View products that support dmairfield.org



Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Rough, CR-687000-01, 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, while supplies last.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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, while supplies last.


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.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. 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.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.


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


Howard Fanning Rough was born January 31, 1891 in St. Joseph, MO. kWhen he was about four years old, his family moved to Canada and he was educated in the public schools of Montreal, and graduated from Ridley College, St. Catherines, Ontario.

In 1909 he entered the automobile business in the sales department of the Olds Motor Works, Canada. In 1910, he moved to the E.M.F. Company and occasionally served as a member of their race team driving their model 30 (E.M.F eventually was merged into the Studebaker company). However he decided to limit his racing activities after crashing through a fence at Toronto.

H.F. Rough WWI Draft Registration June 5, 1917 (Source: ancestry.com)


In 1913, Rough transferred to San Francisco, CA, remaining in the auto business until the outbreak of WWI. His draft registration is at left. As with many things, the details are in the fine print. If you look carefully at the diagonal printing at the lower left of this card, the text says, "If person is of African descent, tear off this corner." Some things change; some things remain the same. At the date of his registration he was married.

He enlisted in the Signal Corps for flight training. He was graduated from the University of California's school of military aeronautics and soloed at San Diego late in 1917. He served as a flight instructor at Rockwell Field and aerobatic instructor at March Field. He was sent to Europe in 1918 where he was a flight instructor in France until the Armistice and was transferred to the U.S. . He left military service in 1919.

The 1920 Census listed Rough (28) as living in Alameda, CA married to Katherine Edwards Rough (23; 1895-1945). His mother and brother lived with them. Rough remained in the automobile business until early 1923 when he switched to building and contracting in Berkeley, CA. He flew intermittently until 1927, then began flying regularly. During 1927, he helped the co mmittee at Oakland, CA to prepare for the Dole Race to Hawaii. His work with the Dole planning comittee led to and invitation to join the staff of the Department of Commerce's aeronautics branch ca. 1927-28.

Rough visited Tucson Monday, October 1, 1928 at 10:15AM. Based at Washington, DC, he was westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. He carried as his single passenger fellow Register pilot and Department of Commerce employee Gilbert Budwig.

Below is Rough's airplane at the Culver City Airport, date unknown (from "Los Angeles Aeronautics 1920-1929", by David Hatfield via Freeman). It was a Pitcairn PA-6 Super Mailwing. c/n 3, registered as NS-20, signifying that it was a government owned and operated airplane. The people in the photo were not identified, but the person at right appears to be holding a leather helmet, so may be the pilot. Both he and Rough (see photograph below) have high foreheads. The gentleman at center has the build and hairline of Gilbert Budwig (q.v.), but their identities are just a guess.

Pitcairn PA-6 Super Mailwing. c/n 3, NS-20 (Source: Link)


Katherine and Howard Divorce Record, February 5, 1937 (Source: ancestry.com)


In October 1935, Rough resigned from the Department to take a position in the aviation department of the Gulf Refining Company. In June 1937, he left Gulf to become assistant director of the Bureau of Air Commerce.

Early 1937 was a turbulent and stressful time for Rough, now in his 47th year and probably suffering a mid-life crisis. On February 5, 1937 Katherine Rough divorced Howard for the cause of "Extreme Cruelty." She was granted alimony of an unspecified amount.

About four months later, on May 29, 1937, the Pittsburgh (PA) Post Gazette, below, announced Rough's May 26th marriage to Helen MacClosky, a well-known female pilot of the time (not a Register signer). In June he switched jobs.

The announcement stated that Rough had recently been appointed assistant director of the United States Bureau of Air Commerce in Washington, DC. The article defined his job as director of seven regional offices that were established throughout the US during 1938 as part of a decentralization plan to more effectively serve the aviation industry and the flying public.

Howard F. Rough, ca 1939
Howard Rough, ca 1939 (Source:NASM)


Helen and Howard Marriage License, May 26, 1937 (Source: ancestry.com)










The photo, above, shows Rough a couple of years after his divorce, remarriage and job change. As well, he had accumulated about 4,000 flight hours since 1917. His marriage license application for Helen and him is at right.

The Census for 1940 documented Rough (50), and Helen (31), and young son William H. (1) living on Connecticut Avenue in Washington DC.

In the 1950 Census, Rough lived in Arlington, VA with Helen, William and Viola J. Stewart identified as their maid. His occupation was "Assistant Administrator, Field Relations" for the Civil Aeronautics Authority, a position apparently similar to his responsibilities in 1939.

On April 7, 1942 at age 51, Rough was registered for the WWII draft. His address was Arlington, VA just south of Washington,DC, and his employer was listed as the Civil Aeronautics Administration, below.


H.F. Rough, WWII Draft Registration, April 7, 1942 (Source: ancestry.com)


Between 1937 and roughly 1956 there are numerous passenger arriival and departure records among the documents exhibited at ancesty.com. These records documented pleasure travel aboard ships and airplanes to Europe, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Hawaii with Helen and sometimes William as well.

Rough flew West March 30, 1969 at age 78. He carried Commercial Pilot certificate number 183. He is buried in Oakland, CA.

He also landed one time at Parks Airport, East St. Louis, IL, on Apri 2, 1930 at 12:45PM flying solo in a Travel Air B-4000 he identified as NS-16. It was another Department of Commerce aircraft.

Rough landed also at Oakland Airport on September 6, 1936. He was solo in a Stinson SR-8B, NC16190 (s/n 9772). The airplane was owned by the Gulf Oil Corporation. The timing was during his hiatus from government service.


Dossier 2.1.143


The Register

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


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