ISSUE NO. 162
She’s reading “How to Fly an Aeroplane” - See page 5
RETIRED NORTHWEST AIRLINES PILOTS’ ASSOCIATION
CMoAnYt e2n0t0s7 6 RNPA Mailbox
The most favored feature of Contrails - Keep ‘em coming
20 The Root Cellar EDITOR Gary Ferguson 1664 Paloma Street Pasadena CA 91104 (626) 529-5323 email@example.com OBITUARY EDITOR Vic Britt PROOFING EDITOR Romelle Lemley CONTRIBUTING COLUMNISTS Bob Root Sue Duxbury PHOTOGRAPHERS Dick Carl Fran DeVoll Phil Hallin REPORTERS Each Member! The newsletter RNPA Contrails is published quarterly by the Retired Northwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to maintain the friendships and associations of the members, to promote their general welfare, and assist those active pilots who are approaching retirement with the problems relating thereto. Membership is $30 annually for Regular Members (NWA pilots, active or retired) and $20 for Associate Members.
ADDRESS CHANGES: Dino Oliva 3701 Bayou Louise Lane Sarasota FL 34242 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pilots, golfers and all those pesky regulations
22 Pearl at 65
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn. visits Hawaii for the last time
30 SW FLA Spring Luncheon Good friends, good food and a good time
38 Getting to Know You
Our newest columnist visits with Stephanie Dodge
42 It Was a Living
Bob Peasley reminisces about his last trip and other things
51 A Farily Serious Case of PC But that doesn’t stand for Policital Correctness
54 Golfing in Arizona
Dave Hulbert sends pix of a RNPA outing in Scottsdale
56 Dave Ahlgren Remembered A tribute to a friend of all winged creatures of Minnesota
4 Officers’ Reports 60 Flown West 62 Membership and Address form
On the Frontlines of the Pension Wars A LOOK AT SOME OF THE LATEST INFORMATION FIRST Recently the Government PBGC issued a statement that NWA should make it clear to its creditors that the airline remains “stuck with billions of dollars in pension liability.” Our attorney’s opinion of the PBGC action is posted on our web site and is published here for those without computers.
Northwest Retired Pilots’ Benefit Guardian Association
Subject: Pension Agency NWA Bankruptcy Plan Lacks Candor From: Daryle L. Uphoff To: email@example.com Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 10:29 AM Subject: RE: wcco.com - Pension Agency NWA Bankruptcy Plan Lacks Candor Dino— I think the whole issue is just one of disclosure by NWA, and I do not believe it to be substantive for the creditors—who are well aware of the PBGC situation nor for NWA itself. I think the PBGC is correct when it says that NWA should disclose the nature and extent of the continuing obligation. I think Northwest is just trying to be a bit too clever here; it actually helps Northwest’s case in beating down the claims by equity holders that they are entitled to share in the pie. I do not believe there is anything that we can or should be doing here. I do not believe that this spat will have any effect on the progress of the plan. It is fairly normal that prior to a hearing on the adequacy of a disclosure statement that numerous objections are filed and that the court would order certain modifications, additions, etc. to the disclosure statement before it and the proposed plan of reorganization is sent to the creditors for voting. I think the objection by the [flight attendants] and others that management compensation needs to be disclosed is also well-taken, and I would expect the bankruptcy judge to order Northwest to include that discussion as well as the pension situation in the disclosure statement. Daryle John Wood, one of our retirees, had a discussion with a council one pilot regarding what it is like flying the line now. He put John in touch with Dan Vician, a member of the negotiating committee. Dan’s statements regarding the effect of the company’s action on the freezing of our pension plan can be seen on page 18 in the RNPA Mailbox. Dino Oliva
Guardian Board members: President: Dino Oliva Treasurer: John Dittberner Neal Henderson Dennis Olden
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Rick Miller Joe Ferrens Dick Smith Bill Cameron Bill Day
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Greetings All, The response for the Reno Convention has been very good. Several of you are coming early and staying late. Be sure to call the hotel and make reservations for the Balloon Breakfast. Also call the agency handling the tickets for the Air Races. Cutoff date for the convention and the Air Races is August 1st. DON’T BE LATE. SEE FORMS IN THIS ISSUE. Also, get your money in to RNPA for the Convention. June 1st is the cutoff date for the drawing of the room and the convention costs. Also after June 1st the cost per person rises to $175.00. The solution is to sign up and pay up early. Barbara and I have just returned from another trip to the Copper Canyon. This trip was every bit as interesting and beautiful as the first. Mexico is a fascinating country, regardless of the migrating problems. The history, culture and food are all very interesting. We are planning to lead a Colonial Tour to the colonial cities next year. You have probably read in PASSAGES the number of retirees from NWA. Unfortunately they are not joining RNPA. If you know anyone recently retired, please contact them and encourage them to join. RNPA is a social organization and as a result we have great times at the various venues of our gatherings. Our future sites of conventions include Hartford and Albuquerque. Speaking of Hartford, a full schedule is planned, including visits to the U S Coast Guard Academy, Groton and Mystic Seaport. Many of us will be ending up there after our Maritime RV Tour. If you want information on that please contact me. I hope all of you are enjoying retirement as much as I am. Some days I think I need to get a job, just so I can have some time off.
TREA$URER’$ REPORT I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the RNPA dues structure and policy. There are basically two types of members: pilots, both retired and active; and affiliates—other individuals that have an interest in keeping in touch with their NWA friends. At the present time our dues are $30 and $20 respectively and are assessed on a yearly basis, not the anniversary date of your membership. If you joined late in the year you would be given a partial credit for the following year’s dues. In late
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December we send out a dues notice. Your dues are calculated by adding any balance from the previous year plus dues owed for the following year. Members that have not paid their dues by the end of February are sent a reminder notice with a $5 penalty to cover the cost of the mailing. Members still delinquent at the end of March are removed from membership to preclude additional costs to the association. On occasion errors are made in the posting of dues payments. Please bring to our attention any errors so that they may be corrected.
DITOR’S NOTES ABOUT THE COVER PHOTO Even though it’s an appropriate photo for Contrails, it’s really more personal than that. Now that Mona and I are living here in La La Land I can act like a cable news anchor and give you my breathless, gossipy take on this Hollywood connection—not to RNPA, but to us. Here’s the story: It’s a shot of an early movie actress named Dorothy Sebastion taken sometime around 1929. I’m guessing that it’s a studio publicity shot. The home we recently bought here in Pasadena was originally built by Tom Mix in 1926 for Mistress Sebastion. (I know you all know who Tom Mix is, but I can’t find anyone 40 or younger who has ever heard of him!) At the time he was earning $17,000 a week! This house was built for $5,500— pocket change for him. Our “cover girl” apparently dumped ol’ Tom for Buster Keaton soon thereafter and even continued the liaison with Buster after she later married William Boyd, aka Hopalong Cassidy. How’s that for sleeping rapidly through the Hollywood A-list of the time? He had the house built in Brentwood—you know, where OJ once lived. In 1991 it was moved to it’s present location here in Pasadena. I know you won’t believe that someone moved a house (even cut in half) all the way through LA in 1991, some 22 miles, but we have evidence! So did we jump into this outrageous real estate market because we were dazzled by the history? Partially, yes. But besides really liking the house, there was a practical consideration to our madness. Pasadena loves its architectural heritage, and rightly so. It turns out that California has legislation known as The Mills Act. In a nutshell, municipalities are allowed to reduce the property tax on a limited number of historically significant properties in designated districts by as much as 70% in return for keeping it in an historical state. Our neighborhood was designated a Landmark Historical District only last March. We are expecting our application for Mills Act tax reduction to be approved this summer. I hope I haven’t jinxed it by saying so! No, we haven’t seen any celebrity ghosts.
A WORD OF THANKS I should explain exactly who’s involved when a letter-writer thanks “the Contrails staff.” It’s a short but capable list. Obituary Editor I mentioned Vic Britt’s valuable contribution last issue. He helps me gather most of the information for the Flown West section. Proofing Editor Romelle Lemley is a proofreader par excellence. As hard as I try, I still can’t catch all of my own typos and mistakes. You may be able to find a typo or two, but thanks to Romelle’s eagle eye I doubt that you will find many. She doesn’t hesitate to question some details of grammatical style, either. She is greatly appreciated. Contributing Columnists Bob Root usually adds a much-needed touch of humor, while Sue Duxbury’s almost-new column provides something besides that ol’ hangar flyin’ stuff. Photographers With Phil Hallin, Dick Carl, Fran DeVoll and myself we are usually able to cover every major RNPA event. That’s it—at least for the actual staff. My intent for this newsletter is to make it as much as possible FOR us, ABOUT us and BY us. For that, a big “Thank You” to each of you who have taken it upon yourselves to be one of the Reporters—the last listed, and maybe the most important, members of the staff. There has been an increase of contributed articles lately, but please don’t quit now. It’s what this group is all about. ANY HISTORIANS OUT THERE? You may have noticed that articles about history, and particularly Northwest Airlines history, are getting harder and harder to find in the pages of Contrails. My resources are getting pretty thin. If you have an interest along these lines, do I have a deal for you. For some occasional input of historical interest we will give you a big title and much thanks. Just imagine—your name under the heading of HISTORIAN on the masthead. What could be more impressive? Whatchabeenupto?
RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Shigeaki Morita Dear Captain Oliva, Enclosed please find a check for the 2007 dues. I would also like to thank you for sending me a bundle of RNPA Contrails and a directory. [Our mailing list error had caused him to miss the previous issues.] Going through the pictures, I was very glad that I can still recognize some of the faces. They all seem to be well. I’d like to get to a get-together one of these days. Sincerely, Shigeaki Morita
Chuck Bucklin Busy with nine grandkids and our church. Enjoying good health and good friends. Keep up the outstanding works. Thanks, Chuck Bucklin
Chuck Beighlea Dino, Love each issue of the RNPA magazine. You guys keep up the good work. All is well here. I love being retired and being an 8-times grandfather (one more on the way) and a 3-times great-grandfather. Watched the last great-granddaughter being born—what an experience for an old aircraft mechanic. Told the doctor I needed that as a refresher course, because I slept that day in medical school. Regards, Chuck Beighlea
RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Kenneth Kelm Dear Dino, Just want to thank you again for all your hard work! I just attended the RNPA Seattle Christmas Party a few weeks ago and had a terrific time! This was only the second RNPA affair that I have attended other than our “North Puget Sound RNPA Pilots’ Luncheon” at the Skagit Regional Airport that Bill Day hosts every month. Since this time last year I have traveled extensively around the country in my motorhome, and am just now getting ready to leave again on a 4-6 week “Safari” to southern California to visit step-sons and families. Hope to find some warmer weather for a while, as it is VERY cold up here in the Puget Sound area with 6 inches of snow on the ground. Brrr! Moved away from Minnie about 17 years ago to get away from all this! Don’t know if I will be able to get to Reno this year, but sure hope to “connect” with the troops one of these days. Thanks again for all the great work you are doing! Hope you and Karen have a terrific New Year! Sincerely, Ken Kelm
Hi Dino, I’ve never talked to you personally, but as a March 1969 hire I’ve been aware of your service for many years. You’re a leader, and without people like you things would never get done. I’ve admired and appreciated your contributions always. Thank you, thank you. Sincerely, Nick Modders
K. P. Haram Dino, Enclosed is my check for my RNPA dues for 2007. This is the first check I have written this year and it will give the most value for the dollar of any other checks that I will write this year I am sure. Nancy had her second knee replacement last Spring and that turned out well after a period of recovery and therapy. We both have enjoyed good health this past year. Much to be thankful for. Our lives continue to revolve around our large family and many good friends here in Minnesota. We will be in Fountain Hills, Arizona again for February and March, that takes most of the bite out of our Minnesota winter. Our thanks to you and that talented crew that create Contrails, and also all of our RNPA officers past and present. Happy New Year to you and Karen. K. P. Haram
John Nevelle Dino, Thanks for all the years of union work and especially the work since bankruptcy. Enjoy your time after your term ends. John Nevelle We don’t plan on allowing his term to end! – Ed.
Dick Erlandson Hi Everybody; In 2004, parted company with the Shakopee horse-training farm after 18 busy years. Have been flying my homebuilt amphibian for just short of 10 years now. In November I was driving along when the engine got quite sick. Best I could do was a plowed field that was very kind to both the airplane and me (Gear up worked well.) As a result I found a buyer and turned in my goggles and scarf. It’s been a good ride. Babs & I (50 years last September) enjoyed seeing a lot of good people at the Lakeville Christmas party. We’re both blessed with good health. Best wishes and a Happy 2007 to all. Dick Erlandson
Byron Chamberlain In your Memoriam list I would appreciate making a change under the 1939 name to read B. C. “Cash” Chamberlain. I retired from Northwest in 1982 from the Billings Station. Just for the record, my Dad was the test pilot for Hamilton Metalplane. I remember “Speed” Holman quite well, as my Dad took him downtown to a hotel 3 or 4 times. I recall one incident when “Speed” had just taken off at Milwaukee—he lost his bag. He landed down-wind and picked up his bag. Byron C. Chamberlain
Bill Manning Dino, I happened to catch the story of your career with NWA in the Sarasota paper—quite impressive! Your new career with RNPA is equally commendable. Bill Manning
Dear Dino, Thanks to all for great work in RNPA. Have gone on two cruises this past year, i.e.: Hawaii & Jamaica. Going to Mexico Riviera in March ’07. Enjoying retirement greatly, but still miss flying after 13 years. Being in Fountain Hills, Arizona year around has really helped my health. Greetings to all and have a Happy New Year, Bill Helfrich
Paul Best Dear Dino, Thank you and the editors of Contrails magazine for the wonderful work that you all do. Of course I read Contrails magazine from cover to cover and then pass it on for others to read. I have been retired for six years now and life just seems to keep getting better. My wife and I spent three weeks in Italy and it’s true that the entire country is one big photo opportunity. I fly my RV-4 experimental plane as much as I can, depending on Pacific Northwest weather and the price of av-gas. My brother Ned and I still try to lower the excess duck and goose population when we can and occasionally run into the odd retired Northwest Pilot during our trips afield. Also I try to make the monthly RNPA luncheons for the Puget Sound region. Bill Day is the ramrod for these luncheons and we get some good turnouts. I truly don’t know how I ever found enough time in my schedule to fly airline trips to Asia. I know now why the “old guys” say it’s the best schedule they ever bid. Sincere regards, Paul Best
Don Abbott Dino, Thanks for all your work, as well as all the others who make RNPA the very best. Lois & Don Abbott
Dan Neuman Dear Dino, As per your request, I’m stating some of my activities since my retirement in 1978. Most of my efforts involve restoring antique airplanes to flying condition. You may have seen the 1928 Waco Mailplane at gate 14 in the Lindbergh Terminal at Minneapolis. I also restored nine other including: 1917 Curtiss JN-4 1928 Buhl LA-1 1938 Stinson SR-10 These three were national grand champions. My present project is another 1928 Waco biplane. This one has a Curtiss OX6 engine. Waco model 10 biplanes were available with a choice of six different engines until 1931. My 1980 Beechcraft is getting a well-earned rest while my right eye is being treated for reduced vision. Happy New Year, Dan Neuman
RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Paul Nungesser Dino, I think I got behind on my payments. Haven’t got my Contrails for a while. $ enclosed. Thank you. Life is good. Summers on Lake Minnetonka, winters in St. Petersburg. There is a new bike trail-bridge over Minnehaha Creek at Gray’s Bay Dam where you had your place. One day I bike to Wayzata by it and the next day I go by Tim Olson’s new home to Excelsior with a whim in the lake. We live in Groveland, which is in Woodland, Deephaven, Wayzata, but kids go to Minnetonka schools. Go figure. I do some volunteering, mostly church. Go on missions trips every other year; this year Nairobi to feed the hungry in slums, teach Bible School and do music. I sing in three choirs and play trumpet in three bands. One is the 350-member Second Time Arounders Marching Band in St. Pete with a big trip every year. One choir toured Europe last Fall. Sang ten concerts in the churches, cathedrals. Heavenly! Got my third-class medical (one eye gone) so I rent a plane once in a while. Watch out. Thanks for your work. Appreciate it. God Bless you, Paul Nungesser
Paul Haglund Thanks to all of you who make RNPA a success. Family (six grandchildren), travel, volunteer work and a bad golf swing make up our lives in Destin, Florida. May 2007 find all of you in good health and enjoying the minutes of each moment. Tailwinds and blue skies, Paul & Ruth Haglund
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Laurie McCauley Dino, Thanks for all your hard work keeping us all informed. Still living on the “Range” in Northern Minnesota—skiing, dancing, time with family. It’s a good life! Happy New Year, Laurie McCauley
Richard Gladish Not much change here. Still living on the Snake River in S. E. Washington, shooting skeet and trap, and playing the baritone (euphonium) with the Lewis & Clark Community concert Band. Still living happily with my wife, Sue. Now I bring her coffee. Richard Gladish
Bob Fuller Dear Dino, Ruth Mary and I enjoyed the Portland reunion more than any we’ve been to, and we’ve missed very few since 19?? in [Vancouver.] Thanks to all of you who were involved in setting these up. Only other trip last year was driving from Lacey, Washington to Clovis, New Mexico to see our grandson who’s now flying F-16s with the Air Force. Also saw our two boys plus seven out of nine grand- and greatgrand-kids by stopping in Bakersfield and Vegas on the way. Thanks again for all the excellent work. Bob Fuller
Claire Davis Hi Dino, Happy New Year. Healthwise Old Paint, that’s my wife, and I are very good. We took a cruise to celebrate our 60th anniversary. We flew to Vancouver and ended in Anchorage. Had a great time. Claire Davis
Jack Heidman Harry Bedrosian Happy New Year Dino, The winter rains have arrived in the Pacific Northwest (1/05/07), so getting out on the golf course has slowed down a bit. We’ll take a break in about a month and head down to Palm Desert. It’s surprising how many NWA retirees we see down there. Take care and best regards to Karen. And once again thank you and all hands that do such a great job on Contrails. Harry Bedrosian
