The Glenmont-Belmont-Mason Mix

This aircraft is recorded in NASM records as a Warren & Montijo monoplane, c/n WM-1. It was manufactured in April 1928 by H P "Glen" Warren and John G Montijo, San Luis Obispo CA, as a class project at California Polytechnic College under the instruction of Warren and Montijo. There was no ATC # assigned (ie: it was not certified by CAA).

    It was constructed with steel tubing fuselage and tail group, and spruce and Haskelite wings. It left the factory with a 260hp Salmson (Menasco) 92M 9-cylinder air-cooled engine. In what has to be a mistake of record transcription, empty weight was given as 3,032 pounds and gross weight of 3,355 pounds, leaving a useful load of 323 pounds. This is probably an error, as the airplane was billed as carrying two pilots and four passengers, as well as, hopefully, some fuel.

    On 8/1/28 the airplane was sold to C B Bellows, a Dodge automobile dealer, of Long Beach CA. The bill of sale called the airplane a "Glenmont Landau Sedan" (Glenmont being a combination of Glen Warren and Montijo's names). Bellows stated that he preferred the name "Belmont," and the name was changed on 8/29/28. That is why the airplane was identified as a Belmont in the Register. Further, on 11/23/28, Montijo summitted an application to register "Belmont Cabin Monoplane C/N M-1." He had lowered the first station at the rear of the engine to improve frontal visibility. The total time on the aircraft to that date was 44 hours. No bill of sale was generated, leading the CAA to question the application.

    Montijo explained, "Bellow still retains sole ownership of the Belmont M-1. The plane was designed and built by me. I engaged Mr W T Waterhouse to figure the stress analysis for it before the plane was sold to Mr Bellows (stress analysis recently sent to DoC)." Further, he said he was building more planes, desired approval of this model only, and that future planes will be slightly changed in design and a new complete set of drawings will be sent by Waterhouse for approval.

    Near that time, on 3/10/1929, [NC5278] landed at Tucson piloted by Montijo. He carried three passengers, arriving from Phoenix and returning there.

Well, the airplane was sold, less engine, three months later, on 6/26/29, to J G Melson of Los Angeles. The airplane was still located in the Bellows hangar at Long Beach Municipal Airport. On 8/19/29, Melson reported that the sale was "not consummated and in litigation due to misrepresentations." No bill of sale was submitted.

    Assuming the owner still to be Bellow, the airplane was sold on 7/16/32 to Monty G Mason of Los Angeles. Record says, "airplane is of a blue and silver color but at the time (of sale) has, at the instigation of the buyer, been painted by the Arborgast Aero Service to green and gold."

    Then, in a series of confusing transfers, the airplane, Belmont c/n WM-1 [5278], was rebuilt and emerged as a Mason Greater Meteor, c/n M-200. It was identified as having "the same wing and remodeled fuselage with different motor" to have been "manufactured" as a single-seat aircraft by Mason Aircraft Co, as of 11/23/33, with a 420hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine c/n 354 and 348 gallons fuel capacity. It had a "broadcasting booth and refueling equipment" in the passenger compartment (six tanks). Mason requested a restricted "R" registration on 2/27/34 and designated it for a "non-stop refueling endurance distance flight."

    On 4/29/34 the aircraft was in an accident at Long Beach. Damages were not stated. However, a memorandum dated 5/8/34 states that reports of spectators and inspectors indicate that the accident was due to the flying ability of Mason. Mason's own report suggests the possibility that the ship was not airworthy in terms of stability as apparently the center of gravity was out of line (statement: "At about 50 feet a terrific oscillation was set up in the tail section and Š had a tendency to corkscrew. At about 500' I made a right turn Š still maintaining complete left rudder and left aileron to avert a power spin." Mason was cited on 5/10/34 in violation of CAR (carrying a passenger in NR licensed airplane). His transport pilot's license #29953 was suspended for 60 days.

    The registration was cancelled on 7/18/34. Title passed on 7/18/34 to W O Buchanan, a mechanic, A&E #12539. The aircraft remained in Hangar 15 at Long Beach airport at least until Oct 1935. No further information found. (— David Mason 1/11/07)