2019 AAHS Annual Event Announcement
AAHS ANNUAL MEETING
February 16-18, 2019!
The 2019 AAHS Annual Meeting will be held in Tucson, AZ, hosted by the Phoenix Wing, at the Pima
Air Museum! This plans to be an exceptional weekend of aviation history you’ll not want to miss!
Planned activities include:
• Saturday luncheon at the Pima Museum that includes an AAHS-only restoration facility tour
• Tour of the nearby Titan Missile facility, including the newly built above ground museum and
• A one-time-only AAHS group tour of the Davis Monthan ‘boneyard’
(**will require advance reservation and background check)
• Special aviation author keynote speaker (to be announced)
• Gifts and Giveaways
More details on the weekend activities, ticket pricing, and hotel reservations will be available on the
AAHS website in the near future and upcoming mailings. See you there!
Development of the Tiltrotor Aircraft
Since the early days of powered flight, aircraft visionaries
and designers pursued the creation of an aircraft that
would provide the elusive capability for vertical takeoff.
While achieving controllable hover was challenging enough,
practical planners knew that vertical takeoff aircraft had to have
sufficient speed and range in forward flight to allow the aircraft
to be operationally useful. These capabilities became the
fundamental performance goals of as well as the rationale for
the tiltrotor aircraft. As it turned out, over half a century would
pass before the tiltrotor would evolve from a novel concept to a
successful new class of aircraft.
Early Tiltrotor Aircraft
Although several early helicopter designs achieved various
measures of success, the Focke-Wulf Fw-61, which flew in
1936, is widely considered to be the first fully operational
helicopter. This aircraft had two laterally displaced (side-byside)
rotors mounted on open frame-outriggers. The Fw-61 was
capable of vertical takeoff, sustained hover, low speed
maneuverability, and a record helicopter forward flight speed of
112 km/h (70 mph).
Around the time the Fw-61 set the helicopter speed record,
several conceptual designs were proposed that appeared to
recognize that the maximum attainable speed of the pure
helicopter would be limited by the
edgewise flight of its rotor. In forward
flight the helicopter rotor blades
experience an acceleration and
deceleration as they “advance” into
and “retreat” from the oncoming air
stream. As the helicopter exceeds an
airspeed of about 170 knots (230
mph), the advancing blade tip
encounters near-sonic speeds, resulting
in a dramatic increase in drag. At the
same time, portions of the retreating
blade experience reverse flow and
become incapable of producing
adequate lift. These fundamental
problems result in a limitation of the
maximum speed that can be achieved
by a conventional helicopter. To
eliminate those problems a new . . .
Transcendental Model 2.
Requiem for the Grumman G-23
Not long ago, my friend, colleague, and internationally
respected aero-historian, Dr. Rene Francillon, very
unexpectedly, and tragically, made his final flight.
Upon learning of his passing, rather belatedly, I immediately
set aside some dedicated time to do something that has been my
own, small way of honoring the memory of aviation history
colleagues who have been such a central part of my own life and
avocation: I pulled down my rather well-worn copy of his
classic Grumman Aircraft since 1929 (Putnam Aeronautical
Books, London, UK, 1989, ISBN 0-85177-835-6) and treated
myself once again to his wonderful work, having used it often
over the years, but not read it, cover-to-cover, for more than
This duty of honor invariably soothes my soul and rather
pointedly reminds me that it isn’t what we take with us, but what
we leave behind. Tail winds, always, Rene.
Having had occasion more and more often in recent years
to reflect on such passages, I have found, perhaps inevitably,
that in the process of my own work and research, I had stumbled
upon bits-and-pieces of data and obscure details that I truly
should have shared with my brethren, but which somehow had
gently hid away in my own scattered notes and research
And so it was with friend Rene’s classic work on the
Grumman “Iron Works.”
Indeed, I got no farther than the end of his first full chapter,
dedicated to the manufacturers first successful product, the
corpulent FF and SF series, and suddenly remembered that,“somewhere,” I had some notes that spoke to some of the open
questions that eluded Rene’s best efforts in the 1980s when he
was on his quest to document this seminal design bureau.
