Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.




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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 (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 Sanders and his airplanes 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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W.C. Sanders was born March 5, 1900. The 1910 U.S. Census, his first, he is listed as age 10 living with his father, Frank (39), mother Lucy (35) and sister Mary A. (13) living in Shreveport, LA. His father's occupation was listed as a "Conductor" on a "Railroad."

Sanders' father passed away sometime between 1910 and 1920. The 1920 Census recorded his mother as a widow at age 45 and unemployed. Sanders (20) lived with her and worked as a "Manager" at a "Drilling Company." They lived in Shreveport.

Sanders married Lee-Berta ca. 1926. The 1930 Census placed him at age 30 living in a rented home ($60 per month) at 319 Rutherford St. in Shreveport. His widowed mother lived with them (age 55), as did their son, W.C., Jr., age 4.

Sanders signed the Parks Airport Register five times. In most of the news articles I reviewed, he went by "Currey Sanders" and he signed the Register that way once. The other times he used "W.C."

The first information I have about Sanders appeared in the Daily Herald (Biloxi & Gulfport, MS) of July 25, 1929, below, right. The article reported on an endurance flight attempted by Sanders and a fellow pilot that was abbreviated by fouled fuel. The next time was his appearance in the log of aircraft accidents in Louisiana, immediately below. On November 3, 1929 he crashed a Stearman C3B when, through no fault of his own, the landing gear collapsed due to a cable failure.

Aircraft Accidents, Louisiana, 1929 (Source: Woodling)


Biloxi/Gulfport Daily Herald (MS), July 25, 1929 (Source: Woodling)
Biloxi/Gulfport Daily Herald (MS), July 25, 1929 (Source: Woodling)



Sanders' first visit to East St. Louis was logged in the Register on Sunday, July 20, 1930 at 7:00AM. He was solo in the Ryan Brougham B-1 he identified as NC7674, S/N 166. Sanders identified both his home base and his destination as Shreveport, LA. He wrote in the remarks column of the Register, "Texaco Shreveport," alluding to his employer at the time.

His second and third visits were in the same airplane, the Ryan B-5 Brougham he identified as NC17H, S/N202. These visits appeared to be a round trip flight to Chicago, IL from Shreveport, because he landed on Thursday, August 28, 1930 at 6:30PM traveling northbound. He remained overnight, departing next day at 9:00AM. His return trip was captured in the Register on Sunday, August 31, 1930 at 6:10PM. Although he didn't record it, he probably remained overnight again before continuing south. He cited no passengers on either leg.

His fourth visit was on Friday, December 18, 1931 at 2:55PM. He flew the Stinson S Junior he identified as NC12145, S/N8203. Again, he cited no passengers. He was southbound from East St. Louis to Little Rock, AR. He gave no reason for his flight.

His final landing was almost two years later on Thursday, June 15, 1933. He flew NC12145 again and cited no passengers. He was northbound to Chicago, IL.

The 1940 Census placed Sanders at age 40 living at 1063 Fairmount Rd. in Glendale, CA. According to city directories, he was at that address at least from 1939 and 1942. This address is in a residential area today, and the home looks like it could be 1940s-vintage. He lived with his wife, Lee (36), fourteen-year-old son W.C., Jr. (1926-1943) and a servant, Rose Spillman (29). Sanders was employed as an "Aviation Pilot" working for an "Aircraft Manufacturer." His title would be more accurate as "Test pilot" working for "Lockheed Aircraft Company." His salary of $5,000 was very good for the time.

Their address was about four miles southeast from the contemporary Hollywood Burbank Airport. That airport has had a key role in west coast and national civil, commercial and military aviation to this day. At its founding it was initially named United Airport (1930–1934), then Union Air Terminal (1934–1940), Lockheed Air Terminal (1940–1967), Hollywood-Burbank Airport (1967–1978), Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (1978–2003), Bob Hope Airport (2003–2016), and Hollywood Burbank Airport (2016-). Sanders worked there when it was named the Lockheed Air Terminal.

During WWII, Sanders was part of a team of 76 pilots and copilots who managed the test flight program for Lockheed's output of new war planes (e.g. P-38 Lightnings, Hudson bombers). The article, below, from the October 25, 1942 issue of the Arizona Republic cites Sanders' role (see the bracket).

This article reads like a who's who of Register pilots who tested airplanes for Lockheed, with mention of Tucson pilots Elmer McLeod, Jimmy Mattern and Milo Burcham, and Parks Airport pilot Bill Dougan. All of them flew the southwest and midwest some years before their duties with Lockheed.

Let me suggest you investigate Elmer McLeod's biographical information at the link. More relevant to the article below is McLeod's Photograph and Document Collection that you can view at this second link. Specifically, I call your attention to his pilot log books that you may download and view in their entirety at the third link. Review specifically log book #6 covering July 30, 1940-May 18, 1944 (scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page).

Lockheed Test Flight Team, Arizona Republic, October 25, 1942 (Source: Woodling)

An unfortunate occurrence during this period was the death of Sander's son from influenza in 1943. After the war, Sanders returned to civil aviation, working for Dallas Aircraft Sales, Inc. at Love Field in Dallas, TX. The Monroe Morning World (LA) of August 25, 1946 advertised charter flights in a twin Beech aircraft flown by Sanders, below.

