“Doug” Davis quit high school in Barnesville to join the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. Within months he was a second lieutenant and one of the youngest pilots in service, his dreams of combat flight dashed by assignment to duty as instructor and check pilot. Discharged in 1919, he acquired a IN-4 “Jenny” which he christened the “Glenna Mae” honoring the—sweetheart he would marry in 1925. A career of barnstorming, flying circuses, flight schools, testing and promotion of aircraft followed. His skill in stunt flying and racing during a tragically brief career brought lasting recognition. Pilot of Travel Air’s “Mystery Planes,” he excelled in the Cleveland National Air Races and cross country competitions. In Cleveland in 1929, Davis broke world speed records in a show which marked a new era for commercial aviation, one in which commercial planes achieved dominance over military craft that would endure until WWII, and the monoplane became the standard for high performance. In 1934 Davis won the Bendix cross country race and the Unlimited Shell Speed Dash only to crash in the Thompson Trophy Race and died at the age of 33. In 1970 a four lane street near Hartsfield International Airport was christened “Doug Davis Drive,” and in 1972 he was enshrined in the OX5 Club of America Hall of Fame.
Douglas H. Davis was enshrined May 18, 1991, in recognition of significant contributions to the development of commercial aviation during a brief, brilliant career.