It all started with his single, lengthy paragraph on Page 61,
devoted to a solitary Canadian Car & Foundry (CCF) assembled
G-23, correctly described as Manufacturers Serial Number 101,
which had been sold to Nicaragua, where it gained Guardia
Nacional serial G.N.-3.
Unfortunately, the first two sentences of the paragraph,
reporting the above, can now be described as the solitary portion
of that paragraph that is essentially correct, in light of other data
that has slowly emerged from diverse sources since the 1980s.
That aircraft has consistently been reported, including
accounts published by this writer in years gone by, as not only
the solitary G-23 to go to Nicaragua, but also as subsequently
having become the sole survivor of the type.
As will become clear from the following aircraft-by-aircraft
discussion, this can now be reported as having been substantially
In fact, three separate G-23s ended their service lives inside
the borders of Nicaragua but, as is so often the case in the study
of Latin American aviation, just how they got there and what
subsequently happened to them has been shrouded in misunderstandings,
assumptions and myths.
Grumman GG-1, Manufacturers Serial Number 202
Readers who have done their homework will quickly note
several puzzling things about the seminal aircraft described
above as type Grumman GG-1, MSN 202.
In his Grumman book, Rene Francillon writes that the one-and-only GG-1 was “. . .assembled from major components
remaining after production of FF-1s and SF-1s had ended,” and . . .
Grumman GG-1 X12V
The Search for Historic Truth; The Search for Lt. Eugene M. Bradley$rsquo;s Crash Site
The New England Air Museum (NEAM) published Bradley
Field, the First 25 Years in 1998, a history book of
Connecticut’s premier international airport. This book
was the culmination of four years of research. Civilian and
military participants of the period were interviewed. Local, state,
and national records were reviewed. State officials, media
archives and libraries were visited. Many questions were raised
and answered. Though there were many diverse opinions on the
answer, one question remained unanswered.
It began as a casual question; “Where had Lt. Eugene M.
Bradley crashed?” The more this question was asked, the more
diverse the details became. This question was not the primary
focus of the book, so we did not press for the correct and
We had found a photograph in the NEAM newsletter that
was marked as the Bradley crash. We used it without question
only to find the original photo years later. Photos were
published in the October 2003 issue of Air Classics showing
other views of the same crash. We now had evidence that the
photo was not of the Bradley crash. The new photos show no
leaves on the trees, bystanders were wearing overcoats, and the
hazy white material on the ground was snow. Lt. Bradley had
crashed on August 21, 1941.
Was it important to find the answer to this question? If one
looks back to the prevailing conditions in 1941, the impact the
airfield had on the local communities, the state, and to the
sacrifices made by the WWII generation you can only answer
in the affirmative. Bradley International Airport not only serves
as Connecticut’s largest and most active transportation center,
it is a living memorial to Lt. Bradley and to all those who have
served or sacrificed so that we may enjoy the freedom we have.
This was not the first attempt to find the crash site. Others
had tried before. This report summarizes our effort to answer
this question. An archive of supporting materials collected
during this research will be maintained at the NEAM for future
researchers to review.
Many people contributed to the research. We had
unwavering support from state officials, the DOT, the airport
administration, local communities and corporations, the military
and federal agencies. A thank you to all of you for opening
doors, providing data, supplying expertise and giving guidance.
