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There is no biographical file for pilot Widmer 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. 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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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Charles E. Widmer was born in Oklahoma, October 27, 1895 and died in Los Angeles, January 19, 1959, age 63. SInce there is no biographical file for him at the Smithsonian (left sidebar), I know nothing of his education or adolescence. The 1920 (January 2nd) U.S. Census has him at 24 years old, living in Imperial, CA at 414 Sixth St. with his wife Katherine (21) and son Charles, Jr. (10 months). His occupation was listed as "Salesman" at a "Retail Hardware Store."

During the 1920s, Widmer was a well-known west coast flyer who supported himself with flight training, passenger transport and flying the airmail, as documented in the articles below and at left from the Van Nuys (CA) News, June 19, 1924, June 26, 1926 Oxnard (CA) Courier and the Nevada State Journal, November 16 and December 5, 1826.

Widmer and Air Meet, The Van Nuys News, June 19, 1924 (Source: Web)
Widmer and Air Meet, The Van Nuys News, June 19, 1924 (Source: Web)

Widmer landed and signed the Register at the Davis-Monthan Airfield fifteen times during 1928 and 1929. He landed fourteen times flying the Fokker Universal, NC3317. Please direct your browser to the link to learn about this workhorse of the Register, and to view a vintage color (!) motion picture of NC3317. This airplane was operated by

Mascot Transport, The Decatur Review (IL), September 21, 1929 (Source: Web)
Mascot Transport, The Decatur Review (IL), September 21, 1929 (Source: Web)


Oxnard Courier, June 26, 1926 (Source: Web)


Standard Air Lines during 1927-28 and by Mid-Continent Air Express (M.A.E.) afterwards. While with M.A.E., Widmer was tasked with mascot transport, as documented in the short public interest photo at right.

Widmer's other landing was in Fokker NC9789. Based at Los Angeles, CA, most of his flights recorded in both airplanes stated Los Angeles as his final destination. Interestingly, his Register entry for this airplane stated his destination as Denver, CO. The reason was as follows.

Nevada State Journal
, November 16, 1926 (Source: Web)



The 1930 U.S. Census records that Apartment 8 of the Fairmount Apartments, 30th and Morris Ave., Pueblo, CO was occupied by Register pilot Charles E. Widmer (34) and his wife Anna M. (age 23; her first name is spelled Anne in some records). Notice that Widmer was married to Katherine in 1920. I do not know exactly when his divorce/remarriage occurred. Regardless, Widmer was identified as an “Aviator” with “Mid-Continent Air Express” (M.A.E.) They paid $32.50 in rent.

Thus, it appears that Widmer was between jobs and ferrying NC9789 from Los Angeles to Denver for its new role as transport for M.A.E. and for his new job with same.

Parenthetically, the Fairmount Apartments housed two other Register pilots and colleagues of Widmer. They were Lee Willey (27) and his wife Gladys (28) and son Selwyn (8) , who lived in Apartment 6. On the census form, Willey was identified as a “Transport Pilot” for “W.A.E.” and “Mid-Continent Air Express. He paid $35 for rent.

Likewise, Hadley E. Hershey (24 years old) livied in Apartment 4 with his wife Patricia (24) and step-son Walter Porreca (5). They also paid $32.50 for rent. Hershey identified his occupation on the census form as “Aviator,” working for “W.A.E. Co." Notably, there appear to be no apartment buildings at this intersection visible on Google Earth today.

In 1940, according to the U.S. Census, Widmer, now age 44, was living in Glendale, CA at 214 San Fernando Blvd. with his wife Anna, now 33 years old, his son Charles, Jr. 22, and his nephew James Barrett, age 24. They paid $33/month in rent. From Google Earth, the 214 building now looks to be occupied by the Seeley Furniture Company.

Interestingly, all the men were employed in aviation in some degree. Charles, Sr. earned $950/month as "Manager of store" for a "Retail airplane Parts store." Charles, Jr. earned $1,200/month for "Heat treat inspection" at an "Airplane Mfg. Co." And nephew James earned $1,280/month in "Assembly, tail dept." at an "Airplane Mfg. Co." The airplane manufacturing company was probably Consolidated Aircraft.

Nevada State Journal, December 5, 1926 (Source: Web)


This is all I have for pilot Widmer. If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.



The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Widmer and his airplanes 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 Mike Gerow for help researching this page.


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.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. 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. ISBN 978-0-9843074-3-2.



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