Dear Dino, Thank you and Gary Pisel and all the rest of the RNPA staff for a wonderful job. Please tell Dick Schlader and Gary Ferguson that our “Contrails” is one of the best magazines I read. Well done! It is hard to read about wonderful old friends passing on, but I love the historic articles and other interesting tidbits. Joanne and I are enjoying our motor home, golf and thankfully good health. Best wishes and keep up the good work. Jack Heidman
John Coppage Happy New Year Dino, Had a great year flying my round engine Chinese Air Force rice rocket to fly-ins and airshows, etc. All fun stuff. My main base is Deer Valley, Phoenix, Arizona and second base Love field, Prescott, Arizona. At Deer Valley we have ten or more CJ6s, plus a few T-6 SNJ types and T-28, L-39 aircraft. In Prescott: three CJ6s, one Supermarine Spitfire, two L-39s, two T-28s, four T-6s and one P-51. Lot of airline pilots having fun. I attended the Quiet Birdman Governors’ Convention in Scottsdale in the Fall of 2006. Had Bob Polhamus at our dinner table. Lots of funny airline aviation stories. RNPA President Gary Pisel did a great job at QB Governors’ Convention. He’s a great organizer. Regards, John Coppage
Bill Rowe Hi Dino, Hope to see you at the Spring Lunch. Dorothy had splints in both legs and is back playing tennis and golf three times a week. I had a cancer removed from my left leg, but now back playing tennis and golf. Bill Rowe
Wayne Anderson Dino— As always, thanks for your time and efforts with RNPA. Still spending winters at [Superstition Mountain, Arizona]. With two Jack Nicklaus golf courses part of our development, it is my retirement dream come true. And to make it even better, I get to spend summers on Flathead Lake in Montana. Wayne Anderson
Airshow time at Goodyear airport, October, 2006, with 100,000 in attendance. That’s my CJ6P Number 20 with Redstar CJ6s. Steve Hinton is taxiing out in his Corsair to battle a Jap Zero.
Ron Vandervort Thanks Dino, For your great contribution to the vigor of RNPA. Ron Vandervort
Warren Fitzpatrick Dino, We are still on Whidbey Island in the house we built, but it’s a little too big for us now, particularly now that my wife Marian fell and shattered an elbow—promoting me to chief cook and bottle washer. We both enjoy the newsletter, it’s professional. Best, Warren Fitzpatrick
Art Partridge Thanks for your work Dino—a Happy New Year! See you in Reno, meanwhile my donation through Lowell is on its way. Art Partridge
Ty Beason Hi Ho Dino, Hope you & Karen are doing well. I’m doing OK, health is good and I have been traveling a bit to Seattle, New Orleans and Atlanta. Take care and don’t you ever bid my trip. Tyrone “The Stone” Beason
Sandy Sullivan Thanks for all the work everyone does to keep us aware of what is happening with other retirees. John tried raising organic apples after retiring. He has stopped that! Very hard work, and no return financially. Since retiring from framing John has been rebuilding horse-drawn vehicles. He will have the host chuckwagon at “The Festival of the West” in South Phoenix area this March 1518, 2007. [Sorry this didn’t make it in time for the Feb. issue. -Ed.] Sincerely, Sandy Sullivan
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Marv Lund Hi Dino, You guys are doing a great job with RNPA & “Contrails.” Haven’t attended the functions of late, because of my hearing problem, but do enjoy the narratives in contrails. The one Joe Koskovich wrote about being snowed in with the passengers at JFK... I was on that one. And the one about the F6F “Hellcat” drone that couldn’t be shot down by the Air Force. I spent most of the year of 1945 with F6F Hellcats and a more rugged fighter probably was never built. Helen and I celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary the past year. Grandson Chris is on his 8th year of flying for NWA. Best regards, Marv Lund
Chris Hanks Hi Guys, I see by the dues notice that another trip has been completed around the sun. Things in the Hanks household are fine I guess, but then no one tells me what’s going on as usual. I have hired a personal trainer to control my weight and increase fitness. He works cheap and does not drink my beer. He drags my lazy butt out of the house every morning rain or shine and walks me at least 7 miles a day. Da Chase Dawg is a very Hyperactive Australian Shepherd that was bred a ranch dog out of Montana. He is very good looking and most of the pretty women in town bend way over to pet him if you know what I mean. Life is good. Still roving all over the place every summer and having a lot of fun with all the guys in The RV Flyers. If any of you are in the Saint Augustine area give us a call and I will buy the beer. Did I mention this is one hell of a good year to be a Gator. Jan & Chris Hanks
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George Kinser Dino, Many thanks to you and staff for a great newsletter. I always look forward to hear how all are doing. Please note my change of address. With all this hype on global warming my wife Nancy and I decided to move north to Maine. Best to all in 2007, George Kinser
Chris Stinnett Hello to all, Reporting from Paradise, AKA Cherokee county, Georgia. I only retired 6 years and 5 months ago, so not much has happened. Maya and I enjoy being grandparents. Our three little darlings only live one hour away. And we just found out we will be grandparents again. This one will be a Minnesotan. Better not name the tyke Ole or Lena. Enough for now, I think I’m about to get busy. John “Chris” Stinnett
Ross Kramer Hi Dino, I’m still practicing law at M&K. I fear I might flunk retirement, but I am cutting back. I’m spending most of the free time in Cabo San Lucas close to the arch (El Arco). Visitors are welcome and I will be glad to set up a fishing trip. Feliz Ańo Nuevo. Saludos, Ross Kramer
Sandy Mazzu Dear Dino and Karen, 2006 was a busy year for Lu and I. We decided to leave Destin, Florida. It was a great retirement stop, especially living at the Sandestin Resort. Lots of great airline friends, but time marches on and it was time to be near family. We have moved to Cary, North Carolina, where we have spent time over past years with three of our children living here. It is now fun to go to college basketball games and watch our grandson play. Transferred to the Cary Marine Corps League detachment. Our detachment collected over 60,000 toys for Toys for Tots this Christmas. Looking forward to a visit to Cherry Point, Marine Base In eastern NC. I was assigned there in 1943 and ’46. The air races in Reno should be a great addition to our reunion this year. We have a son that lives in Bishop, California and we will be able to visit him after the reunion. Our prayers are with the families that have lost loved ones this past year. Semper Fi and our best to all, Sandy and Lu Mazzu
Richard Smith Dino, Just a short note to thank all involved for the efforts put into RNPA and the results therein. My wife Karen, a retired flight attendant, and I are living on our ranch in western Montana enjoying our retirement. Karen has her dogs and sheep, I have my cows and fishing pole. We both enjoy reading and looking at the pictures in RNPA. Thanks again for the effort and good work. Sincerely, Richard E. Smith (Retired 2001)
Julie Clark Hi Dino, I will e-mail activities—the short of it is: I’m still very active flying air shows in my T-34 and still base myself out of Minnesota every summer at my house still located at Sky Harbor Airpark. I welcome any visitors who fly in. There are several of us “ole” retirees still living there—active NWA pilots as well. Julie Clark
Lloyd Melvie Dear Dino, Enclosed is my dues payment for another year and it is money well spent! Thanks for what you all do to keep RNPA going strong. I completed an interim ministry in Siren, Wisconsin September 3rd, took one Sunday off to go to the Tailhook Convention in Nevada and then started another interim ministry position at South Haven, Minnesota September 17th. Sharon decided she needed to continue her education so she started a masters program online through Phoenix University. How to you spell retirement? Life is good, we enjoy what we are doing and are still blessed with good health. Lloyd Melvie
Ken Kanakares Hi Dino, Thanks to all the RNPA guys & dolls for all the fine work. Sincerely, Ken Kanakares
Lydia Dawson I’m a retired flight attendant. A friend gave me a subscription last year and I enjoyed it so much. You do a great job. Lydia Dawson
Bob Lowenthal Hello Gary, I hope things are well with you and yours. It has been a fun year. The whole family is thriving. Thank the lord for all his bounty. It looks like even NWA is coming back to life. Thanks for forwarding the MEC news. I enjoy reading it. Despite some of the people, I still love that airline. I hope the negotiators have some good M&A specialists to help them with this. Some of the items already granted are worth a lot in trade. I was just thinking about Dave Benke when I read about the transfer of flying to weed wackers. He would have known how to handle it. His thinking was, “If you have a front window seat, you need to be in ALPA.” I’ll bet he would have everyone who flew a red tail in the SAME Council. Would it take a lot of schmoozing... you betcha. Ah well, of course I do not exactly have a dog in this fight. So it is easy for me to sit here and ramble. Speaking of which... attached is a photo of me and most of the clan skiing at Winter Park, Colorado after Christmas. From the right is me, daughter, daughter, son, son-in-law, and grandson. Even the 4 year old who was in the day care had four 15 minute “skiing lessons.” We had a ball. Just goes to show you that old, fat people can still have fun outdoors, even fully clothed. I just went down to Panama to look at a Marina construction job. My next excellent adventure, I hope. I’ll send you a story when I get back. Your buddy, Bob Lowenthal
