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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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Harvey Parks, 1930 (Source: SLU)
Harvey Parks, 1930 (Source: SLU)


Harvey Parks landed once at the Davis-Monthan Airfield, July 29, 1934. He was based at Parks Airport, East St. Louis, IL, and carried a single passenger, Larry Bickford. They flew a "Mono O." they identified as NC14233. However, there is no "Mono O." airplane type, and NC14233 was assigned to a Kinner Sportster K, S/N 146. They were westbound from El Paso, TX. They did not identify a destination. If you can shed some light on the confusion around the airplane type and registration number, please let me KNOW.

Harvey Parks was "Asst. Chief Pilot" at Parks Air College, East St. Louis, IL. He was also the brother of Oliver Parks, the founder of the College. At right is a 1930 photograph of Parks from the St. Louis University Libraries Digital Collection. (SLU). Below, from Popular Aviation (PA), October, 1933, Parks is pictured at the upper right corner of the group of personnel in this advertisment for Parks Air College.


Parks Air College Advertisement, Popular Aviation, October, 1933 (Source: PA)

Norman D. Anderson, also pictured above, appears in the Parks Airport Register, April 21, 1931. Parks' brother was Oliver Parks, founder of Parks Air College.

Harvey Parks was killed in an air crash with a student on Saturday, July 11, 1936 at age 51. The story surrounding the crash is as follows from a hometown (Minonk, IL) newspaper obituary.

Harvey Alvah Parks
Harvey A. Parks of Belleville, 51 year old instructor at Parks Air College south of East St. Louis and formerly of this city, and Charles L. Parsons, a 19-year-old student, were killed instantly last Saturday morning when the monoplane in which they were riding crashed in a sunbaked field near the Parks airport.

Parks had taken off at the flying field at 7:50 o'clock Saturday morning on an instruction flight with Parsons. The plane headed southeast, but when it had flown about a mile, it veered suddenly to the right and fell about 400 feet into a field on a mule farm near the flying field. A student, who witnessed the fall, said the motor of the plane apparently stalled after the pilot had banked for a turn and that it slipped into a tail-spin.

The small cabin plane was completely demolished. The motor, which was pushed back into the cabin, crushed the instructor and pilot, both being killed instantly. Pieces of the wreckage were strewn about the field for a radius of fifty feet. The ignition was turned off, indicating the pilot knew the plane was going to crash.

Burke Starks, mechanic at Curtiss Airport, which is near the Parks college, was a witness to the crash. "It was spinning nose first toward the ground", Starks said, "and all in one piece. Nothing was torn from the plane. When it struck the ground it seemed to flatten out. The ground was too hard for it to bury, and it seemed to mash flat."

Starks notified the school of the crash and approximately 100 students, led by school officials, rushed to the scene and formed a cordon around the wreckage. Both Parks and Parsons were pronounced dead upon arrival at St. Mary's hospital in East. St. Louis.

A theory that the plane crash was caused by the student having "frozen the controls" was advanced at the inquest into the deaths Saturday afternoon, by Philip Wagner, dean of men at the college.

Wagner said that although Parsons had considerable flying experience, it would not have been unusual for him to have become frightened and locked the controls. Wagner said the plane was a high-wing monoplane in which two persons sit side by side at a dual set of controls.

Wagner's testimony followed that of A. S. Koch, aeronautical inspector for the Department of Commerce, who testified a preliminary examination of the plane showed no original defects and expressed the opinion the crash was caused by "pilot failing."

Fred C. Parks, brother of the deceased instructor and also a former resident of this community, said the accident last Saturday was the first here since 1929, the school having a 100 per cent safety record during seven years of flying. No accident has occurred during 58,000 hours of flying at the school, he said.

Harvey Alvah Parks was born Feb. 10, 1885, on the William A. Parks homestead, west of Minonk, and at the time of his passing on July 11, 1936, was aged 51 years, 5 months and one day. He was baptized when 10 years of age by Rev. J. C. Shipp of the Baptist church.

He attended the Minonk grade school and graduated from the Minonk high school in 1903. He taught country school for a year and then entered the University of Illinois where he graduated in 1909. He was married to Miss Alice Beck of Odell, on Dec. 25, 1912. Three children were born to them, two of whom died in infancy: John Oliver and Harriet Alice; and Edith Lee, who with the sorrowing widow, survives. He also leaves his aged parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alvah H. Parks of this city; one sister, Miss Louisa Parks of Decatur, and two brothers, Fred C. Parks of this city and East St. Louis, and Oliver L. Parks of St. Louis, Mo.

The subject of this sketch was a member of the Masonic order. During his high school days he was one of the backs on the famous Minonk high football team of 1901, under Prof. E. L. Mills.

At the time of his marriage he built a fine residence on West Fourth Street in Minonk and for several years farmed and engaged quite extensively in livestock raising. It was in 1928 that he took up flying and moved to Belleville with his family, and has since been an instructor in flying at the Parks Air college. He had 5,500 hours in the air. His license number was "37" he being the thirty-seventh person in the country to receive a transport license and was the tenth oldest pilot in the United States from a standpoint of years in the service. Many are the Minonk friends, whom he took up for a ride when they visited the college, which was located about four miles south of East St. Louis.

It was only two weeks before that he was here for the annual Parks family reunion. The many who were privileged to know Harvey Parks could not help but admire his active, industrious and honorable life. One was impressed with his honesty and integrity and those staunch traits of uprightness which he inherited from his admirable parents.

The remains arrived here from East St. Louis on Sunday and funeral services were held at the Baptist church on Monday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock, conducted by the pastor, Rev. S. L. Buchanan. Burial was made in the Minonk cemetery. The pallbearers were: J. W. Van Doren, William Meierhofer, R. E. Gray, Frank C. Tucker, Lester Davison and Clark Hart.

Floral offerings were beautiful and profuse, the bearers being: John Parks, Homer Parks, Dan Parks, Louis Jochums, Don Parks, William Mammen, Dwight Hendricks, Emmerson Janssen, Wesley Ford.

The Alton (IL) Evening Telegraph of July 11th also reported his death. The Sikeston (MO) Herald reported on May 29, 1941 that the local airport was to be dedicated as Harvey Parks Field. Brother Oliver (identified as the president of the Missouri Institute of Aeronautics) was a speaker. Sikeston is about 130 miles southeast of St. Louis.

Interestingly, sharing the front page of the Herald was an article quoting a speech by President Roosevelt headlined, "President Says War Very Close." Indeed, the Pearl Harbor attack was barely six months away. During WWII Harvey Parks Field was a training site for Army pilots and aviation mechanics. After WWII it became a civil airport and its name was changed to the Sikeston Memorial Municipal Airport.


THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 09/05/14 REVISED: 12/04/14

The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Parks 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.



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.


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