A very readable volume about the Grand Central Air Terminal is this book:

Underwood, John. 1984. Madcaps, Millionaires and 'Mose'. Heritage Press, Glendale, CA. 144pp.


the register


I'm looking for information and photographs of Lippiatt and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.






You may NOW donate via PAYPAL by clicking the "Donate" icon below and using your credit card. You may use your card or your PAYPAL account. You are not required to have a PAYPAL account to donate.


When your donation clears the PAYPAL system, a certified receipt from Delta Mike Airfield, Inc. will be emailed to you for your tax purposes.





H.C. Lippiatt is signed once in the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) Register. He arrived in an unidentified airplane on May 30, 1931 at 10:20AM. He remained on the ground for two hours before departing to an unidentified destination. The operator that day, Anton Lygum, was lax with his data entry as he sat in the tower filling in the Register.

But don't be fooled by his single landing at GCAT. Lippiatt was a frequent visitor at the Davis-Monthan Airfield in Tucson, AZ (six landings) and his biography with photos is on that site at the link. He also frequented Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, CO (11 landings), and Parks Airport and Clover Field (one landing each place). Although not documented online yet, he also signed in the Oxnard Field Register, Albuquerque, NM a total of 26 times between April 8, 1929 and August 31, 1936. He had many contacts with many Register aircraft, as documented at his link at Davis-Monthan.

For all his visits Lippiatt flew exclusively Waco or Travel Air airplanes. This is because he was a distributor for those aircraft based in Los Angeles, CA. It is reasonable that his flights in these airplanes were related to delivery or demonstration of new or used aircraft.

Lippiatt has a fairly complete U.S. Census history. He was born January 20, 1897 in Burnley, England. The 1900 U.S. Census, his first, places him at age three in Green, OH living with his parents, Herbert age 32, mother, Elisabeth (27) and a sister, Flora (5). All were born in England and had emigrated to the U.S. in 1898. Lippiatt's father was a coal miner and was identified as an alien.

In 1910 the family was together in Boulder, CO. Lippiatt was age 13 and his father was a "Weigher" at a "Coal mine." Elisabeth was a "Dressmaker" "At Home." They lived at 104 Simpson Street in Boulder. His father was identified as naturalized, but I don't know if that meant his whole family was or not.

During WWI he was a sergeant in the Signal Corps at Colorado Springs, CO. I could find no other records of his WWI service. I could not find any information about his whereabouts in the 1920 Census, however there are a couple of records from the 1920s that are relevant. He appears on an immigration form dated July 3, 1926 traveling from Cherbourg, France to New York on the the S.S. Berengaria. He traveled with Mary Lippiatt. Another outbound form cites their arrival date at Southampton as June 8th. I don't know why they were traveling, unless it was to introduce his new wife to his family back in England.

Lippiatt also appears on an immigration form dated July 6, 1929 as the pilot of Travel Air NC9813. Lippiatt was the temporary owner of the airplane, awaiting its first sale. This was the nature of his work as a distributor. He would take an order for an airplane, or buy one on speculation, go to the factory in Wichita, KS and ferry it to its new owner, complete the paperwork and transfer the airplane. For this trip, he was traveling from Agua Caliente, Mexico to San Diego, CA with his wife, Mary (see below) on board as well as Olive Ann Mellor and three other passengers. Ms. Mellor would soon become Olive Ann Beech, wife of Walter Beech who owned the Travel Air Company. I don't know why she was with Lippiatt at the time, but July 6th was a Saturday, so they were probably having some early weekend fun south of the border wher alcohol was legal (Prohibition didn't end until December, 1933). Note Lippiatt's address in Hollywood.

July 6, 1929, Immigration Form (Source: ancestry.com)
July 6, 1929, Immigration Form (Source: ancestry.com)

If you direct your browser to the link for NC9813, you'll discover it was manufactured in May, 1929. This is an example of a brand new airplane being used by Lippiatt temporarily before it was sold and turned over to its owner. According to the Peterson Field Register, he flew it on May 12th to ferry two people to Los Angeles. On May 28th he flew it back and forth from Clover Field, Santa Monica, CA to Metropolitan Airport in Los Angeles. A couple of months later on July 12th he sold NC9813 to Register pilot Glover Ruckstell of Los Angeles.

H.C. & Mary Lippiatt, Headstone (Source: findagrave)


The 1930 U.S. Census form is very difficult to read as it sits at ancestry.com. It places him at age 33 in Los Angeles, CA living with his wife, Mary (43; 1886-1977) and daughter Alice (3; 1926-1995). Two servants also live in the household, a maid and a cook. One other woman is is the house whose relationship is unreadable. His occupation is cited as "Distributor" for an "Aeroplane Mfg." Mary is not employed. I do not know when Lippiatt married Mary. If you have information, please let me KNOW.

The 1940 Census, his last, cites Lippiatt at age 45 living in West Los Angeles at 121 Udine Way. The home was valued at $35,000. He lived with Mary (now listing her age as only 49) and daughter Alice (13). Note their headstone, right, that would make their age difference nine years, not five. That address today is a very large, tile-roof home on a cul de sac, on a golf course, with a long swimming pool with tall trees on one end. A mother/daughter team of cook and maid live with them. Lippiatt's occupation is listed as "Salesman" for a "Clothing Manufacturer." They must have lived at this address for some time, because a Westwood city directory for 1932 lists him and Mary at the same address.

H.C. Lippiatt, Draft Card, 1942 (Source: ancestry.com)


I don't know when or why he left his airplane distributorship behind and got into the the clothing business. Perhaps with world conflict on the horizon he envisioned civil aviation as in a precarious positon regarding fuel availability, airspace limitations and his population of potential buyers off to war. If any one knows why he made the change, please let me KNOW.

As WWII built momentum, Lippiatt was called to register for the draft. His draft card is at left. I do not know what, if any, role he played in war service. Note that he had changed addresses between the 1940 Census and his draft registration. The Lankershim Blvd. address today appears to be entirely commercial, with no housing.

H.C. Lippiatt died August 12, 1947 in Los Angeles. I do not know what ended his short life. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO. He flew with Transport pilot certificate T1426.