1922: FIRST AIRPLANE OWNER AND AIRPORT IN THE VERDE VALLEY.

"VALLEY MAN IS FIRST AIRPLANE OWNER IN ARIZONA"

"The first man in Arizona to own an airplane for his personal use is Ersel Garrison, proprietor of the Liberty Garage. He expects also to be the first Arizona civilian to qualify as a pilot."

"Garrison has a 110-horsepower Curtis Standard plane, brand new except for the fact that the motor has been operated in another machine just about long enough to wear in the parts. At his own expense he has had a landing field cleared and a hangar constructed just north of the Sedona highway beyond Bridgeport. He has already made several trial flights with Postmaster A. R. Tipton of Clarkdale, who was an aviation instructor in the army during the war, at the joy-stick. All day Sunday passengers will be taken up, and hereafter anybody around these parts who hankers to do a little flying need only call on Garrison to be accommodated."

"LIKES THE GAME: Primarily, however, Garrison has gone into aviation for his own pleasure. He became an enthusiast last September, when the Thompson brothers brought a plane here for the Cottonwood Labor day celebration. Soon after that he heard of a Curtis plane that had been 'hocked' with a lumber company at Maine by two discharged army aviators who were attempting to fly to their home in Colorado and ran short of funds for gasoline. So Garrison went to Maine and when he found the machine in good condition, bought it."

"The Curtis was brought to Cottonwood, where Garrison and Tipton started out to do a little flying. In their very first trip something went wrong and a forced landing was made, with the result that the wings were pretty badly smashed."

"This did not serve to dampen Garrison's enthusiasm. He determined not to bother with second-hand airplanes any more but to buy a new one. A thorough examination showed that the engine of the machine was in splendid condition, so it was retained. A complete new plane, with the exception of power plant, was ordered, and when it arrived the engine was transferred."

"Two or three weeks have passed since the motor was installed in the new plane, but Tipton and Garrison have been proceeding very slowly and carefully, testing everything thoroughly before attempting to fly. They made one short trip last Sunday evening and Tuesday they were in the air about 20 minutes. All went merry as a marriage bell and now they feel that they are ready to do a little flying. Next Sunday they will take up passengers."

"Garrison has been studying aviation from all angles and is practically ready to pilot the plane without his instructor right now. Soon he will be making trips frequently to Prescott, Phoenix and other points, either with passengers or just to be going somewhere."

"Last year about 500 civilians in the United States learned to pilot their own airplanes. None of them, however, were in Arizona. So far as is known, Garrison is the first individual airplane owner in this state.

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Friday, March 30, 1923; page 4, column 5.)

"SUNDAY FLYING"

"Last Sunday, despite the heavy wind and threatening storm, Pilot A. R. Tipton and Ersel Garrison were on the job at the flying field and after making a trip themselves they proceeded to take up some passengers. They made several trips and soared around over the upper portion of the valley as though the day were calm."

"Mrs. Garrison, Ersel's mother, was very much put out from the start to think that she had raised her boy to be a trifler with the whims of the air. She did not want anything to do with any flying machines and it was with great difficulty that the boys could get her to the field to witness the operation of the big bird that is now her son's hobby. She finally gave in, however, and even allowed herself to be persuaded to get into the blamed thing and take a trip in it. Well, when the ride was over and she climbed out, Ersel's enthusiasm was not in it with hers. She would not mind having a whole brood of ships now and is willing to experience the thrills of being up among the clouds any old time. So now she withdraws any objections to her boy's peculiar bent."

"There were several other passengers who availed themselves of the trip to the clouds. So much for Ersel and his colleagues in up-to-date aviation. Watch them soar."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, April 3, 1923; page 4, columns 2, 3.)

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