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YOUR PURCHASE OF THESE BOOKS SUPPORTS THE WEB SITES THAT BRING TO YOU THE HISTORY BEHIND OLD AIRFIELD REGISTERS

Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register 1925-1936 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

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The Congress of Ghosts (available as 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 It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders.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.

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Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register 1925-1936 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.

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Art Goebel's Own Story 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.

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Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race (available as 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.

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Clover Field: The first Century of Aviation in the Golden State (available in paperback) 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.

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There is no biographical file for pilot Ong in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.

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The William Ong History of Aviation Collection is available at the University of Texas, Dallas. A finder index is at the link.

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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Ong and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.

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WILLIAM ARMITAGE ONG

William Ong and Inland Sport, 1929 (Source: KCPL)

There is no biographical file (left sidebar) for William A. Ong at the Smithsonian. This is unusual, given his enrollment and participation in most categories of Golden Age aviation. He learned to fly at Kansas City, MO in 1927 and carried Commercial pilot certificate No. 1904. He was a captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve. At right, from the Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri (KCPL) is a photograph of Ong at age 27 when he worked for Inland Aviation Co. (see below).

Bill Ong landed twice at Peterson Field. First was Saturday, August 10, 1929. He was solo in the Great Lakes 2T1, NC211K. Arriving from Hays, KS, he listed his final destination as Colorado Springs, CO. He identified the owner of the airplane as "Beacon Airways" (see below)

His second visit was on Wednesday, September 12, 1934. He was inbound from Troy, OH, solo in Waco NC14060. He recorded in the Register that his airplane was owned by the Waco Aircraft Company (see below).

In 1910, according to the U.S. Census, Ong was seven years old and living with his parents and sister Mercedes (4) in Lakewood City, OH. In 1920, the family was living in Kansas City, MO, but his sister was not listed on the Census form (death?). His father was employed as an "Agent" in the "Brokerage" industry.

From the 1930 U.S. Census, William A. Ong (age 27) was living with his wife Esther (27) and sons Donald (4) and Richard (2) at 618 West 67th St., Kansas City, MO. He owned his house, which had an estimated value of $27,500. The three-story brick home still exists and is viewable on Google Earth with shade trees and a for sale sign in the front yard. We might deduce from this Census form that the Ong family was relatively well-to-do for the time. Besides a relatively expensive home, the Ongs had a live-in maid named on the form (below) as Delphine Regan (30).

William A. Ong Household, U.S. Census, 1930 (Source: Ancestry.com)
William A. Ong Household, U.S. Census, 1930 (Source: Ancestry.com)

Ten years later, the 1940 Census placed Ong and his family at 6410 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, MO. He reduced his housing obligations, since this two-story frame building was estimated to be worth $7,000 and he no longer had hired help to help care for it. This could be the result of ten years of the Great Depression. His family was together, though. He recorded his occupation as "Owner & Manager" in the "Aviation" business. He earned $2,500 per year. From another source, his flight time in 1940 was 3,600 hours logged.

Ford Commemorative Coin, Century of Progress, 1933 (Webmaster's Collection)
Ford Commemorative Coin, Century of Progress, 1933 (Webmaster's Collection)

 

 

Ong had his hands in many endeavors from air racing to flight training to air transport, aircraft sales and real estate development. From 1927-28 he was vice president of Beacon Airways of America. He was sales manager for Inland Aviation Co. from 1928-29, for Rearwin Airplane Co. 1929-34 and Waco Aircraft Co. 1934-35. He was general sales manager for Beech Aircraft Corp. from 1935-37. In 1937 he founded Ong Aircraft Corporation and Ong Flying Schools.

An article, authored by Ong, appeared in Popular Aviation magazine, March, 1934. It was entitled "Death Stalks the Air Races" and is available at the link. (PDF 1.4Mb). In September, 1933, the International Air Races (not to be confused with the annual National Air Races) were held at Curtiss-Reynolds Airport in Chicago, IL. His article exposes the vagaries of professional air racing during the Golden Age, including the seemingly senseless accidents, injuries and deaths. If you have heard of Florence Klingensmith, a female pilot of great skill (not a Register pilot), this article describes her demise during a pylon event at the 1933 races.

The International Air Races spanned four days in conjunction with Chicago's Century of Progress exhibition. Interestingly, at the same time the Ford Motor Company celebrated 30 years in the automobile business. A commemorative Ford giveaway "dollar" from your Webmaster's collection is at left.

Ong Trophy Wins, The New York Times, December 13, 1936 (Source: NYT)

 

 

According to "Who's Who in Aviation," Ong won the W.G. Skelley Trophy in 1932, the Glenn H. Curtiss Trophy in 1936, the E.L. Phillips Trophy and the E.H.R. Green Trophy in 1936 at the Miami All-American air manoeuvres (article, right, from The New York Times, December 13, 1936; note mention of Register pilot Tex Lagrone). He won 19 events in the All-Kansas Air Tour of 1929.

Ong was a member of the Quiet Birdmen, Veteran Pilots Association, Professional Racing Pilots Association, the National Aeronautic Association and the Air Reserve Officers Association.

Just before the outbreak of WWII, the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) was initiated by Register pilot Hap Arnold. Ong was involved with the CPTP program at Emporia, KS, as indicated at the link. He ran a glider training school as Grand Central Flying School for U.S. Army pilots at Renner Field, Goodland, KS near the border of Colorado. The field is now Goodland Municipal Airport (GLD). On a personal note, one afternoon your Webmaster made a memorable landing and takeoff at Goodland, in one of the "gentle breezes" that blow/howl across Kansas. This was preceded by the approach from the east looking down on the irrigation circles with corn crops that were blowing and undulating like waves on the sea.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) established the William A. Ong Memorial Award. Presented annually since 1984, it is given for "extraordinary achievement and extended meritorious service to the general aviation industry." It is considered one of the industry's most prestigious award. Ong was a co-founder (with Register pilot Les Bowman, December 28, 1940) and the first president of NATA. Ong and Bowman's work with the NATA and CPTP was celebrated by House Resolution 1669 on December 1, 2010.

His company, Ong Aircraft Company, got into real estate development (date uncertain) and developed Fairwood Homes in Jackson County, MO. His son, Donald, was among those appointed by Ong to form an Interim Committee to govern and administer the Fairwood Homes Association.

I have no information about his activities or life during the decades of the 1950s through 1970s. If you can help fill in the blanks, please let me KNOW.

In 1964 he won the McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award offered by the National Aeronautic Association. In 1975, he was inducted into the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame. If you go to the link you will find that the list of inductees reads like a listing of Register pilots.

Bill Ong has a fair Web presence, mostly involving the awarding of his NATA Memorial Awards. He was born December 28, 1902 at Lacon, IL. He died in November, 1979 at 66208  Shawnee Mission, Johnson, KS. On Google Earth, this location appears to be a University of Kansas-affiliated hospital. Ong also landed once in 1929 at Parks Airport, East St. Louis, IL.

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 07/23/14 REVISED: