Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Busy Day at Glendale

For a few magical years before World War II, Glendale's Grand Central Air Terminal was the hub of the aviation scene in Southern California, and so there was always something going on. On this day, probably sometime in 1932 or 1933, Goodyear's Type TZ airship Volunteer descends steeply for a landing while T&WA's Fokker F-32 NC-333N taxis up to the terminal. Just another day at Glendale....

The Volunteer (and the registration NC-8A) was actually a series of airships that all utilized the same gondola or "car", but which were equipped with progressively larger envelopes. Our photo most likely shows the Volunteer III, which first flew on September 5, 1931.

Also visible in the photo is Roscoe Turner's Gilmore Oil Lockheed Air Express (NR3057), a parasol-wing variant of the venerable Vega, and just beyond it, the window line of a Lockheed Orion, probably one of Varney Air's Northrop Delta (several folks, including Tim Kalina and John Underwood, wrote to correct me on this one!).

Although Volunteer wasn't based at Glendale, she was a frequent visitor. The photo below comes from the Archive's R.C. Talbott negative collection and features California Governor James Rolph getting a ride on the Volunteer; there's no way to tell whether this was on the same day as the photo above, or another visit by the airship.

Glendale had its own "pet" dirigible, the City of Glendale developed by Slate Aircraft (see our post from August 20, 2013, for a history of this ill-fated project). In the overhead photo below, the City of Glendale pokes its nose out from its hangar. Both photos in today's post come from a small collection that was saved from UPI's San Francisco bureau office just before the vast bulk of their old photo archive was discarded after the office closed.

In the view below, from Google Earth, I've tried to get the same approximate angle as in the one above.

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