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OTHER RESOURCES

Some of his information comes from the biographical file for pilot Lund, CL-925000-01, -20, -25, 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 airplanes is available here.

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A thumbnail history is here.

Lund, Freddie (with L. Blythe). 1931. "Freddy Lund -- Exhibition Thriller". Popular Aviation. December, 1931.

 
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FREDERICK M. "FEARLESS FREDDIE" LUND

Freddie Lund, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund, Date Unknown

Fearless Freddie Lund was killed during an air race in Lexington KY on October 3, 1931. Lund wrote an article for Popular Aviation that was written before his death, but published posthumously in the December, 1931 issue. It is instructive to begin his page with his article, because it illustrates the kind of guy he was, giving us some idea why he might have left us early.

He states in his article, "I've been fooling with airplanes a long time -- ever since way back in 1917.... I just naturally like airplanes. I like to take ships up and see what they will do." At the request of a commercial aircraft manufacturer, Lund had already executed the first outside loop in a commercial aircraft on October 20, 1928. The factory wanted to know what would happen to their airframe; Lund showed them. As it turned out, the exercise was straight forward: nothing happened to either airframe or pilot. Stating, "The first outside loop was not the tamest thing I ever did, either", thereafter Lund integrated the outside loop into his aerobatic routines he performed at air shows.

Freddie Lund, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund, Date Unknown

One such show was at Watson Field in Cincinnati, OH. Watson Field, founded in 1921, was sold to the City of Cincinnati in 1946 and renamed Blue Ash Airport. It is still an uncontrolled, general aviation airport today at the corner of Pfeiffer and Reed-Hartman Roads. Lund performed some of his usual routines, of which he said, "Some of the things that thrill the folks on the ground, for instance, are like chopping wood to me when I am up there doing them."

Freddie Lund: The Abandoned Outside Loop at Watson Field, Cincinnati, OH
Freddie Lund: The Abandoned Outside Loop

When it came time for his outside loop over Watson, he climbed to 3,200 feet and began the entry dive. Follow along with the diagram from his article, at right, as Lund describes this event.

"I roared across the field. I went into a headlong dive, gained tremendous speed, came under upside down, being held in during this time by my safety belt. The belt was straining under the terrific pressure that was striving to hurl me outward,...and I was rising to reach the top of the loop to complete the swing -- when something happened.

"Instantly I was hurtled clear of the cockpit. The first thing I knew, I found myself jammed against the wing --my shoulder hooked against the wing and my feet hanging on the edges of the cockpit. Something had snapped.

"I knew I was in an awful predicament. 'Freddie', I said to myself, 'old man, if you don't get back into the seat and do it in a hurry, it's the curtain for you and the junkpile for $9,000 worth of sweet-flying stuff.'

"Well, here I was, three thousand feet up, the wind knocked out of me and doing an outside loop outside of the cockpit. That was surely one outside loop. I suppose I'm the only fellow who ever did a real outside loop. I was certainly outside in every sense of the word.

"And now what to do? When that snap came, I was hurtled violently forward from the cockpit. But for a moment I had held on the stick -- until I was thrown clear of everything -- and this pulled the stick backward and threw the ship into a dive.

"She nosed over and started for the ground with the motor wide open -- we were doing 175 when I went out -- pulling the ship straight down with a sickening speed that picked up as the motor raced faster and faster.... Man, were we taking a buggy ride!"

"I hung to the wing.... If I jumped -- I had a parachute, of course -- I didn't know what would happen. I couldn't drop faster than the ship. I might not be able to clear it. And the rudder might rip me to ribbons if I turned loose.

Bettie Lund, June 21, 1938
Betty Lund, June 21, 1930

"Then there was that $9,000 ship. It hadn't done me wrong. I know that. It had been my fault. I had been careless in not inspecting it more thoroughly before going up. I hated to lose the old hack. And $9,000 wasn't to be picked up in the road every day, either.

"Somehow I clambered back into that cockpit.... I got back in. Grabbed the stick -- my, but the old stick in my fingers felt good to me! -- pulled her up and sailed out into a glide, barely five hundred feet above the ground. That had been a wild half-mile ride downward. I landed her on the port. Then, I let out a sigh. I guess it came all the way up from my heels."

The reason for the problem turned out to be a frayed steel cable that held the safety belt. It had worn under the seat, out of sight. The pressure of the loop had snapped it. Bettie, left, his wife (married in 1929) and also a performance flyer, saw the whole thing and, "She gave me one of those once-overs. If you are married to a stunt flyer, brother pilot, you understand the sort of once-over I got." He deserved this, as seat belt security is a primary item on any general aviation pre-flight check. He must have learned from that experience, as he became World Aerobatic Champion in 1930. Below, shared with us by site visitor Jeff Staines, Bettie Lund in a signed photograph.

Bettie Lund, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Staines)
Betty Lund, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Staines)

 

Freddie Lund, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund, Date Unknown

Freddie Lund landed twice at Tucson. From the Register, it appears his record keeping was about as careful as his pre-flight checks. His first visit was on Thursday, September 6, 1928 at 8:45 AM. He and lone passenger, R.E. Lees, were based at Troy, OH. They were westbound from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. They may have been traveling west to attend or participate in the 1928 National Air Races held at Los Angeles, September 8-16 that year.

Lees was Sales Manager for the Waco Aircraft Company of Troy, OH, for whom Lund was chief test pilot during the late '20s and early 30's. They landed in 7583, which Lund clearly identified in the Register as a Waco. The airplane is not a Waco. Rather it is a Ford trimotor. Please direct your browser to the link for the airplane to follow the conjecture.

