The Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register

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This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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This link shows two additional views of the airplane from the Klein Archive of Aviation Photographs on this site.

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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.

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LOCKHEED VEGA Model 5 NC105N

LOCKHEED VEGA Model 5 NC105N

EVENTUALLY PART OF A HYBRID

This airplane is a Lockheed Vega Model 5 (S/N 117; ATC #93) manufactured during September 1929 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA.  It left the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp C engine (S/N 2038) of unidentified HP.  It was a five-place airplane.   NC105N had an interesting and tortuous life, being flown by an astronaut’s father, and winding up as a hybrid constructed of other Vegas.

Image, below, from friend of dmairfield.org, Tim Kalina. He says of the image: "I just received this very old photo of NC105N.... From all appearances, it’s an original taken at the time when NC105N was rolled out of the Lockheed plant in Burbank. I haven’t cleaned-up the photo but have left it as-is... tears, smudges and fingerprints included. Note that the plane’s registration has not yet been painted on the starboard upper wing."

Lockheed Vega NC105N New at the Factory at Burbank, CA
Lockheed Vega NC105N New at the Factory at Burbank, CA

It was purchased initially on October 8, 1929 by the Standard Oil Development Company, New York, NY.  It was used in testing and evaluation of aviation fuels, oils and lubricants, and for advertising by Standard Oil’s Stanavo Specification Board.  It was flown by Major Edwin E. Aldrin (astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s father), Robert Ellis, Will W. White and other Stanavo pilots.

Below, we see NC105N painted in Standard's livery. This image also comes to us courtesy of Tim Kalina.

Lockheed NC105N in Standard Oil of New Jersey Livery
Lockheed NC105N in Standard Oil of New Jersey Livery

NC105N landed once at Tucson on October 15, 1929, flown solo by Robert E. Ellis.  This was undoubtedly this brand new airplane’s maiden flight from the Burbank factory to the east coast.  According to the Register, Ellis arrived at 4:20 in the afternoon, stayed overnight at Tucson and departed east the next morning at 8:15.

NC105N was originally painted red with white trim (probably as in the image above).  Later it was painted with a full-length simulated eagle paint job, named “No. 6” and unofficially named the “Stanavo Eagle”.   It suffered an undescribed accident at Washington, VA on June 12, 1931.  It transferred to the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey on June 13, 1931 and repaired. It was rebuilt again during early 1933 by Fred Fetterman, a former Lockheed service representative, who also rebuilt the Mattern/Griffin airplane S/N 118 (NR869E/106N).

Below are two photographs of NC105N, courtesy of Tim Kalina. In the first, ground handlers move the airplane with a Bendix race pylon in the background.

Lockheed NC105N In Stanavo Livery, Ca. 1932 (Source: Kalina)
Lockheed NC105N In Stanavo Livery, Ca. 1932 (Source: Kalina)

Mr. Kalina says about his photographs, "One of the Vega photos has written on it’s back, ‘Standard Oil Co’s Lockheed Vega at Air Races-32’. The other Vega photo has ‘M-32A’ written on it’s back. Perhaps the 32 refers to the year? And judging by the Bendix pylon in the background I assume these are the National Air Races. If it is 1932 then the NAR would have been held in Cleveland, August 27 to September 5. Note that the Vega carries the more unusual white eagle on red fuselage paint scheme. The more common Stanavo ‘Eagle’ color scheme was red eagle on white fuselage." The image below was cropped from the one above (note tow cable and handler's feet near the tail skid.

Lockheed NC105N In Stanavo Livery, Ca. 1932 (Source: Kalina)
Lockheed NC105N In Stanavo Livery, Ca. 1932 (Source: Kalina)

The wheel pants are missing in the photo, but they continued the eagle paint scheme by having claw feet painted on them. The airplane was twice painted with the eagle motif, first white on red and later red on white. We find it in the first scheme above.

NC105N was sold on July 24, 1935 to Joseph Costa of Corning, NY, then again on October 15, 1935 to Monroe T. Breed of Corning, NY.  According to the NASM record, as of July 13, 1936, Mercury Aircraft, Inc. of Hammondsport, NY installed additional gas tanks and heavy-duty landing gear “from Art Goebel’s Vega” and oil tanks “from Amelia Earhart’s Vega” (registration numbers not mentioned for either airplane).

NC105N was sold again to Joseph Costa and an NR registration was approved for, “testing and long-distance flying”.  NR105N suffered an accident at Conceição do Serro, Minas Gerais, Brazil on January 15, 1937.  The pilot was Joseph Costa who was unhurt.  He had made a forced landing in the course of a South American flight en route to Portugal.  For the background story on pilot Costa's ownership of NC, then NR105N, and his trip to Brazil, please direct your browser to this link discovered for us by Mr. Kalina. No further information.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/01/06 REVISED: 09/26/07, 12/18/07, 12/26/07, 03/15/11, 12/12/13

 
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