Gordon Crowe Dino, Thank you very much for all your time and effort for NWA pilots—both now and in the past. Gordon Crowe RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Dick Hauff Hi guys: Once again thanks to all you folks who give so much time and effort into making RNPA such a great organization. Also, thanks to all the employees and retirees who sent in their correspondence that helped get the Pension Reform Bill passed; amazing what can be accomplished when we’re all in the same corner!!! Carol and I are in our seventh year of retirement and like everyone else busier then ever! We welcomed our first granddaughter in May so are traveling to Hawaii every few months to watch her grow. I’m also busy looking after
my 96 year old father who lives on his own and maintains two homes! (Fl. and Pa.) We are still trying to stay fit and both playing tennis about 6 times a week; so any of you guys looking for a game down in the Ft. Myers/Naples area please give a call. Looking forward to seeing all the S.W. Fla. contingent at the Bonita Springs luncheon on 21 March and still trying to work-out a trip to the Reno convention in Sept. Cheers, Dick Hauff
If you remember the original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when “Hollywood Squares” game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course. Q. Do female frogs croak? A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough. Q. If you’re going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be? A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it. Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years. A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes. Q. You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman? A. Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake. Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he’s married? A. Rose Marie: No, wait until morning. Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older? A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency. Q. What are “Do It,” “I Can Help,” and “I Can’t Get Enough”? A. George Gobel: I don’t know, but it’s coming from the next apartment. Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking? A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I’ll give you a gesture you’ll never forget. Q. Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather? A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily. Q. Charley, you’ve just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year? A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I’m too busy growing strawberries. Q. In bowling, what’s a perfect score? A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy. Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects
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at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other? A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures. Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet? A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom. Q. Can boys join the Camp Fire Girls? A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out. Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to? A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark. Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people? A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army. Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it? A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn’t neglected. Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant? A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant? Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex? A. Charley Weaver: I’ll lend him the car, the rest is up to him. Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they? A. Charley Weaver: His feet. Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed? A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh. Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do? A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth
Bob Dickson Hi to all my fellow pilots, I have sent my check by separate mail. I would like to thank all the people who do such great work for RNPA. Jeanne and I are still wintering in Palm Desert CA, and spending our summers at Semiahmoo in Blaine WA. Jeanne is a docent at the living desert Zoo in Palm Desert. She really enjoys working at a zoo. We are both avid golfers and I try and get out almost every day. I am a living example that quantity has absolutely nothing to do with quality. We are both relatively healthy, which of course is the most important thing at our age. We also enjoy visitors so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, either up north or in California, please give us a call. Our best to all, Bob & Jeanne Dickson
Clancy Ahlberg Dear Dino: I am sorry that I haven’t been sending along any notes with my dues. My wife of 37 years, Jane, passed away July 23, 2001. We had been snow birding in Arizona for about 5 years prior to her death. Since Jane passed away I have continued to come to Chandler, Arizona every winter. I usually return to Minnesota sometime in May and return to Arizona the first of October. I enjoy everything about the Contrails magazine with the exception of the obits. I look forward to being on the MPS summer cruise this summer. Sincerely, Clancy Ahlberg
Chuck Paine Hi Fellow Retirees, Having just sent in my dues to Dino and check to Lowell for the retirees, I have RNPA on my mind. I so enjoy CONTRAILS every issue and read every word. On 5/1 I’ll be retired 25 years and it has whizzed by. My oldest son, Tom, is just 6 years away from age 60 retirement at FedEx... how did that happen? I had to go on dialysis last fall 3 days a week for 5 hours by the time I am unhooked and ready to leave. I’m grateful for the help it is and they are very kind folks doing that. My youngest son, Randy, is flying for North American (charter outfit owned by World) all over the world and the FedEx son goes places in Europe and Asia I never hit. He’s often in both Europe and the far East on the same trip. I vicariously fly with both of them and enjoy hangar flying when I see them. I wasn’t able to go last Sunday but my wife said it was a nice service for Brooks Johnston and the Blackjack Squadron went over at 2:45 pm in the “missing man” formation and they were awesome. One of the employees at Sunset Hills Memorial Park told her that was a “first” to see and she could hardly wait to get home and tell her husband about it. What a wonderful thing that is for you guys to do. May 1st I’ll be 85 and grateful for this long retirement and the great memories that go with being a retired pilot... “Those were the days”!!!! Best regards to each of you, Chuck Paine Still based in SEA
Clint Viebrock Greetings, Susan and I are still mainly in Telluride, though we did purchase a second home in downtown Denver this past Summer. It will prove handy if I am able to break into acting in the Denver area, a new passion I am pursuing. I had the male lead role in a Telluride production of “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” last Summer, and had some good reviews for that performance. So, I decided it was time to re-invent myself once more. We are both in good health, and very much enjoying life. We travel a fair amount: Family visits, 3 weeks in China, 2 weeks in the Virgin Islands in the past 12 months, plus a 3 week trip to Chile in January last year. Guess I didn’t get enough of airplanes in the 33+ years with NWA. I’m still teaching skiing with Telluride Adaptive Sports Program, and volunteer with an adaptive horse riding program in the Summer, but I am reducing my commitment a bit as life continues to be busy. Keep up the good work with Contrails. Clint Viebrock
Eileen Boyd I look forward to the Contrails. It brings back many memories of the good times that we had going to reunions. I am doing fine and am thankful for the many years of memories Dene and I had. Eileen Boyd
Wayne Spohn Dino, Again, many thanks for your’s, and all of the RNPA crew’s, time, efforts, and caring to make the organization what it is. Wayne Spohn
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Bob Freese We’ve sold our Anchorage home and have moved to Nisswa, Minnesota. Since retireing, I’ve bought a hobby farm in Pocahontas, IA. I raise corn & beans on 275 acres and sweet corn & popcorn for myself. In 2002, my son-in-law and myself opened a liquor store in the Mall Of America. I spent my summers in Alaska, fishing and hunting. In 2004, I flew my float plane to Providenia, Russia. It was a real eye opener to see eastern Siberia. The countryside was very bleak. There were no trees and there were still snow banks on the 10th of August! The town and airfield looked like it was stuck in 1940. There were no new buildings, the runway was gravel and there were parts of old airplanes lying around the buildings. There was no aviation fuel and my weather brief was the same one I received in Nome that morning. It took 5 hours to get a clearance from Moscow to depart. They really don’t understand VFR flight plans. The weather was deteriating and I said I would go IFR. They said, “Nyet, you came VFR and you leave VFR.” When I finally got clearance, the ceiling was about 3000 feet. They gave me a clearance at 4000 feet (the minimum altitude allowed on a VFR clearance). As I was rolling down the runway, they said, “You remain clear of clouds.” I said “Roger” and continued my takeoff. I was really happy to arrive in Nome that evening! Bob Freese
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Dept. of the Interior U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Suite 100 Vancouver WA 98683 11 January 2007 RE: NW Airlines flight near Mount St. Helens on 18 May 1980 Dear Mr. Oliva, I’m near the end of writing a long documentary book on the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens told mainly through eyewitnesses. A recently emerged witness was a passenger on a Northwest Airlines DC-10 out of Seattle toward Dulles (Washington DC) when the Mount St. Helens eruption began and the pilot with permission diverted southward for a closer view. The witness’s story of the eruption is interesting but thin compared to others and lacks verification. The story might be verified and augmented were I to interview the pilot, co-pilot, or flight engineer on the flight deck at the time. A few years ago I needed to relocate a United Airlines pilot who’d seen the eruption from the air and whom I’d interviewed in 1980. A retired UA pilot friend placed a notice in the Retired United Pilots’ Assn. magazine. A couple of months later my 1980 witness resurfaced along with two others. Could such a notice be placed in [RNPA Contrails]. The idea is to locate at least one member of the flight crew of this SeaTac-Dulles flight at the start of the May 1980 eruption. By the way, Northwest Airlines would enter this book like United Airlines did. My telephone at the USGS in Vancouver WA is (360) 993-8947. Email is email@example.com. Respectfully, Richard Waitt Geologist
