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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Wadlow, CW- 016000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


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Newman Wadlow, Date Unknown (Source: NASM)
Newman Wadlow, Date Unknown

Colorful Brothers Who Had Distinguished Aviation Careers All Over the World

Newman, and his twin brother Truman T. Wadlow, were both pilots. To my knowledge, they are the only twin siblings to sign the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register.

Newman Wadlow landed twice at Tuscon. His first landing was as passenger with Jay Sodowsky in the Swallow NC1613. The date was between October 5 and 7, 1927 (they didn't enter a date in the Register). Based at Wichita, KS, neither did they enter arrival or departure information.

His second landing was as pilot in command on Monday, January 28, 1929 at 12:00 PM flying Travel Air NX9017. He carried M.J. Parker as passenger. They were based at Wichita, KS and westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. They landed at noon and departed at 2:00PM, making it appear like a luncheon was enjoyed while on the ground at Tucson.

He learned to fly in his late teens and flew for the Travel Air Company as a production test pilot and charter pilot, which explains his home base as Wichita, location of the Travel Air Company. Later, he worked for Walter Beech as a test and charter pilot for the Beech Aircraft Company. He did some of the testing of the six-place Travel Air 6000, as well as the Travel Air Mystery Ship (along with fellow Register pilot Leon Larson), as well as the new Staggerwing.

Below, courtesy of Tim Kalina (cited, right sidebar) is a high-quality photograph of pilot Wadlow from 1929.

Newman Wadlow, ca. 1929 (Source: Kalina)
Newman Wadlow, ca. 1929

Below, the caption as it appears on the back of the photograph.

Newman Wadlow, ca. 1929, Caption
Newman Wadlow, ca. 1929, Caption

He did compete in the 1929 Ford National Air Tour, placing well down in the lineup (24th). The 1929 Ford Reliability Tour, as it was also called, is celebrated in Forden, Chapter 5. Register pilots John Livingston took first place, and George Haldeman fifth that year.

From Chapter 5 in Forden, we learn that Wadlow flew a Travel Air S-6000-B, NC385M in the 1929 event. NC385M is not a Register airplane, however the airplane in the image above has cowl and landing gear characteristics of the Travel Air 6000, which suggest that it might be that airplane behind him. Interestingly, one source states that he did his navigating with road maps.

The brothers operated the Wadlow Bros. Flying Service Co., Wichita, KS from 1930-33 (or 1932, depending upon which source you read). Below, an early business advertisement in the form of a card given to patrons as "proof" that they flew in an aircraft with one of the Wadlow brothers. This card is shared with us by site visitor Henry Avery. The front of the card is stamped with the Wadlow Brothers name. The second and third lines of the stamp are unreadable. At right is an image of the back of the card (I reduced it to fit). It has what looks to be a phone number, "Main 20998," written in pencil.

Wadlow Brothers Flight Card, Date Unknown (Source: Avery)
Wadlow Brothers Flight Card, Date Unknown (Source: Avery)
Wadlow Brothers Flight Card, Back, Date Unknown (Source: Avery)
Wadlow Brothers Flight Card, Date Unknown (Source: Avery)


Interestingly, this card signals an interesting transition. The Wichita Beacon of June 14, 1930 announced that the Wadlow brothers purchased Central Air College and all of its equipment. The name was then changed to “The Wadlow Brothers Flying Service.” The Wichita Eagle also reported, "Central Air college properties, including a large hangar on the East Central avenue airport and eight airplanes, have been purchased by Newman and Truman Wadlow, brothers, who will operate the business under the name of Wadlow Brothers Flying Service."

Could it be that the brothers simply bought a rubber stamp and used up the supply of cards they inherited from the previous owner of the College? The Great Depression had a tendency to spawn this kind of thrift. Although the card is undated, the likely date is sometime in late 1930 or 31.

Below, from their NASM dossiers, is an image of another advertisement they used once they had established their business. The brothers provided flight instruction, charter work and wedding ceremonies aloft.

Wadlow Brothers, Ca. Early 1930s (Source: NASM)
Wadlow Brothers, Ca. Early 1930s

The Great Depression did take its toll on their business. After 1933 the brother's paths diverged. Newman settled in Tulsa with his wife. He flew for various companies and did contract work during WWII at the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK. He and his brother were named to the Oklahoma Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983. Born on June 11, 1907 Newman passed away at Oklahoma City, OK (according to site visitor Russ Plehinger) July 2, 1989.

Update of 07/27/12 As an example of how Register signers touch people even today, site visitor Del Wootten knew Newman Wadlow personally at Tulsa. He says, "I actually had the pleasure of meeting Newman Wadlow in his later years. He worked for Bill Christiansen at Riverside Airport in Tulsa (1979).  A very colorful individual, with a very rich past. He told stories of working on the Beech Staggerwing Project for Walter Beech.

"At that point (1979) Newman was still selling Cessna's, and still a very sharp businessman.  As to be expected, Newman had personally known many of the well-known figures in early aviation. He was still a young man at heart, and had a very positive outlook in his later years. Newman was a good example for young aviators, he was honest about the profession, and had seen many sides. He was always glad to answer questions (we had many), provide pointers, or just talk aviation or business. Thanks for remembering his accomplishments, he was an inspiration for many of us."


Dossier 2.1.159

THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/17/08 REVISED: 10/13/10, 06/22/12, 07/27/12

The Register
I'm looking for additional information and photographs of the Wadlow brothers and their aircraft to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
Thanks to Tim Kalina, friend of dmairfield.org, for sharing his image of Newman Wadlow with us.
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