Aeronautics Branch Aircraft
In 1927, the Aeronautics Branch acquired this De Haviland D.H.4b, a former mail plane. The numeral on its tail indicates that this was probably the first aircraft to receive a registration number from the Branch. (The letter "N" had been assigned to the United States by international agreement in 1919.)
Standing next to the aircraft is William P. MacCracken, Jr., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics. To the right is Clarence Young, who was MacCracken's deputy and later his successor as head of the Aeronautics Branch. (National Archives photo)
The Aeronautics Branch used most of its fteet for aerial inspection of navigation aids, a function that has continued to the present day.
One such aircraft was the Stearman C-3B biplane, shown at left in 1929 or 1930. (Museum of Flight photo)
Another early example of the Aeronautics Branch aircraft is this Bellanca Pacemaker E. The Branch bought nine of this type in 1929, and assigned five to the Airways Division. For a history of flight inspection, see Scott A. Thompson's book Flight Check!, an FAA publication.