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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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According to his military record as of 1946, below, Fred C. Nelson was born March 17, 1894. He was commissioned on January 28, 1918 in the aviation section of the Signal Corps.

Fred C. Nelson, Military Record As Of 1946 (Source: Link)

His flying experience was broad even before we find him at Tucson. For example, in 1920 at Bolling FIeld, he was featured in an air tournament in May, 1920. This link cites Nelson as, "The highlight of the first day was a record-setting flight by Lieutenant Fred Nelson in his German Fokker when he blasted onto Bolling Field from Middletown, Pennsylvania, a distance of 133 miles, in just 59 minutes." The airplane he flew in that event is pictured below with him in the cockpit. Notice the spare propeller lashed to the wing struts.

F.C. Nelson in Fokker, Ca. May, 1920 (Source: Link)

Nelson landed three times at Tucson. Comparing the dates of his landings with his record above, we can determine that his rank was lieutenant at each arrival. His first visit was solo on Saturday, June 16, 1928 at 12:30PM. He flew the Consolidated PT-3 he identified as 28-333. Based at Riverside, CA March Field, he arrived at Tucson from Los Angeles, eastbound to Dayton, OH Wright Field. He remained on the ground an hour and a half before resuming his journey.

Fred C. Nelson, February 2, 1935 (Source: Link)


His second landing was on Wednesday, October 31, 1928 13:40PM. still based at Riverside, he arrived from Yuma, AZ eastbound to San Antonio, TX flying the Consolidated PT-3 he identified as 28-273. He carried B.J. Tooker as his only passenger. They remained on the ground only 20 minutes.

His final landing was between April 4 and April 6, 1930 (he didn't cite a date or time in the Register). His single passenger was Ford J. Lauer. They were flying in the Douglas O-32 30-204. Based at Riverside, CA March Field, Nelson entered neither direction of flight nor destination.

Image at left, from the link cited in the right sidebar, shows Nelson in 1935. He would be 38 years old in this photograph.

His military record, above, records his progression through the ranks during the 1930s from lieutenant to major by 1939. With the coming of WWII he was promoted to colonel by 1942. Site visitor I. Sayer states that he was the Commandant of the Advanced Flying School at Moody Field, GA in July 1942. Below, a diploma granted and signed by Nelson to Frank Clements Folwell on July 3, 1942 for completing the advanced school.

Advanced Flying School Diploma Signed by Nelson, July 3, 1942 (Source: Sayer)

In 1934, Nelson won the Mitchell Trophy. An overview of the history of the event, and citation of Nelson's first place time of 216.8 mph, are at the link. A photograph of Nelson with the Mitchell Trophy and his airplane is below.

F.C. Nelson Wins 1934 Mitchell Trophy (Source: Link)
F.C. Nelson Wins 1934 Mitchell Trophy (Source: Link)

Nelson won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. I do not know the dates of the awards. If you have any information, please let me KNOW.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/22/13 REVISED: 01/04/14

The Register


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


Some of the information on this page comes from the blog at the link. I'm not sure if the blog will remain active, I have captured the information for exhibit at left.



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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.


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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