THE WINDSOR LOCKS AIRBASE
Prelude to War
As Connecticut struggled with the economic consequences
of the Great Depression, events in Europe and Asia signaled new
dangers abroad. By the spring of 1936, Adolph Hitler had taken
control of the Rhineland and created the Rome-Berlin axis with
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. That summer, civil war broke
out in Spain with the forces of Francisco Franco fighting the
Spanish Loyalists who were being aided by both the Italians and
In the fall of 1937, Japan renewed its intervention activities
in China. Hitler seized Austria in March of 1938 and followed
up with taking Czechoslovakia in 1939. In August of 1939, Hitler signed a Non-Aggression Pact with the Russians in
preparation for his September 1, 1939, invasion of Poland. Two
days following this invasion, England and France declared war
With the outbreak of war in Europe, orders for military
goods and supplies soon reinvigorated the aviation and
munitions industries. These orders resulted in a mad expansion
of the work force and plant capacity reminiscent of the boom
years associated with the First World War. The aircraft industry,
already established in the Hartford area, benefited greatly from
these contracts. In East Hartford, United Aircraft Corporation’s
Pratt and Whitney division grew from 3,000 employees to over
20,000 in 30 months. Other defense-related industries such as
Hamilton Propellers and Electric Boat similarly prospered.
Locating an Air Base in Windsor Locks.
The primary airfield in Connecticut was Brainard Field in
Hartford. After the opening of Brainard Field (named for
Newton C. Brainard, mayor of Hartford) in October 1922,
efforts were soon launched to secure the new military air
service unit for Connecticut. At the time, Rhode Island and
Massachusetts were also vying to secure the military air service
The Army also evaluated Bowles/Agawam Airport (then
being used as a racetrack) and similarly rejected it for military
use. During the course of conducting an aerial survey, the Army
noted the possibilities presented in the Windsor Locks area.
A preliminary survey was conducted in November of 1940
and in January, 1941. Governor Hurley agreed that the project . . .
Lt. Eugene M. Bradley
Air Mail Etiquettes and Labels
In the early 1900s U.S. mail primarily traveled by rail. Following the success of the airplane in WWI the U.S. government in May 1918 ordered the Army Air Service to develop a transcontinental airmail service. After a difficult start-up period, the service was inaugurated and despite occasional mishaps the Air Service pilots did a magnificent job. Three months later the Post Office Department hired pilots to fly the mail domestically within the United States. This was a well-paying, but often dangerous occupation, as these pioneer aviators paved the way in open cockpits through inclement weather, at low altitudes over many of the air routes still in use today. This airmail system evolved into a plane-train system. The airplane flew the mail during the day and connected with a train for onward night transportation, re-connecting with a plane at daylight. With the continued development of the airplane both in speed and size it became apparent that airmail was more efficient than train mail.
The carriage of mail by commercial airlines within the United States originates from “The Air Mail Act of 1925” (Kelly Act) when the U.S. Postmaster General was authorized to contract with commercial air carriers for domestic airmail service between U.S. cities. Congressman Clyde Kelly of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the House Post Office Committee, sponsored The Contract Air Mail Bill. Contracts were awarded through a bidding process. The act also set airmail rates and the rates paid to the airlines. This act effectively helped create the airline industry within the U.S. Each airmail route was assigned a number, which became known as “Contract Air Mail” (or CAM’s). Air mail carried to and from the United States is popularly identified as Foreign Air Mail or FAM’s.
For an in depth review of U.S. airmail it is recommended that the reader refer to the American Air Mail Society or many other similar organizations. The intent of this article is to highlight the airline etiquettes/labels in use during the development of Air Mail. Labels are shown in approximate size.
Soon after passage of The Air Mail Act, bids were solicited for the routes and there was no shortage of air carriers bidding, and submitting how much they would charge to carry the mail.
Air mail zones were established and airmail carriers compensation was set for mail carried within those zones. On July 1, 1926, CAM #1 was awarded to Colonial Air Transport to carry the mail from New York to Boston with a stop at Hartford, Conn., in each direction. Vice President and General Manager of Colonial Air Transport was a young man named Juan T. Trippe, who later was involved in the founding of Pan American Airways, and became its president. Colonial Air Transport was sold to American Airways in 1930.
Many famous aviators emerged from this period including Charles A. Lindbergh, a pilot for Robertson Aircraft Corp. On April 15, 1926, he piloted of a DH-4B biplane, on CAM #2 from Chicago to St. Louis and return. Robertson Aircraft Corp. was a predecessor of American Airlines.
The aircraft were rickety and en-route weather often forced unplanned stops. Occasionally, these combined with disastrous results and many pilots did not survive.
