Pilot Eyes

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Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Brooks, CB-802300-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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Top image of Brooks from 1931 copy of Western Flyer, courtesy of The Cooper Photograph and Document Collection.

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A group of United Air Lines images showing the transition of aircraft, personnel and services is here.

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EDWARD J. "EDDIE" BROOKS

Ogden Standard Examiner, June 8, 1920
Ogden Standard Examiner, June 8, 1920

Edward James Brooks was born August 13, 1898 in Ashbrook, CO. He died at age 85 on November 30, 1983  in Orange County, CA.

According to short news articles in his NASM biographical file (cited, left sidebar), Eddie Brooks earned his wings in the U.S. Army in 1917.

The earliest, more informative account I can find of Eddie Brooks' life in aviation is from the Ogden, UT Standard Examiner of June 8, 1920 (right, courtesy of Mike Gerow). This brief article describes his work as a barnstorming and exhibition flyer in Utah during the summer of that year. As well, we learn that oats are more nourishing than wheat! That depends, I guess, on which nutrient you measure.

Brooks landed at Tucson four times flying the same Fokker Super Universal, NC3318. His landings were on March 7, September 11 and September 20,1928 and June 7, 1929. Based in Denver, CO, he was traveling, with passengers, over the usual southern routes between Yuma, Phoenix and Douglas, AZ, and El Paso and Houston, TX.

On March 7th and September 20th he carried A.E. Humphreys, Jr., the owner of the aircraft. Brooks was pilot for Humphreys, and later flew for United Air Lines. On September 11th, Brooks was among the throng of pilots who passed through Tucson as part of the Class C group of the 1928 National Air Races. At the finish line in Los Angeles a few days later, Brooks (who piloted the airplane, but it was entered in the race by Humphreys) placed a respectable third, with a time of 27:24:53.

Eddie Brooks, 1931

From the New York Times of Sunday, October 6, 1929 we learn that he attempted to set an altitude record over Long Island. He and and his passenger, Leon Paperno, an industrial engineer based at Manhattan, NY took off at 4PM in an RSV Gates monoplane equipped with a 90HP engine. When they reached 14,500 feet the cold was so intense that they were forced to decend without the record. You can read a bit about the airplane at aerofiles.com. At the link, scroll down the page to "Gates". Note that Brooks flew the monoplane version.

The American Society for the Promotion of Aviation saw fit, in September 1930, to honor Brooks as the safest commercial pilot then flying. He was active in local aviation circles. A 1931 copy of Western Flyer cites Brooks as being, "...reappointed a member of the Colorado State Commission on Aeronautics. He will serve until May 1, 1935. Brooks was appointed last fall to fill out the unexpired term of the late Maj. Bruce Kistler."

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In the 1940s, Brooks was a pilot for United Airlines. Below are images provided by the daughter of an original United flight attendant that flew with Brooks. Doris (Imber) Trotter was one of the first stewardesses to fly for United. We are grateful to her daughter Judy Pulsifer of North Pole, AK for sharing these images. When Judy contacted me it was December 6, 2007. I suggested to her that the spirits of the Davis-Monthan pilots were out and about this Holiday season, and that Brooks' assigned territory was the North Pole!

Her images celebrate the inauguration of DC-6 service between Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA.

Pilot Brooks in 1947 with Stewardesses Doris Imber (L) and D. Call
Pilot Brooks with Stewardesses

Below, a long shot of the passengers that flew the inaugural.

Passengers for the DC-6 Inaugural, 1947
Passengers for the DC-6 Inaugural, 1947

Below, a news article describing the inauguration. The article is from The Denver Post, September (11th?) 1947. Note the image in the article is not exactly the same as the one above. While we can still see the child's legs dangling at the top of the gangway, stewardess Call, clearly visible at top, has ducked back inside the airplane in the bottom image.

Denver Post, ca. September 11, 1947
Denver Post, ca. 9/11/1947

The article tells of starlet Barbara Bates christening the airplane with a bottle of wine. The image below was taken just before the champagne was sacrificed. Bates is wearing the white coat. Stewardess Imber is at right.

Starlet Bates Just Before the Christening
Starlet Bates Just Before the Christening

Barbara Bates was on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1953. She was in many well-known movies including "June Bride" (1948), "Quicksand" (1950) and "The Caddy" (1953). She committed suicide at age 43.

Brooks also landed and signed his name seven times at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs, CO. Four of his landings there were in NC3318; the rest were in the Bach NC317V and the Stinson NC496Y.

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Dossier 2.1.55

UPLOADED: 03/11/06 REVISED: 12/12/07, 03/01/08, 01/03/08,11/28/13

 
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I'm looking for photographs and additional information about pilot Brooks to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts 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, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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