Very readable volumes about the Grand Central Air Terminal are these books:

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


Underwood, John. 2007. Grand Central Air Terminal. Arcadia Publishing. Charleston, SC. 127pp.




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 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 (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 McKimmey and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


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






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Ray McKimmey is signed in the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) Register at least once, on Sunday, December 14, 1930 at 12:24PM. Anton Lygum was the tower operator who signed him in. He flew the Command-Aire 3C3-A he identified as NC929E, S/N W-87. McKimmey was identified as the owner of the airplane.There is no indication in the Register where he was based (but see his residence in the 1930 U.S. Census, below) or where he was going. He carried a single, unidentified passenger.

R.E. McKimmey, 1916 (Source: Woodling)


McKimmey was born March 12, 1894 in Canton, OH. Various records spell his name McKinney or McKimany. Most sources, including the GCAT Register, spell it McKimmey. Regardless, in 1900, the U.S. Census places McKimmey at age 6 living with his parents in Canton. He shares the house with an older brother, and two lodgers. His father was a carpenter. The 1909 Canton city directory identifies him as a student. The 1915 directory for Canton cites him working as a chaffeur and residing at 1006 3rd Street, NW in Canton.

The vignette, right, is from the Canton Daily News, February 27, 1916. It accompanied an article announcing that the Operatic Club was ready for a big show this week. Photographs of the principals, McKimmey among them, were published with the article.

McKimmey served in the Navy during WWI. A record was found (with his name misspelled "McKinney") that he enlisted May 18, 1917, was called to active duty January 4, 1918 and honorably discharged May 17, 1921. He served in the Reserve Force. I am not sure of his duties. During his service, he married Helen Phyllis Lambright on September 12, 1917.

The 1920 Census cites them living in a rooming house at 327 West 70th Street in Manhattan, New York, NY. That address today is in a neighborhood of many high-rise apartment buildings and condominiums. His job was cited as "Salesman" in the "Automobile" industry. Helen was not employed. They soon moved to Glendale, CA.

Sometime between 1920 and 1923 Ray and Helen were separated from each other, probably by divorce. The 1923 Glendale city directory cites McKimmey living with his (new) wife Erma at 1323 Aristo Avenue. He is employed as a salesman with Curtiss-Wright.

According to the U.S. Census for 1930, McKimmey, at age 36, still lived at 1323 Aristo in Glendale with Erma (27). No children were censused. They rented their home for $45/month. His employment was cited as "Salesman" in the "Aviation" industry. The 1931 city directory for Glendale has him still working for Curtiss-Wright, which was based at GCAT. I could find no information regarding what he sold, or which part of the aviation industry he worked in (parts, new/used airplanes, property?). Erma was not employed. Interestingly, on the same page of this directory, appeared fellow GCAT pilot Otis D. McKenzie, who was the assistant sales manager at Curtiss-Wright. McKenzie's wife, Robbie Sue, was a private secretary at the Aviation Service Company at GCAT. The McKimmeys and McKenzies must surely have known each other. Interestingly, McKimmey's airplane, the Command-Aire NC929E, is logged in the Register an additonal eight times. Unfortunately the pilot's name was not recorded, so we don't know if the airplane was flown by McKimmey or not. His airplane also showed up once at the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register, flown by C.N. James. McKimmey might have been a salesman for the Command-Aire company.

I do not know when or where McKimmey learned to fly, but his tenure with Curtiss-Wright from at least 1923 to 1931 gave him plenty of opportunity and exposed him to many excellent instructors, some of which were fellow GCAT Register signers.

From the mid-1930s on, McKimmey's association with aviation seemed to dwindle.

