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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Whelan, CW-448000-01, -25, 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.


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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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


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.



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Bernard Whelan Learning to Fly, Ca. 1913 (Source: NASM)
Bernard Whelan Learning to Fly, Ca. 1913 (Source: NASM)


Bernard Whelan landed once at Tucson, Thursday November 22, 1928 at 4:45PM. He carried two passengers, H.J. Weaver and G. Tanberry in the Ford 5-AT-A NX6926 (mfg. August 22, 1928). Based at Hartford, CT, they were westbound from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ. They remained overnight in Tucson, departing northwest the next day. At the time, Whelan was chief pilot for the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corporation in Hartford.

Whelan was born at Cincinnati, OH on November 19, 1890, which makes him one of the older signers of the Register. He flew West March 27, 1983 at 92 years old.

Whelan began flying at the earliest moments and succeeded in aviation through two world wars and beyond. Photo, left, from the Hartford (CT) Courant of January 18, 1959, shows Whelan learning to fly at the Wright Brothers' School in Dayton, OH. The news article below from the same source summarizes his career.

This article cites Whelan at the head of the line in learning to fly (he held FAI license #247), a prime mover in some of the pioneering aircraft manufacturing companies in the country, a developer of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and an early adopter of aviation for corporate transportation. He was also a flight instructor through WWII.

Hartford (CT) Courant, January 18, 1959 (Source: NASM)
Hartford (CT) Courant, January 18, 1959 (Source: NASM)

We note mention near the bottom of the second column of this article the use of a Ford trimotor for executive transportation. This is probably the Ford that he brought to Tucson while working for Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, CT. Another article describing Whelan's flight instruction in Dayton is at the link (4 pp., PDF 715kB). This is a great article to read to get a feel for what it was like to learn at the Wright Brothers' School in 1913.

Below, from site visitor Jeff Staines, a U.S. postal cachet signed by Whelan and dated May 21, 1929, just months after he visited Tucson. This cachet commemorates Lindbergh Day at Hartford.

Bernard Whelan, U.S. Postal Cachet, May 21, 1929 (Source: Staines)
Bernard Whelan, U.S. Postal Cachet, May 21, 1929 (Source: Staines)

Whelan was President of The Early Birds of Aviation, Inc. January 1, 1962 to December 31, 1962. His biographical information on the Early Birds Web site is another source of photographs and articles.


Dossier 2.1.166


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


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