There were numerous problems with the existing airmail regulations and the awarding of contracts. The small air carriers . .
Sample Foreign Etiquettes
90 Years Ago. SOARING: Germany’s Gift to Sporting America
In early spring of 1895, James Means from Boston envisioned an aeronautical camp to encourage students of mechanical flight to become acquainted with aeroplanes. To make this meeting a full success, Means, with his friend Octave Chanute, contacted Otto Lilienthal from Germany and invited him to come to the United States to teach Americans how to build, fly and repair gliders. The Cape Cod peninsula with its scarcity of trees and steadiness of wind seemed the most suitable location. For various reasons, the camp did not materialize.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, about 25 years later, German aeronautical designers had to work on the less spectacular, but still significant, development of low-speed, high-lift, unpowered gliders. German pilots called their motorless craft “sailplanes” (Segelflugzeuge), because “for all practical purposes, gliding or soaring is simply aerial sailing in three dimensions,” Their success started a gliding craze that soon presented a challenge to the rest of the aviation world.
While the requirements of WWI advanced aeronautics in most participating countries, this was not the case in America. Capt. Eddy Rickenbacker felt that this had to change.2 In the fall of 1922, he urged Americans to get going, “Come on America, Let’s Fly. Let’s get out of the dust and win back our self-respect and climb to the level of other.” Interest in general aviation increased a little, but there were not many big new developments in American aeronautics.
Members of the Aeronautical Engineering Society of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) decided to build and then take their two gliders to Europe to compete at the French and German glider meets in the summer of 1922. Their gliders, however, were not up-to-par with those flown by their European counterparts who were flying for an hour and more instead of just minutes. Would staging a gliding contest at the northern tip of the Cape Cod peninsula encourage progress in the American glider development? The envisioned contest did not materialize.
When Charles Lindbergh blazed across the Atlantic five years later, in May 1927, people awoke to the fact that flying was exciting and possible. Editorials stressed that gliding, or soaring, should be the next step for American youths with a penchant for building things and other youths with an urge to fly or do something different. However enthusiasts, young or old, wondered if there were ways to fly like the birds, without spending more money than they could branch off. There were three choices: (1) Do nothing and continue dreaming; (2) Join a model airplane group, build and fly homebuilt models and continue dreaming of going into the air in a much bigger model; or (3) Build a glider by yourself, which could be built at home for a relatively small expenditure.
However the basic question remained, then and even now, whether young America would have the patience to develop the supreme air senses that are required for motorless aviation, while so many opportunities were available for entering the motorized aviation branch with a hop, skip and a jump.
Back in Germany, the North German Lloyd Steamship Co. with its broad-minded business views had promoted aviation for many years. When their New York manager, Carl Kurt Fröhlich, expressed an interest in promoting motorless flight in America, the company requested films, slides and other promotional material from the Rhön-Rossitten-Gesellschaft (RRG), who organized all gliding activity in Germany. With all this information and encouragement, Fröhlich, R. A. Pope of the Harvard Aero Club, Dr. Helmuth Grathwol of the Magirus Co., and several other young men, formed the American Motorless . . .
Detroit Gull being launched
More than a Pilot: The Life and Career of a True Aviation Pioneer: Robert N. Buck
From the first day he walked across the tarmac towards a DC-3 as a newly minted 22 year-old copilot for Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA)1 in 1936, Robert Buck fashioned an aviation world for himself that took him from the right side of the cockpit to eventually commanding B-747-400s for Trans World Airlines. Robert Nietzel Buck entered the world on January 29, 1914, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was the son of Abijah Orange Buck (1869-1932) and his second wife, Emily Nietzel Buck.