Arizona Republic, June 16, 1935 (Source: Woodling)
Arizona Republic, June 16, 1935 (Source: Woodling)


Arizona Republic, December 19, 1937 (Source: Woodling)

McKimmey and Erma moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1935. The Phoenix city directories for 1937-1938 have them living at 5701 N. Central. That property today on Google Earth appears to be a recreational complex across the street from a megachurch. McKimmey was employed as manager for The Old Country Club (which might have occupied the area of the Old Country Club, does anyone KNOW?). An article from the Arizona Republic, June 16, 1935 describes the nature of his duties, left. McKimmey's early interest in operatic productions probably served him well in this job.

He moved the Country Club operation right along, overseeing changes in the physical plant and booking top talent, as alluded to in the article, right, from the December 19, 1937 Arizona Republic. An advertisement, below, appeared in the same issue of the newspaper, on the same page as the article above.

Arizona Republic, Advertisement, December 19, 1937 (Source: Woodling)
Arizona Republic, Advertisement, December 19, 1937 (Source: Woodling)



Arizona Independent Republic, October 5, 1938 (Source: ancestry.com)



McKimmey ran into trouble in Phoenix regarding an automobile accident on February 22, 1938. The article, left from the Arizona Independent Republic of October 5, 1938 gives details of his arrest for intoxicated driving and potential manslaughter. The article cites McKinney working as the manager of the Old Country Club at age 42.

Arizona Independent Republic, October 27, 1938 (Source: Woodling)



His arrest and bond were soon resolved, when, on October 27, 1938, he was adjudged innocent of the manslaughter charge. The judgement appeared in the Arizona Independent Republic of that date, right. Although not stated in the article, he was still up for the drunk driving charge. I do not know how that was resolved. Regardless, McKimmey had two months in the hospital healing from his own injuries, and he probably had many more long nights to think and dream about the loss of the milk wagon driver.

It appears that McKimmey resumed his duties at the Country Club. An advertisement in the Arizona Republic from June 3, 1939, below, describes the night's events. The food was nicely priced. Profits probably lay in liquor sales.

Arizona Republic, June 3, 1939 (Source: Woodling)


As WWII spooled up, McKimmey was called to the draft. His draft card, ca. 1942, is below. At that time he lived in Las Vegas, NV and worked for the Vegas Transit Company. The company ran buses, but may have been connected some way with aviation. Either way, his employment there connects with his chaffeur roots as an early twenty-something.

R.E. McKimmey, Draft Card, Ca. 1942 (Source: ancestry.com)





Curiously, one reference stated that he moved to Oklahoma in 1943 and traveled with the Clyde Bailey [sic, Clyde Beatty?] Circus. I could find no other data to confirm this. McKimmey married a third time on March 3, 1949 at Shawnee, OK. He married Olga T. (age 31). McKimmey was over 20 years her senior.

I do not know what happened to his first wife, Helen, or Erma, who would have been about 46 years old in 1949.

However, there were three travel records that listed Helen traveling from the U.S. in 1952. The first aboard the H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth in May, 1952 cites her leaving New York and arriving at Southampton, England. Her return was documented aboard the same ship in June, 1952. Her third travel was in November inbound on the S.S. Queen of Bermuda after a cruise to Bermuda and Nassau, Bahamas. She was living in Canton, OH in 1952. Likewise, in August, 1953, she arrived in New York aboard the H.M.S. Queen Mary after departing Southhampton five days earlier.

One source states that McKimmey, at age 61 (that would have been about 1955-56), moved back to Nevada to homestead property, which included mention of "airport runway" and the "Tropicana Hotel." I have no other information about McKimmey during the 1950s, especially about the clue that he might have flown for Pan American. It seems from Census data that he was primarily a salesman (automobiles and airplanes) during his early life. I have no photographs of him or his airplane, wives or friends. If you can help, please let me KNOW.

Sometime between 1956 and 1959 McKimmey moved back to Oklahoma. He died December 6, 1959 (at least one source identifies February as his month of passing) at age 65 in Oklahoma. He is buried in Shawnee, OK.



THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 11/18/15 REVISED: 11/22/15