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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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 Menefee and his airplanes 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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John Mason Menefee, 1928 High School Graduation (Source: Woodling)


John Mason Menefee (he went by Mason) was born at Covina, CA, October 13, 1910. He signed the Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT) Register over 50 times during 1930-31 (he also signed the Davis-Monthan Register once during 1930).

Photograph, right, is from his Covina High School yearbook, class of 1928. The sketch is of an airplane falling earthward with a question mark over it. The caption runs off the edge of the page. It says "Remember Sunday the tenth." The inscription is significant and we can pinpoint its motivation. A news article from the Covina Argus for June 15, 1928 explains the close call Menefee and a fellow pilot endured the previous Sunday, June 10th. The article is below.

Covina (CA) Argus, June 15, 1928 (Source: Woodling)
Covina (CA) Argus, June 15, 1928 (Source: Woodling)


Covina (CA) Argus, February 7, 1930 (Source Woodling)
Covina (CA) Argus, February 7, 1930 (Source Woodling)


Certainly Menefee learned something from this incident, because he flew on for a long and successful career in aviation. I do not know when or where he learned to fly, but we know about the time he earned his Transport pilot certification. The article, left, from the Covina (CA) Argus of February 7, 1930, cites his study, as well as the founding of a new Los Angeles-area airfield.

He was early in his 20s when he flew at GCAT. To Glendale he flew a range of small aircraft, including NC6526, NC9787, NC971K, NC396M, NC666V, NC10958, NC218V and NR920E, all recorded in the GCAT Register. All these aircraft were owned by the Curtiss-Wright Flying Service (abbreviated C.W.F.S. in the Register), operating out of GCAT.

The majority of his flights with these aircraft were very brief, a matter of minutes. They appeared to be pleasure flights given or sold to GCAT visitors. His flights of this sort were prevalent, for example, during the Independence Day weekend, 1931. The scene at the airport those few days was hectic, with over 250 flights, including commercial, civil and military, logged Saturday and Sunday the 4th and 5th of July.

The 1920 U.S. Census places him, age 9, living with his parents and younger brother (age 6) on an orange ranch on Glendora Avenue in Azusa, CA, north of Los Angeles. Azusa today appears on Google Earth to be a residential and light industrial community. Not a trace of orange trees. As an aside, according to Census data, Menefee and his brother would be found living with their parents for the next 20 years. Their being together during the 1930s was probably a tactic to defend against the Great Depression.

The 1930 Census placed him still living with his parents and brother, Allen, in a home owned by his father at 68 Cienega Avenue in the Charter Oaks area. His vocation was listed as "None," which is curious given his flight activities documented near that time at GCAT. His father was still in the citrus business.


Covina (CA) Argus, April 6, 1934 (Source: Woodling)


Covina (CA) Argus, June 29, 1934 (Source: Woodling)


During 1934, Menefee worked for a pioneering air transport outfit in Skagway Alaska carrying passengers and freight. The article, left, from the Covina (CA) Argus of April 6, 1934 describes his departure and a little bit about the excitment around gold exploration in 1934.

His employer, Clyde Wann, was a colorful Yukon resident who had introduced commercial aviation to Alaska in 1927 by flying north in a Ryan Brougham he and his copilot purchased new at the Ryan factory in San Diego, CA. While in San Diego they bumped into Charles Lindbergh, who was at the Ryan factory putting the finishing touches on his purchase of the "Spirit of St. Louis" (NX211)

The news article, above right, from the Covina (CA) Argus of June 29, 1934 describes his brother's visit with Menefee in Alaska. An article in the Covina Citizen of April 6, 1934 alluded to the possibility that Allen and Mason were going to travel to Alaska together in April. They did not.

Covina (CA) Citizen, July 24, 1936 (Source: Woodling)
Covina (CA) Citizen, July 24, 1936 (Source: Woodling)


Menefee didn't remain in Alaska for long. In 1936 he worked for Fairchild Aerial Surveys in Texas, doing surveys on a government contract to study dust bowl erosion. The news article, right, from the Covina Citizen of July 24, 1936 describes his work.

A similar article in the Amarillo (TX) Sunday News of June 28, 1936 stated the amount of the contract, $500,000, a sizeable sum in 1936. Menefee and an aerial photographer, Jim Weeks, were to photograph the land from 17,200 feet altitude.

The Sunday News went on to say they needed oxygen at that altitude, which was delivered via tube from a tank. "We just put the stem of the tubes into our mouths and puff just like smoking a pipe." Menefee said. Further, the article states that Menefee and Weeks flew for five or six hours a day along a grid laid out on flying charts. At 120MPH, that would equate to about 600-720 linear miles flown per day.

According to, Menefee made at least one trip out of the United States. He is documented as returning by ship (sailing for 18 days) from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles via the S.S. Monterey in May, 1939. I have no information about why he made the trip, or if it was in association with any aviation activity.

The 1940 Census places him again living with his parents and brother in a home owned by his father at 1257 Grand Avenue, Covina, CA. This time he recorded his occupation as "Airplane Pilot" in the "Map Making" industry. He must have stayed in that business after his tenure with the federal contract in Texas. He was well-paid for the time, as his annual salary was recorded in the Census as $5,000 (although elsewhere it is documented as $500, probably a better estimate for the era).

I do not know if he served during WWII. A site visitor states that he was in the South Pacific. I have little information regarding his family life, or his life after 1940. If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.

Menefee was married on March 1, 1946 to Hazel Oney Baber. She was previously married in 1926 and must have divorced. Her first husband died February 5, 1948. Mason and Hazel had one son, Wayne Mason Menefee (b. 1949) who died in infancy at a day old. They had no other children.

J. Mason Menefee Headstone (Source: FindaGrave)


In 1947, according to a city directory, he was employed as an aviator and still living at 1257 Grand Avenue with his family and new wife, Hazel. I do not know what his flying entailed in the late 1940s.

In later directories from 1949 and 1950, he listed his profession as rancher. According to one site visitor, he was a partner with Flay O. Peterson at a ranch called Walnut Creek located near Kingman, AZ. Menefee and his wife both continued to live at the family residence on Grand Avenue in Covina. In August 2018 a site visitor provided this information that provides insight into Menefee's later ranching life.

Menefee passed away May 22, 1991, aged 80 years, seven months. Hazel died just four months later on October 28, 1991. Headstone plaque, left, from FindaGrave.



THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/03/15 REVISED: 10/05/15