Showing an early interest in the fledging field of aviation, he and a fellow student, Bill Mumford, built and flew their own gliders. One that was named the “Diving Dottie” crashed in what Buck described as a “sagging mass of cloth, wood, wires and a shaken up would-be pilot.” The glider had been towed by a Ford Model A to a local air strip. But Buck was as ever determined to become a successful pilot, and as Frederick R. Neely noted in his Colliers essay, “Wing Talk”:
A tall, stringy kid used to come into our office in the old Bureau of Air Commerce in Washington and chisel maps, look through airway bulletins, delve into questions about how to fly the airways, learn about radio beacons, study where emergency landing fields were located as well as learning all he could about teletype weather reporting networks. The Federal Airways System, with its beacon lights, radio beams, emergency landing fields and its teletype weather-reporting network was still quite new and old time “seat of the pants” pilots didn’t pay much attention to it. But this youngster at the age of 11 did and was interested to the point of being a pest, yet there was something sincere about his determination to fly and get somewhere in the business, and so we put up with him.
In 1945 that “near pest,” now 31, was superintendent of flying for TWA and had a titanic job of being responsible for monitoring 400 pilots, copilots and potential crew members in training who wished to fly in a 7,000 mile route system transporting an estimated 400,000 passengers.
Later in life Buck reminisced that “I used to pedal my bicycle from home in Westfield, N.J., to Hadley Field near New Brunswick where New York’s airmail arrived, and stand there all day just to watch the little ships come in and see the strong men who flew them. What got me was the sound of a ship and after it landed, the man with his helmet and goggles and parachute pack. I wanted to be that man!”
With his parents’ permission and as long as they were sure there were no telegraph wires nearby, Buck began taking flying lessons from C.D. Bower in a Fleet aircraft powered by a Kinner engine. Soloing on March 15, 1930, at the tender age of 16 he subsequently received the United States Department of Commerce License #13478 the following month. In short order, Buck set an altitude record of 15,000 feet.
On September 29, 1930, with six chocolate bars and a canteen of water, Buck, in his open cockpit Pitcairn PA-6 Mailwing, NC549K, that he named the “Yankee Clipper,” set a . . .
Bibliography for this article (PDF document)
Robert N. Buck
Blanche Noyes was a competitive air racer and aviation businesswoman of the Golden Age. She signed the Clover Field Register twice. She also landed and signed the Register four times at Parks Airport and once at Pitcairn Field. As such, she is one of the few pilots of any gender who appeared coast-to-coast in our Registers.
The informal photograph above of Noyes is from the Cleveland Press Collection. The photo description states, “The … photo shows Blanche W. Noyes, Cleveland aviatrix, who is ready with her Travelair [sic] biplane for the first women’s transcontinental air derby from Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio, part of the 1929 National Air Races [NAR].”
Noyes’ first visit to Santa Monica was on Tuesday, August 13, 1929. She flew a Travel Air she identified in the Register as NR657H, a model E-4000 named “Miss Cleveland.” She cited no home base or destination, but we know that on that date she was arriving at Santa Monica in preparation for her participation in the women’s cross-country event held in conjunction with the NAR. The cross-country race represented the first-time women competed in the NAR. Noyes ultimately placed fourth in the 1929 women’s transcontinental derby. This was just a few months after receiving her pilot’s license.
The photograph, right, again courtesy of the Cleveland Press Collection, was taken Sunday, August 11, 1929, at Wichita, Kan., as she began her trip to Santa Monica to participate in the NAR. The “Miss Cleveland” was flown under the sponsorship of the Halle Brothers Company. You can read “Miss Cleveland” on the fuselage just to the left of her head.
Her second landing at Clover Field occurred about two years later, on Tuesday, August 18, 1931. She was solo in a Great Lakes she identified as NC302Y, which was also named “Miss Cleveland.” She cited her destination as Cleveland, Ohio. Indeed, she was again competing in the women’s cross-country derby, this time in association with the 1931 NAR. Her airplane did not fare well in the journey and she did not place in the event.
