register signer, was the older brother of Register pilot Chester Pickup, q.v.

The Salt Lake City Tribune, May 18, 1921 (Source: Woodling)
The Salt Lake City Tribune, May 18, 1921 (Source: Woodling)

Below, from SDAM, a photograph of Mouton demonstrating how U.S. Mail pilots dressed for cold weather.

Monte Mouton, U.S. Airmail Service, 1924 (Source: SDAM)
Monte Mouton, U.S. Airmail Service, 1924 (Source: SDAM)


Russian Flight, The New York Times, July 16, 1937 (Source: NYT)


Mouton Suicide, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, July 4, 1940 (Source: Woodling)


Interestingly, Mouton had a couple of close calls, too. His NASM folder quotes him, "I was flying along about 10,000 feet, bucking a terrific head wind, from Elko to Reno, when I ran into a dust storm over Carson Sink, so I went up to about 16,000 feet. My motor was running a little hot so that it prevented me from climbing to get on top. I flew into it and lost all visibility. My motor became hot and I was forced down. I put the ship into a natural glide and did not see the ground until my wheels hit. The ship bounced into the air and as it settled, I cut the motor and pulled back on the stick, landing OK without seeing the ground. I could not see 20 feet in any direction, so I waited until evening when the wind subsided and I was able to see which way to walk."

Another incident is described, "I hit a mountain just above a tunnel in a blinding snowstorm, when following a railroad near Shafter, Nevada. I was not hurt owing to pulling the nose high and hitting on the bell of of the ship."

Regarding his DOC duties during the 1930s, the article, above left, from The New York Times, July 16, 1937 cites his involvement with two Russian aviators who, in a ground-breaking flight, flew from Moscow over the North Pole to California. Not surprisingly for 1937, the article was headlined, "FEAT OF AIRMEN HAILED IN SOVIET. HOSTILE NATIONS WARNED."

Mouton also appears in a group photograph with fellow Register pilot Gilbert Budwig. He stands at the far left in the front row of the photograph depicting a group of DOC employees. I have no information about his work with the DOC, or of his later flying life during the 1930s. If you can help, please let me KNOW.

Mouton apparently committed suicide in July, 1940 at age 45 as stated in the obituary at right from the Reno (NV) Evening Gazette of July 4th. The article cites mostly his airmail experience, with no mention of his DOC work. He was described as, "A dapper man, with sharply-waxed mustache...."


Dossier 2.1.122

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/19/11 REVISED: 01/08/15, 08/22/16

The Register

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


Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.


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.  Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-1-8.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.


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