This collection contains two groups of photographs. The first group, mounted on pages removed from a photo album, contains views of aircraft and facilities at the United States Army Air Service Fairfield Intermediate Air Depot, Fairfield, Ohio, circa 1921. The second group consists of loose photographs of aircraft, most of which are historic views of early Aerial Experiment Association and Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company aircraft by photographer Harry M. Benner.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 86 photographs collected by the donor's father, roughly divided into two groups. The first group, most of which is mounted on black paper pages removed from a photo album, shows facilities and aircraft at the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot in 1921, including aerial views of the field. Many of the aircraft pictured (circa 1918-1921) were undergoing technical assessment by the Army Air Service at nearby McCook Field and Wilbur Wright Field. Several photographs show the wreckage of Dayton Wright DH-4 and Curtiss JN-4D Jenny training aircraft crashed in the local area. Aircraft pictured in this group include Bristol Fighter F.2B (Brisfit) [McCook Field no. P-37], Engineering Division USD-9A (D.H.9) [McCook Field no. P-43], Fokker D.VII (V.18) [McCook Field No. P-108], LePère 11 (C-11, C II, LUSAC 11), Martin (MB-1) MP Mailplane, Martin (Glenn L.) (MB-1) GMB-TA Transatlantic Aircraft, Nieuport 24, Orenco Type B [McCook Field no. P-41], Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a, SPAD XIII (S.13), Standard (NJ) Handley Page O/400 "Langley", Standard (NJ)-Built Caproni Ca.5 Night Bomber, Thomas-Morse S-4C, Verville (Alfred) VCP-R (R-1), and Vought VE-7 [McCook Field no. P-23].
The second, smaller group of photographs consists of historical images (circa 1908-1913) relating to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Hammondsport, New York, most of which were taken by Curtiss photographer Harry M. Benner. This group contains photographs of Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) aircraft (the Aerodrome No 1 Red Wing, the Aerodrome No 2 White Wing, the Aerodrome No 3 Loon, the Aerodrome No 4 Silver Dart, and the Cygnet II) and an assortment of Curtiss models, including Lincoln Beachey at the controls of his Curtiss Beachey Special, Curtiss C-2 (AB-2), Ruth Law at the controls of her Curtiss Model D Headless, Curtiss Flying Boat No.2 "The Flying Fish," Curtiss Flying Boat Model F, the twin-engined Curtiss Model H "America" (H-1), Curtiss J (floatplane version), Curtiss JN-2 Jenny, Curtiss NC-1, Curtiss 18-T Wasp (Curtiss-Kirkham), and the Curtiss 1914 Rebuild of the Langley (Samuel P.) Aerodrome A. These widely reproduced images also appear in other NASM Archives collections from the period.
Biographical / Historical:
The Fairfield Aviation General Supply Depot, opened by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Fairfield (Ohio) in January 1918, was designed to provide supply and logistical support for wartime aviation training operations. The largest of the depot's buildings was constructed around a double spur of track connecting it with the main railroad lines (still in use decades later as Building 1, Area C, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). As World War I came to a close, the Army Air Service made plans for reducing training operations and managing war surplus materiel; accordingly, in January 1919 they shut down training at adjacent Wilbur Wright Field and shifted control and use of that field to the depot, now renamed as the Wilbur Wright Air Service Depot. In November 1919, the facility was transferred to the Air Service's list of permanent depots and renamed as the Aviation General Supply Depot, Fairfield, Ohio. As post-war demobilization continued, millions of dollars of property flowed into Fairfield from Europe and closed-down Air Service facilities in the continental United States, and a large civilian workforce was hired to deal with the massive influx of materiel. The name changed to Air Service Supply and Repair Depot after an aviation repair unit was transferred to Fairfield in September 1920; the depot's Engineering and Repair Section was tasked with the repair and maintenance of Air Service aircraft and the overhaul of engines. After undergoing four name changes in just over two years, in January 1921 the depot's name and mission as a center for supply and repair was clarified by the War Department with the establishment of four "air intermediate depots" at San Antonio (Texas), Rockwell (California), Middletown (Pennsylvania), and Fairfield, which became the Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot (FAID).
Donald G. Williams, Gift, 1992, NASM.1992.0040
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