Roy Newton Editor We both have gone back to work. Roy selling real estate and developing property. Nancy running the office and keeping everything on track. We purchase large tracts of land and create infrastructure, i.e.: roads, water, sewer, and power. We rent large heavy equipment, i.e.: D8 bulldozers, Cat 730 (40 ton trucks), Cat 345 trackhoes, etc. I have hired John Thompson (retired pilot) to operate some of the equipment. I run the eight and the trackhoe. Well, we always were heavy equipment operators, i.e.: 747 and so on. Interesting to find out that you can run a eight or a trackhoe with the same touch that you would use flying the 747. Well, one probably uses more “seat of the pants” feel or should I say, “You better use the seat of your pants” or your pants will not be touching the seat. We are having fun, still living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with a small winter place in Arizona that is not being used much what with all of the work going on in Coeur d’Alene. Like to say a heart felt THANK YOU to all of the volunteers that work so hard to make RNPA an avenue for us to stay in touch. Anyone interested in purchasing real estate in the North Idaho area give me a call. Roy Newton
Brief update from the Ron Murdocks
George Williams My wife Arliss and I moved from Spokane, Washington to Waxhaw, North Carolina in 2002. Life is pretty slow in the deep south these days. We play a little golf and mostly visit kids and grandkids. They are scattered between Seattle and Manson, Washington to Boston, with a stop in Minneapolis. I work in a machine shop here at JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Service) making airplane parts for Helio Couriers, Cessna 206, Bell 206 and Robinson R44 helicopters. JAARS is the technical arm of the Wycliffe Bible Translators. This machine shop can be quite challenging. The only other thing I do is restoration of a ‘53 Cessna 170B. It should be up and flying sometime later this year. I do miss seeing everyone, but I guess that’s life. I talk to more US Air (maybe Delta or the other way around) pilots than anyone. If anyone is passing through Charlotte, North Carolina give me I call. I specialize in speaking southern lessons. Best Regards, George Williams
I’m hurriedly trying to get this into the mail so as to meet the next “Contrails” deadline, and of course the phone decides to come alive. Sorry, please bear with me. Our life changed dramatically after my son-in-law’s pharmaceutical company “hit a couple of home runs,” as they say in the business. Fortunately, we were allowed to buy into the company’s stock at a very early stage of development. As a result we’re able to flee from Whidbey Island’s short but gray winter to our hunting and fishing resort in Costa Rica. I’ve also been able to get some stick time in the Pharma Corporation’s Grumman-IV when enroute to or from their villa in Tuscany. *!#@* phone... Most importantly, my golf handicap has been reduced to a single digit thanks to an arduous month at St. Andrews. My entire body still aches. Spouse Bonnie, when not instructing at her art school, keeps very busy editing my next novel and funding her foundation for Exceptionally Gifted Grandchildren. She recently refused a request from Vanity Fair magazine to participate in an upcoming pictorial to be entitled “Stewardesses Over Sixty.” Not the damn phone again... wait!... that’s not the phone, it’s my alarm clock! Dreaming again! Must have over-dosed the melatonin. Regards to all, Ron and Bonnie Murdock P. S. More healthy than can be expected in an over-nourished, under-worked septuagenarian body. Bought a RV, enjoying ‘camping’ again and/or traveling with family, EGGc’s (see above), and friends. C-u-n Reno. Thanks to all involved for “Contrails;” what a fantastic publication we are privileged to enjoy.
• Caption Contest winners • The jury (meaning me) has decided. Your choices may be different. Thanks to all the contributors. FIRST PLACE “Mel Ott’s Garage Simulator” - Dick Nielson SECOND PLACE “The Cockpit set up for a Flight 7 with Bobby Lane” - Hank Castle THIRD PLACE “There’s No Place Like Home” - Allan Freed
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Gates vs. GM Those without computers will not see much humor in this, but those who have them surely will. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.” In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:” 1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash... Twice a day. 2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car. 3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this. 4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine. 5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive—but would run on only five percent of the roads. 6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light. 7. The airbag system would ask “Are you sure?” before deploying. 8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna. 9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. 10. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.
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John Vivian It’s been 4 years so I guess its time to give an update. Still living in MSP. The wife teaches full-time and has another business. I’ve been coaching high school football for 4 years. It’s a paid position; however, the pay is equivalent to a Narita turn. Play a lot of golf with fellow pilots in the area. We’ve taken quite a few trips including two to St. Andrews. I’m probably one of the oldest pilots with a kid still in high school. Fortunately he graduates this Spring. Kid did okay. Made All State in football and will play in the Ivy League for Cornell next Fall. (Mom’s genes). One of the reasons he picked Cornell over Air Force was because “they have more girls.” (Dad’s genes). If you pass through the cities give a call. John Vivian
Roger Albertson Hi Y’all, Or am I Texan enough to call you, “All Y’all”? We have been living on Lake Corpus Christi now for 18 years. It doesn’t seem possible—time does fly, even if we don’t. Our summers in Wisconsin, Novembers in Hawaii and time spent with our 3 sons, 1 daughter and 4 grandkids in MN/WI are the most exciting things in our life. Sunny and 70° as I sit on our 3 season porch (summer is the season too hot to sit here, so we go north). Our lake is down 10 feet, it seems to rain all around us, but not in our water shed area. I can’t even launch the boat. Oh well, more time for reading on the porch. We are in pretty good health. My back which caused early retirement is better, most of the time. Happy New Year to Y’all, Roger Albertson
John Pieper Dear Dino, Just a note to give you an update on how things are going. Julie continues to recover from her spinal cord injury that left her partially paralyzed. She has been going to physical therapy three times per week for the last year. Although she is not walking yet, she has the determination and positive attitude that keeps her going. She has been an inspiration to all those whose lives she touches. I have been busy caring for her and have been doing well except for some arthritis and shoulder pain to cope with. All and all, life is good and we have been blessed. Best wishes for the new year. Sincerely, John Pieper
Dave Jagt Dino, the ‘Garys’ and all, It has been nearly fourteen years since I retired and the first time that I have taken the opportunity to write to Contrails except to pay my annual dues. Carmen finally browbeat me into including a note with the check. The only thing better than flying for a living has been being retired for a living. The last fourteen years have been the best fourteen years of our lives. Life is good beyond measure. Beginning shortly after retiring in June 1993 I started going on Work and Witness trips with our church here in Winter Haven, Florida. For the most part we went out and built churches or church buildings or repaired what was already there. Since about 1999, rather than working on buildings, I have been delivering Jesus Film equipment (about one hundred fifty pounds of projector, generator, amplifier, screen, wiring, etc.) to wherever it is needed. I have been on trips that have taken me to Haiti, the Philippines, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, Trinidad, Argentina, Chili, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, Nepal, Singapore, Japan, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and others. Most of that travel has been mission trips but a few of the places were side trips after the work was done. The Solomon Islands are shaping up as the next possible destination. It really takes at least two people to get enough baggage allowance to carry all the projection equipment plus a bit of personal gear when we go on the JF trips. I enjoyed very much traveling with my sister on one of the southern Africa trips, with a brother on another African trip and with a grandson to Peru. Carmen is really too busy here at home to go with me and isn’t real taken with the sort of places that I go in any case, but we do manage a bit of travel together also.
got stories? Stan Baumwald handed me this photo at the Southwest Florida Luncheon in late March. He thinks, and I agree, that we should beat the bushes to see if we can scare up some of the great stories that were generated at the Shemya station before we’re all too old to remember any of them. It would be great if you could take the time to send any and all that you may be harboring—by mail or email—to the Editor.
