Registration Number NC162W
Five Strikes; You’re Out
This airplane is a Lockheed Vega 5B, S/N 128 (ATC 227) manufactured
July, 1930 by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, CA. It
came with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 3200) of
450HP. It was a seven-place aircraft. It was
named “Shell No. 6.”
The airplane sold on September 8, 1930 to William H. Dunning
of Beverly Hills, CA. Dunning was president of Sequoia
Oil Company, Fort Worth, TX. The airplane was equipped
with a NACA cowl and wheel pants.
We find NC162W at Tucson the first time on September 12,
1930 piloted by L.B. Andrews carrying new owner William H. Dunning
as passenger. They were inbound from Los
doubt ferrying this bright new airplane to Texas.
At some time during 1930-31 the windows were blocked out
and the airplane bore the legend ”Air Express & Trading
Co.” The airplane visited Tucson three more times
in this livery (12/20/30, 12/1/31, 8/5/1932), each time piloted
by Edward F. Booth. He carried Mr. Dunning on the first
visit; solo the second visit; four passengers third visit. Their
itineraries shuttled between California and Texas.
Between October, 1932 and June, 1933 the airplane changed
hands three times, finally winding up with the Shell Aviation
Company, Ltd. in San
Francisco on June 21, 1933. On November
11, 1933 it suffered its first accident at Pasco, WA. The
pilot was injured and the airplane “Practically washed
It was purchased by Charles
H. Babb of Burbank,
CA on July
9, 1934 and repaired by Timm Aircraft Co. with a new fuselage, “shell
and rings”, motor mount and landing gear repair.
With no indication of how it was used for the next six-months,
Babb sold it to H.C. Lippiatt of Burbank on January 30, 1935. It
was sold “as is” with factory parts and the original
P&W engine, S/N 3200.
Lippiatt sold it on September 19, 1935 to Hans Mirow of
Nome, AK to be flown on skis for charter work in Alaska. It
suffered its second accident at Nome on April 28, 1936. It
was completely rebuilt by Northwest Air Service at Boeing Field in Seattle,
WA as of August 1936.
Mr. Mirow died in 1940 and the aircraft was licensed
in the name of Mirow Air Service, Madeline Mirow, Executor,
Nome, AK. It suffered its third accident on April 16,
1940 at Anchorage, AK. It struck a 6-inch diameter
pole with the left main landing gear. The gear was
damaged and the airplane ground looped, wrecking the gear
and fuselage. It still had the P&W S/N 3200 Wasp
engine installed. It was repaired again by Northwest
Air Service of Seattle as of November 8, 1940. Image, below,
of the airplane in Mirow livery after the accident. We see
the effects on the left main gear of the pole.
Lockheed Vega NC162W
NC162W sold on June 15, 1942 to Alaska Star Airlines in Anchorage. The
total time as of this sale was 1,657 hours. It suffered
its fourth accident with only minor damage on November 28,
1943 at Kotzebue, AK. Below, an image of NC162W in Alaska
Star livery. We can deduce that the image was made, against
a magnificent Alaska skyline, sometime between June 1942
and May 1944.
Lockheed Vega NC162W in Alaska Star Airlines Livery
It transferred finally on May 26, 1944 to Alaska Airlines
of Anchorage. On
August 2, 1944 it suffered engine failure leading to its
fifth accident on the south fork of the Kuskokwin River,
AK. Pilot and four passengers escaped with injuries. It
landed on a 300 foot by 75 foot sand bar covered with ten
foot willows. It entered the willows, which, “…kicked
the plane fully broadside, collapsed gear and threw the engine
to one side.” The cockpit was enveloped in flames
and the airplane was completely destroyed by fire. Notice of cancellation of its registration cancellation was dated March 1, 1948 in the airplane's FAA record. No
Below, three additional COLOR images of NC162W during its
service in Alaska. It is very unusual to find images of our
Davis-Monthan Register aircraft rendered in color! These
images were probably taken in the early-mid 1940s.
Lockheed Vega NC162W
Below, the big red Travel Air transport, NC615K, left, is
not found in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. NC162W
is on the right.
Lockheed Vega NC162W
Lockheed Vega NC162W, Left
UPLOADED: 03/09/06 REVISED: 02/22/07, 10/30/07, 11/17/08