According to an article published by Barry Taylor, logbook entries indicate that Jack Rose first flew Rose Parrakeet S/N 103, NC14843 on May
15, 1936. He personally trailered it to California behind his 1929 Ford Model A. He logged a 40 minute flight in NC14843 in San Francisco on June 13th. CAA registration documents show that he
sold it to Conwalt Flying Service (Jack S. Conley & Fred E. Walts) on June 30th. It was subsequently sold by Conwalt to to Theo Brown and R. B. Stephansen who were listed as flying school
operators at the Los Angeles Municipal Airport, Inglewood, California. Notes on a photo of NC14843 by Ralph Johnston dates them 1935, but does not indicate where it was taken (Click here to go to photo). However, Ralph's notes may have been reconstructed from memory, because the CAA registration application signed by Jack Rose states the date of
Manufacture as "April 1936". Either way, the current FAA registry entry which shows a 1937 "Aircraft Year" is clearly wrong.
On January 21, 1938, Stephansen and Brown applied for a temporary experimental registration to test NX14843 with a Menasco M-50 engine. In
October of 1939, a new owner Arthur W. Stevens of San Dimas, CA applied for commercial registration with a Continental A-40-4 as originally certified. Stevens then sold it to Falcon Aircraft
Corporation on 1 December, 1939. It was sold to Joe Flesia of Wilmington, CA on 4 March, 1940. NC14843 was then transferred to Bruce Little of Glendale, CA on 5 December, 1942. Through
all of these title transfers NC14843 continued to be based at the Los Angeles Municipal Airport, Inglewood, CA.
Walt Grigg remembers hearing that actor Ray Milland "flew
the heck out of a Parrakeet". This is what I have found out so far. Welsh born Reginald Alfred Truscott-Jones (stage name Raymond Milland) learned to fly in 1927 in a DeHavilland Gypsy
Moth during his spare time as a Royal Household Cavalry Guard. In 1929, he traded the British film industry for Hollywood. In the early 30's he obtained his "Private" flying license in a
Kinner Fleet based at Mines Field (now Los Angeles International Airport). He starred in several early flying movies such as: Wings Over Honolulu (1937), Men with Wings (1938) and I Wanted Wings (1941). During W.W.II Milland served as a civilian contract primary flight instructor between movies. In his 1974, autobiography Wide Eyed in Babylon, Milland relates how flying the Kinner Fleet often relaxed him, but he does not mention flying a Rose Parrakeet.
In a letter to Barry Taylor, which appears in "The Parrakeet Pilot", Sixth Ed, February 2000, John Underwood states "Another
film celebrity involved with Parrakeets was Ray Milland, who I believe was taught to fly by Ted Brown. Milland claimed to own a Parrakeet and Stinson, neither of which were registered in his name,
which leads me to think he probably had an interest in, if not outright ownership, of the Brown operation." R. B. Stephanson and Theo "Ted" Brown were flying school operators and owned NC14843 from
1936 to 1939.
Walt Grigg has a copy of an article "The Parakeet Story" by Jack W. Rose, as told to John Underwood (Bib. #5), in which John
states that Ray Milland flew NC14881.
Did Ray Milland fly more than one Rose Parrakeet? NC14843, NC14844 and NC14881 were all based in the Los Angeles area during
this time. Take a look at the pictures below and let me know what you think.