We find at his second visit to Tucson returning eastbound two weeks later on Wednesday, September 19, 1928 flying solo in an unidentified Ryan B-1 Brougham. If anyone can supply information about these flights and the airplane puzzle, please let me KNOW.

During WWI Lund served with the Fourth Pursuit Squadron in France. After the war he became very ill with tuberculosis. He recovered and seemed to have a strong intimation of mortality. He joined the Gates Flying Circus and barnstormed during the early 1920s. Then came chief pilot duties for Waco, then the airshow circuit.

Lund was killed while flying the Taperwing below during an air race (NC161Y, not a Register airplane, was painted Red, White and Blue). Another plane, a Monocoupe, got too close and cut off the empennage (see details below).

Freddie Lund's Waco Taperwing
Freddie Lund's Waco Taperwing

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Below, additional images shared with us by Andy Heins. These are not common images, as they come from the album of Bettie Lund, which was donated to the Waco Museum. Please enjoy them; you won't find these anywhere else on the web.

First, Lund with one of his famous Wacos, NC161M. In the original it appears that he is looking at someting off to his right. Note the propeller is turning. Compare his clothing with that from the same era worn by your Webmaster here.

Freddie Lund, Waco Taperwing NC161Y, ca. Early 1930s
Freddie Lund, Waco Taperwing NC161Y

Mr. Heins says of Lund's demise in this airplane, "He died on October 3, 1931 in Lexington, KY at Halley Field. He was participating in a pylon race when C. B. "Scotty" Burmood [not a Register pilot], flying a Monocoupe, pulled up into Freddie while rounding a pylon. The tailskid of the Waco went through the top of the fuselage, damaging the main spar. The prop of the Monocoupe completely cut off the tail of the Waco just forward of the horizontal stabilizer. The Waco pitched up and then rolled and Freddie bailed out but was too low for the chute to open properly. The Waco hit the ground and burst into flames immediately and Freddie landed about 200 yards from the crash. Burmood was able to make it back to the airport and land safely."

Below, a cartoon-like representation of Lund in a Waco aircraft with a water-cooled engine.

Lund/Waco Drawing, Date Unknown
Lund/Waco Drawing, Date Unknown

Below, another drawing with a style statement: wearing the necktie outside the collar.

Lund With Propeller, Date Unknown
Lund With Propeller, Date Unknown

Below, Freddie Lund in the cockpit of what looks like Waco NC161Y. Note at the lower right of the image a locking mechanism that looks a lot like the kind that appear on briefcases or luggage today: a combination rotor with three tumbler wheels that are rotated to a numeric value to unlock the baggage compartment.

Lund in Cockpit of NC161Y(?), Date Unknown
Lund in Cockpit of NC161Y(?), Date Unknown

Below, a common sight during the Golden Age of flight: a poster announcing an air show. Although undated, tt was after 1929, because that's when Freddie and Bettie were married. It is probably from the fall of 1930. Art Davis and A.W. Killips picked up prize money at the 1930 National Air Races (flying Waco aircraft), while Zimmerly saw success setting altitude records the year before. If anyone KNOWS for sure, please let me know.

Air Show Poster, ca. 1929-30
Air Show Poster, ca. 1929-30

Below, the classic Golden Age aviator's portrait: helmet, goggles, leather jacket, jodphurs and boots. Notice the wheel chock on the ground.

Freddie Lund, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund, Date Unknown

Below, from an undated news clipping, a diagram of one of Lund's aerobatic routines, with a vignette in the center.

Lund Aerobatic Routine, Date Unknown
Lund Aerobatic Routine, Date Unknown

Below, Freddie Lund posing in silk stockings with one pants leg pulled up. Perhaps he was clowning or cooling on a warm day. Regardless, compare this image with this one of Register pilot Ace Bragunier. And compare the tie tack with the one two photos above.

Freddie Lund, Posing, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund, Posing, Date Unknown

 

Freddie Lund Autograph Card
Freddie Lund Autograph Card

 

 

At left, an image of an autograph card depicting Lund and one of his aircraft in action. The date and location are unknown, but it is clrearly taken signed before October 3, 1931.

 

 

 

Below, a photocollage of several aviators including Freddie and Bettie Lund. From the background pattern it appears that at least six of the photographs were taken at the same place.

Freddie Lund (Top, Second from R) and Bettie Lund (Bottom, Second from L)
Freddie Lund (Top, Second from R) and Bettie Lund (Bottom, Second from L)

The handwritten caption notes "Carolina Tour 1931". The other pilots are, top, L to R, "Dusty" Burnard, Jack Grady, Lund, and Warren Pennington. At bottom, L to R, Robert W. Chrisp, B. Lund, Tommy Gibbons, and A.W. Hartley. None of the other pilots are in the Davis-Monthan Register.

Register Signers Stuart Auer, Freddie Lund & Milo Oliphant, Date Unknown
Freddie Lund & Milo Oliphant, Date Unknown

However, the image at right does show at least one other Register pilot, Milo Oliphant. Lund is in the front row, squatting at left in the light suit. Stuart Auer (note misspelling on the photo) signed the Register as a passenger with John P. Wood on September 22, 1928. The other men are not identified. Image courtesy of Andy Heins.

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Dossier 2.1.116

UPLOADED: 03/22/08 REVISED: 03/24/08, 3/25/08, 04/12/08, 4/15/08

 
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President (as of the upload date of this page) Andy Heins of the National Waco Club sent most of the images at left (the loop diagram is from the article cited in the left sidebar). Andy  runs the day to day business of the Club, and we should all thank him for the effort he expended to help us understand better the Waco aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield way back when.

I believe some of these images are popular and widely distributed, because you can find them on other web sites.

Others, like those toward the bottom of this page, are from Bettie Lund's personal album and are exhibited here for the first time.

 
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