Monroe Morning World (LA), August 25, 1946 (Source: Woodling)


Note the small photo of Sanders at lower left in the advertisement. A few months earlier, a similar advertisement appeared in the Wichita Daily Times (TX) of June 30th, and another a month later, on September 15th.

Interestingly, another advertisement appeared on the same page as this one that announced a concert by talented musician Sax Kari (1920-2009). The link takes you to his wiki biography. His diversified performance career spanned nearly 70 years.

An example of the work done by Sax Kari is at the link. FULL DISCLOSURE: this link is to a YouTube dance video that might be outside the taste limits of some site visitors. Kari provided the background music.

Regardless, the advertisement is below. It illustrated the Jim Crow south that persisted for another couple of decades. And beyond if you've been paying attention.

Monroe Morning World (LA), August 25, 1946 (Source: Woodling)

The 1947 city directory for Shreveport identified Sanders as a salesman for the Beech Aircraft Company. He and Lee lived at 1729 1/2 Buckner Avenue.

Sanders remained with Beech for at least a decade. He moved from pilot to president of his own distributorship in Shreveport. The Monroe News-Star (LA) published an advertisement on October 10, 1955 in letter form that solicited sales or charters of Beech aircraft. Sanders was identified as the president of the Aircraft Company, Inc. at the Shreveport Downtown Airport.

W.C. Sanders, Sr. Family Grave Marker (Source: findagrave)


Two years later, W.C. Sanders, Sr. flew West on September 23, 1957. He was buried at Shreveport. His family's grave marker is at right. His wife, Lee, survived him by three years, passing away April 15, 1960. Their son died in Dallas December 26, 1943. Sanders' mother, Lucy passed away four months after her son.

An article in the Billings Gazette (MT) of October 9, 1957 reported Sanders' death two weeks earlier from a heart attack while big game hunting.

A lengthy biographical article appeared in the Shreveport Times of September 25, 1957. This account was exhibited on Sanders' findagrave.com page and I reprint it below.

Obituary from the Shreveport Times newspaper, Sep. 25, 1957, Wednesday, pp. 1-A & 8-A:

Sanders Dies In Wyo. After Heart Attack – Aviation Pioneer Succumbs While On Hunting Trip

W. Currey Sanders, from the pioneer days of aviation a familiar name in the field of flying, died early Tuesday in the Rocky Mountains while on an elk hunt. Mr. Sanders, 57, suffered a heart attack.

Piloting his own plane, he left Shreveport Friday with a party of Shreveport businessmen for the hunting trip to Cody, Wyo. The body is to be returned today for funeral services at Osborn Funeral Home. Rites are tentatively set for Thursday.

Mr. Sanders was president and general manager of the Currey Sanders Aircraft Co. Inc. at the Downtown Airport and a longtime chairman of the aviation committee of the Chamber of Commerce. He lived at 4012 Richmond Dr.

He was a native of Shreveport, born March 25, 1900. Shortly after graduation from the old Hope Street High School he joined the World War I Air Corps, completing his military flight training in November of 1917.

After the war he became a member of the early day pioneer pilots, crop dusting in South America, staging exhibition flights across the nation, stunt flying just for fun and to blaze aviation trails.

During the early 20s, he formed lifelong friendships with aviation figures such as Doolittle, Rickenbacker and well known local aviators such as Conway Allen, Col. Howard F. Noble, and Van Lear Leary.

Endurance Contest

It was with Leary that Mr. Sanders in 1929 entered an unprecedented flight endurance contest that attracted national attention.

The two young pilots, flying the monoplane "KWKH," using the daring new refueling relay hookup of that day, stayed aloft over Shreveport 128 hours, 40 minutes. Motor trouble brought them down at 7 p.m. July 22, 1929, according to the logs from the then almost unheard-of telephone communications between planes, "too broken-hearted for words."

They established no records, but the feat etched their names among the limited number of frontiersmen of the air whose daring paved the path of modern aviation.

He was engaged occasionally in the oil business but most of his adult life was devoted to aviation. Before World War II he was employed by Lockheed Aircraft in Dallas in aircraft sales and during the war was acting chief test pilot for Lockheed at the California plant.

He later became a Beech Aircraft dealer in Shreveport and in April of 1951 formed the Ark-La-Tex distributorship for Beechcraft planes. 

His organizations included such exclusive pioneer airmen's groups as the OX-5 and Shreveport Hangar of Quiet Birdmen. He also was a member of the Petroleum Club, and was believed to be one of the oldest active pilots in this region.

He was married to the former Lee Moore. The couple had one son, W. Currey Sanders Jr., who died some 15 years ago in his teens following an illness.

An avid hunter and fisherman, he flew to Wyoming with W. O. White, Ray O'Brien Jr. and several other local businessmen for the elk hunt. They were guests of a party of Cody huntsmen.

Survivors include his widow and mother, Mrs. Lucy Sebastian Sanders of Shreveport, and one sister, Mrs. Douglas Stephenson of Shreveport.

As head of the Chamber of Commerce aviation committee, he attended an aviation hearing on Trans-Texas routes recently held in Alexandria and was active in C of C work until his death.