Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register 1925-1936 with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. 375 pages with black & white photographs and extensive tables


The Congress of Ghosts (available as eBook) is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 (available as eBook) 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.


Clover Field: The first Century of Aviation in the Golden State (available in paperback) 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. 281 pages, black & white photographs.


the register


I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Halpin 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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Thomas Halpin landed once at Parks Airport, on Tuesday, February 18, 1930 at 5:40PM. He flew an airplane of his own manufacture, the Flamingo NC9487, a model G-2-W, S/N 11. NC9487 was an all-metal airplane. He identified his home base as Cincinnati, OH.

According to, Halpin once worked for Stout Aircraft. He owned Halpin Development Co. at Lunken Airport, Cincinnati OH, which was reorganized as the Metal Aircraft Corp. at Lunken on May 1, 1928 specifically to manufacture the Flamingo. His aircraft beginning with the G model designation, including NC9487, were designed by Ralph R. Graichen. The next year, Halpin sold the company in September, 1929 (with Mason & Dixon Air Line which operated Flamingos out of Lunken) to Robert Schryver, Columbus OH.

Halpin's and Graichen's Flamingos served the purpose for several early airlines for a light transport on a daily schedule and for hauling mail. Carriers including Embry-Riddle, (which served Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago); The Mason & Dixon Air Lines, (which served Cincinnati to Detroit); and U.S. Airways (which served Kansas City to Denver). NC9487 showed up at Peterson Field, Colorado Springs, CO in 1933 flown by Register pilot John H. Cordner. It wore U.S. Airways livery at that time.

Thomas E. Halpin, Jr. was born January 23, 1903 in Eaton, CO. His father was Thomas, Sr. and his mother was Ellen Hefferman. The 1910 U.S. Census, his first, listed the family living in Eaton, with his grandmother, Bridget Hefferman (78), living with them. The occupation of Thomas, Sr. was identified as "General Foreman."


International News Service LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 26. The Flamingo, an all-metal air-monoplane christened here recently, broke a gas line, burst into flames today and crashed while traveling 100 miles an hour. The plane had just taken off for Memphis, Tenn., and was steered to earth by Thomas E. Halpin, her designer and pilot with her roaring engine spitting flames. As the craft hit the ground she turned over. Halpin's right hip was fractured. The other occupants of the ship, Orrie Fryman, relief pilot and mechanic, and H. C. Yeiser, Jr., president of the Metal Aircraft Corporation which recently took over assets of Halpin's company were not injured.

The 1920 Census placed Halpin at age 17 living in Eaton with his father and mother, brothers John (19) and William (7). Bridget was no longer with them. The Census listed his father and mother as unemployed and older brother, John, as an "automobile salesman." I do not know where Halpin was educated.

Halpin was a flying cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps from January 21 to August 25, 1922. He was on active duty until April 25, 1926. He then became inactive and in the National Guard until March, 1938. I found no Census information for 1930. He does appear in a news article from The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA), left, May 26, 1928 having suffered a serious injury while flying a Flamingo aircraft (see below).

He was married at least twice, the first being at age 28 on May 3, 1930 to Dorothy Foote (24). Their marriage certificate is below, identifying his residence as Dearborn, MI and his occupation as "aircraft operator."

Halpin/Foote Marriage, May 3, 1930 (Source:
Halpin/Foote Marriage, April 28, 1930 (Source:

Three years later, Halpin was married again at age 31 at Auburn, IN on March 18, 1933 to Alda L. Farrar (28). Their record of marriage is below from the official Indiana marriage records list. It's interesting that this certificate states that it was his 1st marriage. I could find no separation, annulment or divorce record for Thomas and Dorothy, although I did find a record that Dorothy remarried in August, 1939 at age 34. She died in January, 1970 at age 65. Regardless, Halpin's residence is listed on the certificate as Fort Wayne, IN and his occupation as "Air Craft Operator."

Halpin/Farar Marriage, March 18, 1933 (Source: Web)

Although out of the ownership part of the business, Halpin was not out of aviation. He remained 3rd VP and General Manager of the Metal Aircraft Corporation at Lunken Airport. Perhaps it is this work that he referred to when he identified his occupation as "Aircraft Operator." However, with the simultaneous crash of the stock market in 1929, only 21 Flamingos were built before the company went out of business.

Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), February 6, 1930 (Source: Woodling)


In 1930 he offered an alternate grand prize for a model airplane contest held in Greeley, CO. His generosity was documented in the Greeley Daily Tribune, February 6, 1930, right. This article states he was a student at the Eaton high school. The full article was titled, "25 Prizes Headed by Majestic Offered in Tribune's County Airplane Building Tournament."