We are both healthy and are enjoying life more than we could ever have imagined. As long as our health continues to be as good as it has been, our desire to be of service remains —well, desirable, and NWA keeps sending us a check each month we hope to keep on doing just what we have been doing. Thank you very much for all the time and effort that you expend on our behalf. Contrails continues to be a “must read” whenever it appears and has been getting better and better as retirement goes on. Thanks again, Dave Jagt
Steve White Still healthy and happy in our adobe house on Beautiful Whidbey Island. (Just turned 65.) Rode the bike down to Key West last year, then later in the year down to Georgia for a BMW ralley. Visited Jack & Joanne Heidman in Niceville, Florida, and Joe and Roz Maricelli in
Merryville, Louisiana. Both Pleasant Places! We’re going to Viet Nam March 15 with members of my USMC Squadron. No shooting this time. We’re now into building schools and a clinic. Hackers are coming along as well, their 2nd trip. Will go again to South Africa in July, and to the Okovango Delta. This arranged by our SAA (ret.) friend who we do ‘bike swaps’ with. I see some of the retired guys at our monthly Lunch meetings in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Bill Day is our “encourager.” No.1 son and his wife are both pilots for Southwest, and lovin’ it. MDW, so they’re in a condo downtown, on State Street. No. 2 son and wife are both Special Ed. teachers in Sitka, so that’s where I go fishin’. 123# Halibut last fall, scared me! They will present us with our first grandchild in September. Look us up in Clinton, Washington. We’re easy to find, as we have been here since ‘71. Stay healthy. Best Regards, Steve & Wanda White RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
John Wood asks NWA ALPA how things are going these days
Hi Gary, I recently contacted Will Holman at ALPA Council #1 to find out what it’s like to be flying the line at NWA today. He asked Dan Vician, from the Negotiating Committee, to reply to my questions. Here are Dan’s responses: John Wood What crew bases exist and are rumored? MSP; DTW; MEM (320/DC9 ONLY); SEA (330 ONLY); ANC (747-200F ONLY). 330 is in DTW and will be coming to MSP this fall. NWA has not determined if the 787, due to arrive in 2008, will go to DTW or MSP or both. DC-10s all sold off earlier in 2007. There may be one 747 passenger made avail for military charters; no -200 passenger planes currently being used. Which groups are affected and how by the proposed pension freeze? What is or can be done to compensate them and/or make if fairer? All pilots are affected, but in different ways. The “old” Defined Benefit (DB) plan is “Frozen” and in arrears regarding funding; however the legislation allows for a longer period of time for NWA to “fill up” the required funding. Whatever a pilot was due at the time of freeze will be his at time of retirement. No further money is going in (other than what is owed) but pilot are sill accruing on the 25/25 years of service fraction. The alternative was “Terminating” the DB, which would have eliminated any further funding requirement from NWA and passing the torch to the government PBGC. Since PBGC payouts are far inferior to what the original DB plan contemplated, terminating would have been a significant reduction in retirement pay. Particularly affected would have been senior pilots who would have received the PBGC level vs. what was anticipated in the old DC Plan prior to bankruptcy, AND also lower that obtained via the Freezing. Without the legislation, NWA was going to terminate. The “replacement” retirement plan is the Defined Contribution (DC) plan which is essentially a 401K (but I’m not an R&I guy). Currently, all pilots are getting a 5% contribution. Soon after exiting bankruptcy, the DC contributions will be “targeted” toward junior pilots for the duration of the existing contract (through 2011). This will result in senior not getting much, if anything, while junior will be getting more than the existing 5% so as to have an opportunity to get an initial “build up.” “Targeting” is relatively controversial from some segments of the seniority list, or more accurately, indi-
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viduals within the senior and junior pilot group, however, the effort by the MEC is to assure that all current NWA pilots will get at least a 50% equivalent FAE (after 25 years) rather than the 60% FAE program that was in place. Also true is that the 50% “new” program is based upon rates of pay that are 40% less than what they were just a few short years ago. Under this targeting plan, despite not getting any DC, senior pilots will be above the desired minimum 50% FAE. So, it is easy to see that a major negative change has occurred in retirement. What is the make up of ALPA today, relative to red, green and blue book membership? I don’t have a reference, but clearly the majority of working pilots are blue. All colors are represented on the current MEC. What red/green issues remain and how much longer for the fences? There is an issue or two being raised by the Red Book committee; however there currently is no Green Book committee as issues were supposed to “end with the end of Roberts. The existing issues being raised have been bumped to National, with National trying to force resolution back at the NWA level. But like R&I, I’m not involved with the on-going situation. Tom Anderson is still the Red Book guy; you can contact him if you wish for particulars. What are you anticipating will happen with the age 60 issue? We’re hearing it will probably be implemented the first half of this year? Have there been any issues or problems with the other (foreign) carriers who allow their pilots to fly beyond age 60? The NWA MEC, at this month’s Regular MEC meeting, passed the following resolution: NWA MEC RESOLUTION #07-7 [Rather than take up space with the typically wordy resolution, we can summarize by quoting a single line: “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the NWA MEC opposes any change to the Mandatory Retirement Age 60 Rule in the interest of public safety, and...” ~Editor] Beyond the NWA resolution, what I understand is that the current effort, pushed by the FAA this time, any change would take up to two years from now before going into affect and would not have any grandfathering or look-back. Continued >
What about call-back rumors? Not certain what you mean by “call-back” but if it has to do with age 60, as indicated above, advance information is that as currently offered, and if a change actually did occur, it would only be a forward impacting change from the date of change. And, what are the options like for troops on the streets, with other carriers? Are Emirates and JAL viable opportunities for them today? Several NWA pilots have left for example, early retirement, to other carriers. Korean seems to be hiring. I don’t believe however that there is anything like an “exodus,” but don’t have any numbers. How is the hotel situation? International has not been affected as much, but domestic sucks. Essentially what is being done domestically as contracts expire is that whatever hotel was already being used as the short layover hotel also becomes the long layover hotel. That’s a general statement but gives you an idea. Hotel language, which was always bad, got worse. Enjoy retirement! Dan Vician Negotiating Committee
Dave Wooden Hi to All, 2006 was a good year for our family. My wife, Karen, is still cancer free after being told she had two to three months to live in November 2004. We have been able to travel in our motor home to most of the states and enjoy seeing many of our friends who have retired to all points of the compass. Northwest Airlines was nice enough to spend a lot of money training my son in his job but cut his
pay to the point for food stamps. But the training got him a great new job with ten-fold pay. Another Northwest first! Thanks NWA. For myself life has been very good. Have been fishing, hunting and lots of time to work on my toys, cars, boats, tractors, etc. Right now my wife an I are enjoying Florida and the warm sunshine. On a sad note, I lost my closest friend at NWA, Tom Finnelly. I met Tom the day we started ground school at the old GOA on University Ave. After the first day of ground school Tom asked me to his home for supper. On the way to his house he asked if I could loan him 25 cents, which I did. He pulled into a gas station and got one gallon. The message here is we were not over-paid. I was lucky my wife worked at that time. Being close in seniority, Tom and I traded trips to get off for important days with our families. We had many family get-togethers and many flights in Tom’s airplane. We bought a light airplane together. It needed recovering, so Lee Fairbrother said to bring it out to his airport and house and he would help us. The airplane was parked at Southport and before we got to move it a tornado came by and it left without a pilot. When we found it, I didn’t know an airplane could break in that many little pieces. Lucky for us it was in a cornfield. For all of you that knew Tom I don’t think you could find a nicer, happier-go-lucky person. We bid every airplane we could. We went to ground school together. Studied for all the tests and check-outs. Stood picket duty together. From hauling the Lakers in a DC-3 to the first class in the 400 it was Tom’s face that I would see. I will miss him a lot. Blue side up! Dave Wooden
Barry Long Dino, Found this bill under 3 inches of Christmas cards. Here in Honolulu I golf with Pete Peterson, Ken Linville, Bob Wolf and other duffers. Linville says the only person he knows that has legs skinnier than mine is Jim Fletcher. I related that when I saw Fletcher at the world famous “Bill Dean & bud Ludwigson Invitational Golf Tournament” this summer in Yakima, Washington, and from the far side of the putting green I thought he was riding a chicken. Anyway, Gill Baker and his wife Jenny came through Oahu on their way back to the mainland and I picked them up tonight for a Thai dinner and wine. Good seeing them, and the conversation turned to Contrails and how great it is to “visit” from the letters and stories in your very professional publication. Thanks for all the effort you guys put into Contrails and the directory. It’s great seeing the photos of friends and reprobates that I haven’t seen for a decade or more and reading what they are doing. Faye DeShazo asked me if I had seen “Contrails.” I said the last time I saw a RNPA publication it was like a mimeographed, blurry sheet. She said I better join and I would be amazed... I am. Thanks again, Barry Long
keep those letters coming! RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
The Root Cellar
Contributing Columnist Bob Root
Not all pilots are golfers. Even if you are a non-golfing pilot, you may find something of interest below. Or not. I went golfing the other day, something I have been doing since age 14. Tomorrow, I become age 68. One would think in 54 years (pilots are good at math), a person could learn a great deal about golf. One would be correct. The fact is that I know so much about golf I could easily pass the oral exam just prior to the six-month check professional golfers are not required to perform to keep their tour card. This thought surprisingly entered my mind as I stood contemplating my second shot on the par-four 10th hole at Desert Springs Golf Club in Surprise, Arizona. I had, to this point, a nice round going. A par would result in a score of 78, which, in golfing terms, means I would “break eighty.” Even if I scored five on the hole, I would still break eighty, something I rarely manage these days. And so it was that I stood over my ball, approximately 130 yards from the green when what remains of my brain went to work. The only way to mess up this round and not break eighty is to hit this ball into that lake. I will not hit this ball in that lake! I can hit it in the bunkers, I can miss the green, but I will not hit this ball into that lake! Unfortunately, at this point the thought of passing an oral exam for golfers entered and I recalled the good-old oral question for pilots
