View products that support


Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Nichols, CN-060000-01, -20, et seq., 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.


Ruth Nichols wrote an autobiographical book in 1957 titled, "Wings for Life"(J.B. Lippincott, NY).

The information used to develop the Aviation Country Clubs Tour itinerary map is derived from that book.

Allen, Richard S. 1988. Revolution in the Sky: The Lockheeds of Aviation's Golden Age. Orion Books, NY. 253 pp.

An image of Ruth Nichols in a 1931 Goodrich advertisement is at the Charles Cooper Photograph and Document Collection on this web site.

Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register
CulturalMotion PicturesFriendsNon Profit statusProducts and services
ReferencesPublicationsCollectionsGuest EditorsPress Coverage


Ruth Nichols (Source: IWASM)
Ruth Nichols


Ruth M. Nichols was an educated and well-traveled woman of prominence, not only in the aviation community, but on the Golden Age social scene as well. She was an outstanding international ambassador of compassion and goodwill. Image, left, shows Nichols in the obligatory Golden Age flying helmet, goggles and scarf.

Through the course of her flying career, Nichols flew 71 different kinds of aircraft from 50 different manufacturers. This PDF download (664KB) lists the types of aircraft she flew, and includes her curriculum vitae current to 1943. In it you will learn what an accomplished person she was.

Ruth Nichols landed once at the Davis-Monthan Airfield on May 6, 1929. She flew Curtiss Fledgling NC5404. She was accompanied by two others, Robb Oertel flying a Curtiss Robin NC386E, and Charles M. Taylor flying Command Aire 609.

Ruth Nichols, Date Unknown (Source: Heins)
Ruth Nichols, Date Unknown (Source: Heins)




Image, right, shared with us by Andy Heins, shows her in a feathered hat. The photo is signed to "Bennett," with best wishes for "happy landings." The same photograph was posted on eBay during September, 2015, autographed to Annette Gipson.

Oertel's passenger, C.O. Bedford was a mechanic for Curtiss aircraft. Pilot Taylor, at the link above, led an equally interesting and prestigious life. All three pilots were traveling together as participants in an Aviation Country Club Tour, described in her book cited in the left sidebar.





The image, below, pictorializes the itinerary for the Aviation Country Club Tour. They were a little less than half way through the tour when they visited Tucson. They remained overnight at Tucson, and departed the next morning at 8:30 westbound to Yuma, AZ. This chart was derived from information in her book.

She visited at least one military facility during this itinerary. Below, from the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of July 10, 1929, she is cited as being at the base of the Thirteenth Naval District, Seattle, WA.

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, July 10, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, July 10, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

Below, Ruth Nichols in a Curtiss Fledgling. Although the image does not show the registration number of the airplane, it is safe to guess it is NC5404.

Ruth Nichols in Curtiss Fledgling (Source: IWASM)
Ruth Nichols in Curtiss Fledgling

Later in 1929, Ruth Nichols was a competitor in what became the first "Powder Puff Derby". This women-only race from Los Angeles to Cleveland was the first time female pilots were officially sanctioned to compete in the national race. Below are some artifacts commemorating her participation in that race (see credits in right sidebar).

1929 National Air Race Card & Wallet
1929 National Air Race Card & Wallet

1929 National Air Race Card & Wallet (Source: IWASM)
1929 National Air Race Card & Wallet

Above, the card wallet and solid brass identification card commemorating Ruth Nichols' participation in the race. The red wallet was provided by the Cleveland Pneumatic Tool Co.

Ruth Nichols' 1929 National Air Race Cards (Source: IWASM)

Above, from top to bottom, are what looks like a dining table place card, Ruth's contestant card and special priviledge card (all made of paper) for the 1929 National Air Races. Notice the place for the contestant's name is prefaced with "Mr." This PDF download (1.2MB) reveals an annotated race program. It is not clear from the times written in pencil on the participant list just where or when the times were noted.

Nichols set a women's altitude record during the spring of 1931. Below, from Popular Aviation (PA), May, 1931, is an article describing her record flight.

Ruth Nichols' Altitude Record, Popular Aviation, May, 1931 (Source: PA)
Ruth Nichols' Altitude Record, Popular Aviation, May, 1931 (Source: PA)

Nichols also flew a Lockheed Vega west during October 1931. Below, an article from the San Antonio (TX) Express of October 16th describes the voyage. It included a visit with her brother, Snowden Nichols, who was a flying cadet at Kelly Field.

San Antonio (TX) Express, October 16, 1931 (Source: Woodling)
San Antonio (TX) Express, October 16, 1931 (Source: Woodling)

Her itinerary up to San Antonio is cited in the article, along with some of the point-to-point speed records she set en route. Her itinerary included a continuation to the west coast where she planned to try for, "...some new records...." The airplane she was flying was NR496M, named the "Akita," and owned by the Crosley Radio Corporation of Cincinnati, OH. NR496M shows up at Peterson Field on September 22, 1930 flown by William Brock during the 1930 National Air Tour.

Ruth Nichols was among the dignitaries present at the dedication of the Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers Memorial in 1932. Below, an image of the unveiling with Ruth on the left and Orville Wright standing third from right.

Wright Brothers Memorial Dedication, 1932 (Source: IWASM)
Wright Brothers Memorial Dedication, 1932

Below, courtesy of site visitor Joe Kranz, is a U.S. postal cachet dated July 1, 1933. It commemorates the National Air Races that year.

U.S. Postal Cachet, July 1, 1933 (Source: Kranz)
U.S. Postal Cachet, July 1, 1933 (Source: Kranz)

Below, Ruth Nichols with two other signers of the Davis-Monthan Register. E.E. Aldrin on the left and Vance Breese on the right.

E.E. Aldrin, Ruth Nichols, Vance Breese (Source: IWASM)
E.E. Aldrin, Ruth Nichols, Vance Breese

Ruth Nichols also landed once at Parks Field, on Saturday, August 24, 1929. She was flying the Rearwin she identified as NR44E. Please direct your browser to the link for more information about her flight to Parks Field, and about her airplane NR44E.

Ruth Nichols (Source: IWASM)
Ruth Nichols




Dossier 2.4.12

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/05/06 REVISED: 07/01/11, 10/15/13, 06/23/14 UNDER REVISION NOW

The Register
Ruth Nichols, 1931

Image of Ruth Nichols dressed for high-altitude flight (from R.S. Allen, page 90).

The artifacts and documents shown on or linked to this page are from the files of the International Women's Air & Space Museum, Inc. (IWASM), 165 Burke Lakefront Airport, 1501 North Marginal Rd. , Cleveland, OH 44114. Staff member Cris Takacs was especially helpful.

I'm looking for images of the airplanes NC5404, 609 and NC386E.

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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.



Contact Us | Credits | Copyright © 2008 Delta Mike Airfield, Inc.
This website is best enjoyed in a 1024 x 768 screen resolution.
Web design by The Web Professional, Inc