Noyes was married to an aviator, Dewey Noyes, whose name also appears in the registries. They had gotten to know each other while she was taking flight instruction from him. He was killed in an aircraft accident in December 1935. With her husband’s passing she appeared to have assuaged her grief by continuing to fly and compete. In 1936, she teamed up as copilot with Louise Thaden to win the New York to Los Angeles Bendix Trophy Race in a Beech C-17R Staggerwing. They won $7,000 for their 14:54:49 winning time, plus a prize of $2,500 for a new women’s record. This was the first-time women could participate in the Bendix Race. Both Noyes and Thaden were pioneers in this regard, having competed both in the first National Air Races in 1929 and the first Bendix Trophy Race open to female competitors in 1936.
Parenthetically, Noyes related an anecdote about the finish of the Bendix Race at Los Angeles. She quoted an official on the ground there as saying, “Blanche, I’m afraid you’ve won the Bendix Race! I hope you haven’t, but if it has to be a woman, I’m glad it is you!” She must have been biting her tongue.
Noyes also landed at least four times at Parks Airport. Her third landing was . . .
Louise Thaden, Vincent Bendix, Blanche Noyes
Forum of Flight
This edition of Forum of Flight comes from the Paul
Schiding collection. Paul was a long time member of the
AAHS and donated his photo collection to the Society when he
passed away last year. The following is a sample from this
The FORUM is presented as an opportunity for
members to participate in the Journal by submitting interesting
or unusual photographs. Negatives, slides, black-and-white or
color photos with good contrast may be used if they have
smooth surfaces. Digital submissions are also acceptable, but
please provide high resolution images (>3,000 pixels wide).
Please include as much information as possible about the
image such as: date, place, msn (manufacturer’s serial
number), names, etc., plus proper photo credit (it may be from
your collection but taken by another photographer).
Send submissions to the Editorial Committee marked“Forum of Flight,” P. O. Box 3023 Huntington Beach, CA
92605-3023. Mark any material to be returned: “Return to
(your name and complete address).” Or you may to wish have
your material added to the AAHS photo archives.
2018 is proving to be a year of new experiences for AAHS, both challenging and rewarding. This year we have expanded options within Ebay and Paypal Giving Funds, allowing sellers to donate a portion of their eBay sales to AAHS. We have received over $5,000 this year so already through this venue. These funds are already hard at work; we are contracting out digital scanning and indexing of over 100,000 35mm slides, adding them to our online photo database. This will vastly increase the number of digital images electronically available to our members, but is taking additional volunteer effort and time to integrate this new process into our in-house workings.
We’re reaching out to re-acquaint AAHS HQ with the long-active Phoenix Wing, as we work together to host the 2019 Annual Meeting in Tucson, Arizona (see the ‘Save the Dates’ article, this issue). It’s been 25 years since AAHS HQ has partnered with the Phoenix Wing for an Annual Meeting (the last one was 1994) and, it is going to be a great opportunity to share aviation history with new friends and refresh long-standing relationships. It is shaping to be a great event that we’re all excited about.
We are moving to outsource the generic layout effort to publish the AAHS Journal. This will free up our long-suffering Journal Editor’s time, away from basic publishing functions to focus more valuable time on the aviation history content that makes our Journal unique.
AAHS, long headquartered in the Orange County area of Southern California, is taking the significant step this year of moving operations 60 miles east to historic Flabob Airport, in Riverside, California. This move (see more details in the related article, this issue), the first of its kind for AAHS, will undoubtedly bring frustrations and hiccups that will take patience and fortitude on all our parts to manage successfully. But success as an organization is exactly the reward . . .
Future AAHS Headquarters
It’s official! AAHS is moving its headquarters from Huntington Beach, CA, to historic Flabob Airport, in Riverside, California.
AAHS has had a number of homes in its 60-plus years; a member’s home, a P.O. Box, and a strip mall unit to name a few. Now AAHS has the unique opportunity to join a larger, aviation friendly environment, thanks to the financial generosity of member John Turgyan, the enthusiastic support of Jon Goldenbaum (President of the non-profit Tom Wathen Foundation that runs Flabob) and the aviation community there.
For more information see AAHS FLIGHTLINE #198. . . .
Future AAHS Headquarters
In the News | Book Reviews | Links | Store
| Members Only | Membership | About AAHS | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 2002-2018 American Aviation Historical Society