regarding “continuation of approach.” Some readers may recall sitting in a little room undergoing the oral exam which, for captains, came every six months and for others once per year, and being asked by the check pilot: “What are the Federal Air Regulation requirements to descend below decision height or minimum descent altitude during an instrument approach?” Of course, we all answered: “(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and where that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing; (2) The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach procedure being used; (3) Except for Category II or Category III approaches where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by authorization of the Administrator, at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot;
(i) The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable. (ii) The threshold. (iii) The threshold markings. (iv) The threshold lights. (v) The runway end identifier lights. (vi) The visual approach slope indicator. (vii) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings. (viii) The touchdown zone lights. (ix) The runway or runway markings. (x) The runway lights; and. . .” Like many readers, perhaps most, I made a considerable number of approaches to minimums during my time in cockpits. And, of course, like all the others, I mentally checked off each and every one of these requirements before landing the airplane, despite the fact that it was bouncing in a crosswind, the weather was wet, snowy or foggy, the speed over the ground was near 150 miles-per-hour and the copilot was chanting, “I’m not scared, I’m not scared...” during the entire time spent below decision height. I suspect that some might now be wondering how this relates to my presence on the 10th hole contemplating my second shot. Perhaps I should explain. Federal Golf Regulations state that, in order to avoid hitting one’s ball into a lake on the left of the fairway, a right-handed golfer must:
“(i) Ensure no other golfers are within range of the trajectory of the intended flight of the ball. (ii) Take an ‘open’ stance, meaning the left foot is placed farther away from the ball than the right as measured from a line approximating the intended flight of the ball. (iii) Weaken the grip, meaning rotate the hands in a counter-clockwise position relative to normal and before gripping the club. (iv) Slightly flex the knees and keep them flexed during the entire swing. (v) Place one’s weight gently on the balls of one’s feet while maintaining both heels on the ground. (vi) Hold the club with an ‘overlapping,’ ‘interlocked,’ or ‘baseball’ grip utilizing pressure on the shaft only with the ‘pinky’ and ring fingers of the left hand and the ring and middle fingers of the right. (vii) Straighten the left elbow and keep it straight during the execution of the entire swing. (viii) Keep one’s head completely immobile, inert, or still in both the fore-and-aft and upand-down planes during execution of the swing. (ix) Keep the eyes riveted on the ball during execution of the entire swing. (x) Aim WAY right!, and...” Of course, there is a big advantage for a golfer over a pilot when applying these regulations. I was not being buffeted, I was not traveling at approximately 150 miles-per-hour and my fellow golfers were not chanting, “I’m not scared, I’m not scared...” over and over. I carry in my golf bag a special weapon used to retrieve golf balls from water. Mine needs a new grip. Ever wonder if Tiger could pass an oral? T RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
By Skip Foster
arly in December of last year, my wife Kathy and I traveled to Honolulu with my father-in-law, Tim Fitzgerald, a U.S. Navy Pearl Harbor Survivor, for the 65th Anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Tim was also accompanied by his companion, Marge Shanholtzer, of Bozeman, Montana, and his granddaughter, Thresa Pattee, of Portland, Oregon. This would be, as it turned out, the final return of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA) to Hawaii. Of the estimated 4000-6000 current survivors, approximately 450 would be at the December 7, 2006 Memorial Service. Most of the survivors are now in their 80’s and 90’s, and travel becomes increasingly difficult for them.
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Tim Fitzgerald on Guadalcanal, 1943, with a picture of his new bride, Mildred, on the desk
Looks to me like the sailors on the sub are taking cover and returning fire at the lone Japanese aircraft
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ We registered for the Convention on Monday, December 4, 2006 at the Convention Hotel, the Ala Moana, a familiar place for most of us. It appeared that family members outnumbered the survivors by about a 4 to 1 margin. In the afternoon, we visited the Arizona Memorial (dedicated in 1962 and maintained by the National Park Service). Tim and another survivor were on the Navy shuttle boat taking visitors out to the Arizona Memorial, and all of the Navy personnel saluted Tim and his comrade as they boarded the shuttle. Once we arrived at the Arizona Memorial boarding pier, the Park Service had the two survivors depart first, and all of the other passengers gave them a standing ovation. When we reached the Arizona Memorial, it seemed that everyone wanted to shake their hands, get their autographs, pose for pictures, and thank them for their service. It was quite an afternoon for both Tim and his fellow survivor.
Tim enlisted in the Navy in 1935 in New London, Connecticut and was assigned to the Medical Corps, mostly on the East Coast until 1939 when he was reassigned to the Oakland Naval Hospital. He shipped out to Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1941, arriving in Pearl Harbor early in November, and was stationed up above Ford Island in Aiea Heights, near the current location of Camp Smith USMC base. He was helping to set up a Navy Mobile Hospital, and had just come out of the mess tent after breakfast on the morning of December 7, 1941 to have a cigarette when the first wave of Japanese planes began their attack. At first, he thought the Navy was dropping practice bombs on Ford Island, but it soon became clear to him that this was “no drill.” The Japanese dive bombers were trying to destroy the Navy PBY’s or Catalina Flying Boats (long range reconnaissance amphibians that could also carry bombs, torpedoes, depth charges, RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
5Tim & Marge on the Arizona Memorial
5Tom Brokaw and Tim discussing antelope hunting in Montana
Marge and Tim on the USS Missouri
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ and .50 caliber machine guns) on Ford Island, and the airplanes parked over on Hickam Army Airfield. Part of the first wave also attacked the fighter base at Wheeler Army Airfield, the largest concentration of U.S. fighters on the island. Tim saw the Arizona blow up. He said it was there one minute, and then the superstructure was gone. A large armor piercing bomb detonated the forward ammunition magazine, 1177 sailors were killed, and 1102 of them were entombed that day. Of the 334 men that survived the attack on the Arizona, only 34 can be accounted for now, and 9 of them were at the Memorial Service. Tim’s mobile hospital took care of approximately 160 sailors that night. Most of them had been blown off, or jumped off their ships and were suffering from oil and salt water ingestion. Tim said they all survived and were later transferred to the Naval Hospital, San Francisco,
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in early 1942. Tim shipped back to the Naval Receiving Station, San Francisco, and helped care for the sick and wounded on the trip back to the west coast. Tim stayed in San Francisco at the Naval Receiving Station for 6-8 months in 1942 helping to process some 20,000 new recruits for the Navy. He met his future wife, Mildred, a Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, girl through a friend whose wife was a cousin of Mildreds. They were married in San Francisco in May of 1942, and in September, Tim received classified orders to proceed to “Acorn Red One” which as it turned out was Guadalcanal, one of the hardest fought battles of WW II. Tim helped set up a 200-bed ship hospital and then a field hospital once the island was somewhat secured. He spent 7 months there, then to Auckland, New Zealand, and helped set up a
Sailors trying to reposition a damaged PBY on Ford Island
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ mobile hospital on a race track there. He transferred back to the states via PBY to Pearl Harbor, then by ship to Seattle, and finally by train to the Oakland Naval District. He remained there until the war’s end and was promoted to Warrant Officer. Tim retired from the Navy in 1958 as a Chief Warrant Officer 2. He moved his family to Bozeman, Montana, where he could hunt and fish and send his son, Tim Jr., and daughter, Kathy, to Montana State University. Monday evening we attended a Polynesian dinner and review next to the Ala Moana. Ironically, half of the audience was made up of a Japanese school tour group, mostly middle-school to high school age, and the other half, Pearl Harbor Survivors and their families. No doubt some of the Japanese students had relatives who were participants in the attack on Decem-
ber 7th. The students were most polite and respectful, but I’m sure they were wondering what all those old guys in the white hats were doing in Hawaii. Tuesday morning we toured the USS Missouri, now anchored at Ford Island just behind the Arizona Memorial. We arrived there early, 0900, before the big rush started. (If you have a military ID, you can drive onto Ford Island rather than take a shuttle bus.) They have various tours available, and we opted for the guided tour that just hit the highlights without too much climbing and ducking through passageways, but you can also get the full tour of the engine rooms, etc. if you’re interested and agile enough. Our tour guide was great, his dad had also served in the Navy in the Pacific during WW II, and he got a little “choked up” talking with Tim about the war. He RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
USS Russell, guided missile destroyer, passes in review and renders honors to the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor survivors (Note the Arizona flag upper right)
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ had some interesting stories about the battle history of the Missouri; she saw active duty in the first Gulf War, as well as in the Pacific and Korea. Our guide showed us the “surrender deck”, where the Japanese signed the unconditional surrender documents on September 2, 1945, officially ending WW II. He said General MacArthur and Admirals Nimitz and Halsey made the Japanese delegation wait in the hot sun for about 30 minutes before the U.S. delegation showed up. Apparently, Admiral Halsey was still a bit distrustful of the Japanese, and had all his sailors at “battle stations” on the Missouri, as well as the 200 ships in and around Tokyo Bay with their guns trained on the Imperial Palace! The 800-plus ship flyover by US and Allied planes were in a fully armed status, and all the bombers had their bomb bay doors open!