The contest was a great entertainment to the youth of Greeley. Several categories of models were sponsored (e.g. flying, non-flying; ground-launched, hand-launched; rubber band, gas-powered, compressed air-powered). The prizes were really prizes that genuinely would be prized by young people (both boys and girls were allowed to enter). Besides engraved gold medals, there was a waterproof pup tent; lingerie; Jantzen and Spaulding bathing suits; subscriptions to Airplane Model News and Aero Digest, and various tools, all donated by local businesses. Compare this contest with the Mississippi Valley Airplane Model Tournament judged by fellow Register pilot May Haizlip in 1934.

Majestic Model 90 Radio (Source: Web)


For your information, the "Majestic" in the headline referred to the grand prize, which was a Majestic No. 90, New Prosperity Model Electric Radio, which looked something like the image, right.

Greeley Daily Times (CO), May 27, 1938 (Source: Woodling)
Greeley Daily Times (CO), May 27, 1938 (Source: Woodling)


During the late 1930s Halpin was an inspector for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He was called to investigate an air crash as reported in the Greeley Daily Times (CO) of May 27, 1938, left. The article states he was a graduate of Greeley high school.

The 1940 Census placed him living at age 37 in Santa Monica, CA as a lodger with 40 other people at the Carlton Hotel, 3005 Main Street. According to Google Earth, the 5-storey building is still there, but it is now called the Carleton Apartments. His occupation was cited as "Parts Salesman" for an "Aircraft Factory." He was listed as married, but his wife was not with him. On the Census form, his residence in 1935 was listed as Cincinnati, OH

Halpin moved from Cincinnati/Santa Monica and was director of training at Embry-Riddle School of Aviation in Miami, FL in 1941. Seemingly restless, he founded the Halpin Coairdinator Company in Florida in 1943. Halpin invented the Halpin Coairdinator, a 1/32" x 7 1/16" x 1 5/8" plastic rule; a cockpit navigational aid for pilots that could be carried in a pocket. This 7" white plastic rule has scales for statute miles and surface speed in miles per hour along both long edges, at proportions of 1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000. His device is pictured, below, from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

The Halpin Coairdinator, 1947 (Source: SNMAH)
The Halpin Coairdinator, 1947 (Source: SNMAH)

A blue plastic propeller is riveted next to the company's name (purpose?). The rule is also marked in English and Spanish. The back of the rule gives conversion factors for statute miles, nautical miles, and kilometers. That side also has conversion scales for feet and meters; liters, U.S. gallons, and imperial gallons; and kilometers, statute miles, and nautical miles. Halpin Coairdinator later copyrighted devices in Brazil as well as in the United States. 

During WWII he ferried bombers across the Atlantic, probably over the South America to Africa route, according to the following article from the Greeley Daily Tribune of March 18, 1942. I breaking his hip in 1928 wasn't enough (above), this article describes a broken ankle and head injuries suffered when he was struck by a taxi.

Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), March 18, 1942 (Source: Woodling)


Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), December 25, 1942 (Source: Woodling)
Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), December 25, 1942 (Source: Woodling)


His injuries apparently were long-lasting, since the Greeley Daily Tribune of December 25, 1942 reported his release from the veterans' hospital on December 15th, right.

Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), August 6, 1943 (Source: Woodling)
Greeley Daily Tribune (CO), August 6, 1943 (Source: Woodling)



He didn't recuperate for long, however, because the Daily Tribune of August 6, 1943 reported on a patent he was awarded for an aircraft radio navigation device, left.



Thomas Halpin died ca. July 11, 1966. His passing was reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 14, 1966, below. He flew West with Transport pilot certificate T223.


Funeral services for Thomas E. Halpin, a pioneer aviator were today at the McLaughlin undertaking establishment, 2301 Lafayette Avenue. Burial was in National cemetery. Mr. Halpin, 63 years old, was the first pilot to carry airmail into Grand Rapids, Mich., in the early 1930s. He held transport pilot's license 223. He was an employee of McDonnell Aircraft Corp. since 1948 but had been on extended medical leave recently. He resided at the Lennox Hotel and died there Monday. There are no known surviving relatives.


Halpin was difficult to research. Other than his spotty Census records, references to Metal Aircraft Co. and the Coairdinator, above, his Web presence is nil. I could find no photographs of him, little information about his education or family life, or what he did for fun.If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.


Flamingo NC9487, Ciudad Bolivar Airport, Venezuela, Modern (Source: Web)


Incidentally, Halpin's NC9487 was crash landed on a plateau in Venezuela in 1937. The pilot was Jimmie Angel. It is now in static display at Venezuela's Ciudad Bolivar Airport, right. Please direct your browser to the link to see photographs of the airplane as it was flown by Angel (and named El Rio Caroní), and its penultimate resting place.






THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/13/16 REVISED: 12/26/16