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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Pomeroy, CP-314000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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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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GEORGE C. POMEROY

George Pomeroy landed at Tucson once, Friday, April 19, 1929 at 1:00PM. He carried a single passenger, Bror G. Dahlberg. Based in Chicago, IL, they were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA in the Fairchild FC-2W, NC4770. Please direct your browser to the airplane's link to see photographs and information about this well-used airplane, as well as information about, and a photograph of, passenger Dahlberg.

Site visitor Nancy Maliwesky from her Pomeroy blog link shares genealogical information about the Pomeroy family with the public. There is also a Pomeroy family Web site at the link. George Pomeroy was born March 5, 1895 in Brooklyn, Kings County, NY. He lived with his parents through 1913, moving with them in 1910 to Dayton, OH. There he took a job as "water boy" for the Wright Brothers, which duty focused on dampening the Brothers' runway in order to keep the dust down. It was this experience, and a ride proffered by the Brothers, that allegedly sparked his lifelong interest in flying.

In 1914, Pomeroy moved to Rochester, NY and worked as a die setter, salesman and chauffer. He was described in 1917 as being "short and stout with gray eyes and brown hair, not bald, no disabilities." Between 1918 and 1919, he joined the Army, learned to fly and was a Lafayette Escadrille flier for France during World War I.

After he left the Army, between 1920 and 1923, he lived with his parents in Rochester and was a pilot there. At age 28 (ca. 1923), he married Charlotte Smith, age 24, of Mt Clemens, MI.

For two years after his military service, he flew as a corporate pilot, ferrying sugar manufacturing magnate, B.G. Dahlberg (see above) and his wife all the way from Baffin Bay, north of the Arctic Circle to South America and back in a Sikorsky amphibian. His service with Dahlberg must have been ongoing, since he was still carrying him in 1929 (see above).

On August 16, 1924, he became a pilot for the U.S. Airmail service flying between Omaha and Cheyenne. He got into trouble for using a government aircraft for personal reasons. It seems he aided a hunter in (illegally) killing an antelope, landed and loaded the carcass in the airplane. He was fined $155 (a considerable sum in 1925) for, "having in his possession one certain antelope." The incident did not end his flying career, however. He was suspended without pay for 30 days, and his supervisor argued that it would take more time and money than it was worth to find and locate a replacement pilot.

From his genealogical information (cited from the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA, July 12, 1953, p. 13, Column 1), we get insight into Pomeroy's flying, if not his cadre of friends, "The stories about Pomeroy's adventures are legion. One morning many years ago he started for New York City when the ceiling was less than 100 feet. The only safe way to make the flight was down the Hudson river and so he flew just skimming the water.

"Suddenly he noticed a Ryan pulling up from behind. For a short time the faster plane flew alongside of Pomeroy's as the two pilots wagged their wings in recognition, then without apparent reason the Ryan shot up into the fog and disappeared. Puzzled by the strange maneuver, Pomeroy flew on down to Roosevelt Field and landed. There was the Ryan and its pilot - Charles Lindberg. 'I didn't recodgnize your ship, Slim,' said Pomeroy. 'By the way, why in heck did you pull up into the soup back there?' Lindbergh grinned. 'I wanted to get over Bear Mountain Bridge,' he drawled. 'Why in the heck did you fly under it?' Pomeroy nearly fainted."

In 1930, he became a pilot for Luddington Airlilnes, which later became Eastern Airlines. For Eastern, he flew the passenger service between Washington, D.C. and Newark, N.J. In 1935 he registered for and received his Social Security card. In 1936 he placed 4th in the Bendix cross-country event of the National Air Races (September 4-8 at Los Angeles). First place that year was taken by Register pilot Louise Thaden, and 5th place by Amelia Earhart.

During WWII, having logged 20,226 hours in the air, Pomeroy was a test pilot for Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, and an Air Transport Command pilot, flying the route from the San Francisco Bay area to Australia.. After WWII he operated a world-wide fleet of airplanes for the Cities Service Company. He retired from Cities Service as a vice president. He died at age 84 on July 9, 1979 at Pompano Beach, FL.

There is a brief biography of Pomeroy with a photograph of him at the link. The biography puts context around his landing at Tucson. It states, "For two years after the [U.S. Postal] Service disbanded, he flew as a private pilot, ferrying sugar manufacturing magnet B.G. Dahlberg and his wife all the way from Baffin Bay, north of the Arctic Circle to South America and back in a Sikorsky amphibian."

The biography link summarizes milestones in Pomeroy's aviation career(s). In 1913 he allegedly was a helper for Orville and Wilbur Wright. During WWI, he learned to fly with the Army Air Service in France. After the war, in 1924, he joined the Air Mail Service, flying between Omaha, NB and Cheyenne, WY. He flew the airmail from August 1924 to August 5, 1929. In 1930 he flew transport aircraft with Ludington Airlines, which eventually became Eastern Airlines, and inaugurated scheduled passenger service between Washington, D.C. and Newark, N.J. During WWII, he flew in Hawaii and the South Pacific for the Air Transport Command. After WWII, he became chief pilot of the Swiftlite Aircraft Corporation. From his landing date cited in the Register, he was flying Dahlberg before he quit the Post Office Department.

Below, from his NASM biographical file (left sidebar), a news article from June 28, 1931 that appeared in the Newark Ledger. There is a typo in the first line of the third paragraph. Pomeroy learned to fly in 1917. And, according to another source, he was five years with the Postal Service, not 3.5.

George Pomeroy, Newark (NJ) Ledger, June 28, 1931 (Source: NASM)
George Pomeroy, Newark (NJ) Ledger, June 28, 1931 (Source: NASM)

His "aerial chauffeur" job was with passenger Dahlberg (above). His weekend recreation with Army aircraft was probably in conjunction with Reserve responsibilities. His fellow pilot, Weatherdon, is cited as a witness in a trial that involved the husband of Register signer Jean LaRene, Lou Foote.

George Pomeroy Air Record, NY Herald Tribune, February 11, 1937 (Source: NASM)
George Pomeroy Air Record, NY Herald Tribune, February 11, 1937 (Source: NASM)

 

Foote was not a Register signer. His trial, however, was focused on a crash of a Ford trimotor transport he was involved in on Sunday, March 17, 1929. Fourteen passengers died in the crash. According to several issues of the New York Times of the period, trial preparations moved along for a couple of years, with Foote being exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing. In April, 1931, a civil suit against his airline company, Colonial Airways, however, netted plaintiffs $89,000 divided among the estates of six of the victims.

George Pomeroy continued his service with Luddington, then Eastern Airlines (he wasn't among the list of the first 377 pilots hired by Eastern) and Swiftflight Aircraft Corporation, owned by Cities Service Company. At left, from the NY Herald Tribune, we find Pomeroy in 1937 setting an intercity speed record with the Cities Service Company's DC-3.

I have no information about his life during or after WWII. If you can help or photographs, please let me KNOW.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 05/23/11 REVISED: 06/24/11

 
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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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