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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.



"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.


Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Quesada, CQ-008000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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Elwood Quesada, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)
Elwood Quesada, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Heins)

How did Pete Quesada get into the Army? The answer comes from the grandson, Bill Harmon, of another Register pilot E.E. Harmon. Bill emailed me, "There is one anecdote I would like to share regarding Lt. Gen. Elwood 'Pete' Quesada. A book about Quesada's distinguished military career by Thomas Hughes titled 'Overlord' correctly credits my grandfather for proactively recruiting Quesada into the Army Air Service in 1924. In his spare time, my grandad was a collegiate football referee. At the time, Quesada was the quarterback of the University of Maryland team. My grandfather noticed Quesada's athletic ability and thought he would make a good pilot. He also thought that Quesada would be a great addition to the Army Air Service football team.

"In the summer of 1924, when swimming was allowed/encouraged in the Washington Tidal Basin, Pete Quesada took a summer job as a life guard. In an interview before his death in 1993, Quesada told Thomas Hughes that "Tiny" Harmon swam up to his lifeguarding boat, hopped in, and convinced him to consider joining the Air Service. Within a few days, Harmon took Quesada up for a flight out of Bolling Field in D.C., after which Quesada was hooked.... One note: in the book "Overlord" my grandfather is incorrectly identified as "Millard 'Tiny' Harmon". 'Millard' Harmon, who also had a distinguished military career (he appears in the DM Register), was/is obviously a different individual."

Born on April 13, 1904, Elwood R. "Pete" Quesada visited Tucson six times as a young man. Two of his visits were as a passenger, once in the "Question Mark" (see below) and once with pilot Ross Hoyt in the Douglas C-1 transport 25-432 on December 21, 1928. Photograph, above, shared with us by site contributor Andy Heins.

He signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register four times as pilot (twice in the Curtiss O-1C Falcon, 27-264) as a lieutenant.  This is not an unusual finding.  Numerous low-ranking military pilots (who, after WWI were ill-paid and under-appreciated) landed at the Airfield and dutifully signed their names between 1925 and 1936. That Curtiss was named the "Spirit of Unrest". It is pictured in the Aircraft Yearbook for 1928 on p. 124, below. It was powered by a Curtiss D-12 engine (right sidebar).

Curtiss Falcon, 27-264, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Aircraft Yearbook, 1928)
Curtiss Falcon, 27-264, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Aircraft Yearbook, 1928)

Besides 27-264, he landed in the Douglas O-2J, 28-127, on Monday, September 17, 1928. He carried Maj. Gen. James E. Fechet as his VIP passenger. Based at Washington, DC, they arrived eastbound from San Diego, CA. They remained in Tucson overnight, departing the next morning at 6:00AM for Washington. His next landing was on October 24, 1928 in Douglas O-2, 28-188. Still based at Washington, DC, he arrived solo and remained overnight at Tucson, departing the next morning for Washington at 5:00AM.

Through the years, Quesada held several positions of responsibility in the Air Corps, and later the Air Force, and in civilian life. An early accomplishment was his participation in the flight of the Fokker C-2 transport "Question Mark", 28-120. Please direct your browser to the airplane's page for details of the flight and fellow crew members. An overview of Quesada's life in aviation and his role as a commander in WWII is on the Centennial of Flight Web site, and won't be repeated here.

After retirement from the military, in 1958, Congress passed the Federal Aviation Act.  That legislation created today’s Federal Aviation Agency.  As an example of the far-reaching influence of Register pilots, the scope of the Federal Aviation Act owed much to the leadership of "Pete" Quesada, then a retired Air Force General. 

The photograph below is shared with us by friend of dmairfield.org, John Underwood. It shows Quesada on February 8, 1929.

Elwood R. "Pete" Quesada, February 8, 1929, Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Elwood R. "Pete" Quesada, February 8, 1929, Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)

Below, also from Mr. Underwood, is a photograph of the airplane "Question Mark." The commander of the flight was Carl Spatz, on whose page you will find details surrounding the preparations for the flight.

Fokker C-2 28-120, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)
Fokker C-2 28-120, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Underwood)

Quesada passed away February 9, 1993 in Florida. His obituary in the New York Times is at the link. It summarizes his activities before, during and after WWII. His official Air Force biography is at the link.


Dossier 2.2.147

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/11/10 REVISED: 02/23/11, 07/25/11, 09/06/11

The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Quesada and his airplanse to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
Curtiss D-12 Engine Manual Fly Leaf, June, 1930 (Source: Webmaster)
Curtiss D-12 Engine Manual Fly Leaf (Source: Webmaster)
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