Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register (available in paperback) 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 Kindle Edition 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 (available in paperback) 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 (available as free PDF download) 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 Kindle Edition 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 & Kindle Edition) 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 Batt 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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Howard Batt (Source: Link)


Modesto News-Herald, May 2, 1926 (Source:
Modesto News-Herald, May 2, 1926 (Source:


Howard Batt appeared frequently in the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) Register. He showed up at least 30 times during April 1931 and January, 1932. The tower operator who filled in the Register always identified him as "Batt."

Batt was born December 21, 1900 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 1930 Census placed Batt at age 29 in Los Angeles at 5442 1/2 West 6th Street. He was single and paid $50 per month for rent. His occupation was coded as an "Aviator" for an "Aviation School."

His frequent visits to GCAT are not surprising, since Batt was a flight instructor and operated a charter flight business out of Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA. Batt also appears once in the Clover Field Register. At all his GCAT landings he flew the Travel Airs he identified as NC9973, which was owned by John Burnham during the couple of years Batt flew it, and NC623H. Undated portrait, left, above, from this REFERENCE, volume 1920-1929.

During the 1920s, Batt was a member of the Hollywood "Thirteen Black Cats," a stunt group that performed contract work for early motion pictures. A news article, right, from the Modesto News-Herald, May 2, 1926, described incidents where their namesake's ill-luck held true.

An Immigration form dated September 4, 1931, below, documented him arriving in the U.S. from Ensenada, Mexico carrying John Burnham and four others in NC9973.

U.S. Immigration Form, September 4, 1931 (Source:
U.S. Immigration Form, September 4, 1931 (Source:

At, there are many records of his international travel south of the border during the 1030-40s. Hamilton's Ranch was one destination, about 85 miles south of Ensenada. That airfield today has been obliterated by agriculture.

Howard H. Batt, 1937 (Source: PA)


The photograph, left, is from Popular Aviation (PA) magazine, October, 1937. Batt stands next to a Beechcraft Staggerwing, which he used in his charter business. According to the article accompanying the photograph ("Taxi Drivers of the Sky," by Selby Calkins; at the link is a PDF of the article, 1.5Mb), Batt was also the head of the Association of Motion Picture Pilots, as well as the distributor of, "...two makes of sports planes."

"Taxi Drivers of the Sky" is a good reference, as it not only cites Batt and his work, but also provides thumbnail sketches of other charter pilots in the Los Angeles area. Among them are Joe Lewis, Joe Plosser, Paul Mantz and Bob Blair. Likewise it features descriptions of some of the types of charter work done by these pilots: flights to out-of-the-way destinations, transport of government officials, entertainers, businessmen and ambulance transports. Some high- and low-profile elopers were transported by private charter.

Ryan Sky News, December, 1936 (Source:


An online biography of Paul Mantz, at the link, summarizes a collaboration between Batt and Mantz as follows:

"In 1933 Paul attended the National Air Races when they were brought to Los Angeles by Cliff Henderson. 48,000 spectators were on hand to witness the races, sky divers and aerobatics. Paul was aware that many considered the Hollywood pilots to be not up to par with the men flying in the event that day. Paul had a secret that nobody knew about. At 4 pm, Paul showed them differently. That's when the “Hollywood Trio” took to the sky. Howard Batt, Franke Clarke and Paul put on a show of formation aerobatics like had never been seen before. They were trailing red, white and blue smoke from their three different brands of aircraft; a Stearman, a Travel Air and Paul’s Boeing P-12. After the graceful aerobatics, they performed a series of interlocking smoke rings and then the finale involved Clarke and Mantz making a head-to-head pass and narrowly missing each other. At the last second, they then pulled into half loops and did the same thing at the top! The crowd went crazy. The “Hollywood Trio” was immediately signed to perform at the rest of the races that year by Cliff Henderson."

Batt has no real Web presence that I could find. What there is comprises minor mentions of his business dealings, such as his appointment as a Ryan distributor at Clover Field in 1936, left, or his leadership of the Ryan aircraft exhibit at the Los Angeles Aircraft Show in 1937, below right.

Note in the article at left mention of Register pilot Joe Lewis, and in the article below, mention of Lewis and Register pilot Tex Rankin.

Ryan Sky News, March 1937 (Source:

The 1940 Census placed Batt at 9921 Robbins Drive in Beverly Hills. That address today is occupied by a white stucco apartment building. In 1940, Batt paid $85 for his rooms. He was still single and employed as an owner of in the aviation field, probably his airplane distributorship.

Batt was registered for the WWII draft on February 15, 1942. At the time he worked at the Vultee Aircraft Company. He was 5'10" tall and weighed 170 pounds. I have no information about his family or what he did for fun. If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.

H.H. Batt Grave Marker, 1988 (Source:



Batt also landed once at Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday, April 3, 1929 at 10:00AM. He flew the Stinson SM-1 (S/N M-209) NC1517, carrying four unidentified passengers.

He flew West on March 18, 1988 at San Clemente, CA, age 87. His grave marker is at left.