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Wednesday we took the day off and played golf at the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station. It’s now the Barber’s Point Coast Guard Station, and they fly HC130’s and HH-65A helicopters from the former NAS facilities. The golf course is still in good shape and the rental clubs were first class. Unfortunately, our game wasn’t in either category, but we had fun. Tim drove the cart for Marge, and the girls and I made up the foursome. After the golf game, Kathy and Thresa did some power shopping downtown, and the rest of us headed back to our timeshare for a nap. Thursday December 7, 2006, dawned cool and overcast with a slight drizzle on Kilo Pier at Pearl Harbor Naval Base. We arrived early and were able to get excellent seats front and center in the third row for the Memorial Service. More than 4000 people, including about
5Tim, myself, Marge, Kathy Foster and Thresa at the PHSA banquet
Tim, myself (seated), chats with one of 4 the nine Arizona survivors present at the convention. The gentleman in the foreground is an Arizona survivor as well. Top right: Tim talking with Admiral and Mrs. Roughead, Commander, Pacific Fleet
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ 450 survivors were in attendance. Since we were early, we were able to talk with some of the folks nearby. Tim recognized one of the “Arizona” survivors and had a chat with him. I believe he’s from Tucson, but I didn’t get his name. The media was present in force, both print and TV journalists, also many photographers were there early too. I noticed there were three gentlemen in the front row all wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH), so I sent Kathy up to investigate—she’s better at that than I am. It turns out that one of the CMH recipients was from Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and flew F-105’s in Vietnam; Leo Thorsness. He introduced me to Tom Hudner, a Naval Aviator, who won the CMH at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. The third CMH winner was also a Naval Aviator, John Finn, who received the medal for his actions at Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Terri-
tory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941. That will sure give you a lump in your throat and the chills; at least it did for me. The Commemoration began with a Hawaiian Blessing and a welcome from the National Park Service’s Douglas Lentz, Superintendent of the USS Arizona Memorial. Then the USS Russell, a guided missile destroyer passed in review rendering honors to the USS Arizona Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Survivors. It was followed by a moment of silence at 0750, and then the Hawaiian Air Guard performed the missing man formation in F-15’s. Various distinguished speakers honored the survivors: Dr. Ronald Sugar, National Chairman, Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund, Admiral Roughead, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, The Honorable RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Bottom right: Hawaiian blessing delivered by the Rev. Kahu Kamaki Kanahele Marge, Tim, Kathy Foster and Thresa Pattee in front of one of the anchors recovered from the Arizona 4 Tim and Kathy at Pearl Harbor Naval Base December 7th 6
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ Linda Lingle, Governor of Hawaii, and the keynote speaker, Tom Brokaw, former Anchor and Managing Editor of NBC Nightly News and the author of “The Greatest Generation.” Mr. Brokaw thanked the survivors for their service to the Nation and the sacrifices they made as well as those who served after them, and those that continue to serve today. He reminded all of us to always support our Americans in uniform, “You may hate the war, but you must honor the warrior.” At the conclusion of his speech, wreaths were laid in honor of the ships and survivors of Pearl Harbor. A survivor from each ship laid a wreath in remembrance of fallen comrades. The ceremony concluded with a Marine rifle team salute and the playing of Echo Taps. Not many dry eyes were in evidence at the end of the service.
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Thursday evening we attended a banquet at the Honolulu Convention Center, but in truth it was pretty anti-climatic after the morning ceremony. Also, most of the survivors were pretty tired after the full day and their families were feeling about the same. We skipped most of the speeches after dinner and headed back to our beds. Friday was a day of rest, and Saturday, we took the all-nighter back to the mainland. We arrived home tired but fulfilled, it was an emotional week for all of us, but mostly for Tim, he turned 90 on December 27, 2006. Daniel Martinez, the Historian for the USS Arizona Memorial tells us that: Pearl Harbor was just the beginning—the climax of ending the war was years away. By May of 1945, the war had ended in Europe, while the Pacific War raged on with ferocity. On a
Attack on Pearl Harbor and Ford Island
ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ spring night, May 8, 1945, CBS radio broadcast a program that electrified the nation as Norman Corwin delivered his reflections on peace and freedom to commemorate the war ending in Europe. Nearly 60 million people listened in awe and admiration. The program lasted 58 minutes but its memory is timeless. As we look back to the “greatest generation,” his works give us meaning of how these Americans, with their allies, eventually brought WWII to an end. That night, Corwin, in his program “A Note on Triumph” left us with memorable passages but perhaps this one gives that salute to those who served on the battlefield and at home:
“Take a bow GI, take a bow little guy. The superman of tomorrow lies at the feet of you common men. This is it, kids. This is the day… all the way from Newbury Port to Vladivostok. You had what it took and you gave it... and each of you has a hunk of rainbow around your helmet. Seems like free men have done it again!” T Some useful websites: • http://www.pearlharborstories.org (PHSA) • http://www.ussmissouri.com (info) • http://www.pacificaviationmuseum.org (Ford Island Aviation Museum) • http://www.cmohs.org (CMH winners) • http://www.armymwrhawaii.com (Morale,Welfare and Recreation site for current and former Military with ID card for discounted tickets) RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
nce again, careful planning by the Schladers and the beautiful setting of the Colony Club made for a highly successful Spring Luncheon for the hundred and seventeen in attendance.
he food was excellent, the company was great and the weather was perfect. Hard to get much better than that.
Colony Golf & Bay Club Pelican Landing Bonita Springs, Florida 21 March 2007
ext yearâ€™s luncheon will be hosted by Dino and Karen Oliva in Sarasota.
s usual, there isnâ€™t enough space for photos of everyone.
t Florida Spring Luncheon
Julie & Roger Moberg, Bob Blade
THE HOSTS Doni Jo & Dick Schlader
Verna Finneseth, Connie Thompson, Lois Haglund
Catherine Kazwell, Keith Finneseth, Dick Turner, Dale Nadon
Steve Towle, Karen Oliva, Catherine Kazwell, Keith Finneseth, Dale Nadon RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Ned & Ellen Stephens
George Handel, Terry & Carol Benham
Hans Waldenstrom, Roger Moberg
George & Bobbi Lachinski
Ken LeBon, Dick Hauff
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A brief few hours never seems like enough time to complete all the conversations or to at least greet old friends.
Martha Kohlbrand, Donna Dolny
Steve Towle, Bob Bromschwig, Keith Finneseth
Dino Oliva, Stan & Amy Baumwald, Bill Waterbury
Bill & Katie Lund
The airplane shirts! Joe Baron, Dick Carl, Bob Lowenthal RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Front: Marty Ginzi, Joan Downes, Rose Anne Erickson-Odette, Back: Arlene Kallio, Candy Badger, Doni Jo Schlader, Connie Thompson, Roxi Klemish
John Scholl accepting his prize from Doni Jo Schlader for being the oldest member present
Dick Haglund, Doni Jo Schlader, Lois Haglund
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Staff Photographer (title only, thereâ€™s no pay) Dick Carl, right, explains his new flash diffuser to Joe Baron
Candy & John Badger
Tim Olson (also won a prize as the youngest member present), Gary Ferguson
Bob & Sue Horning John & Claire Lackey
John Wood, Keith Finneseth
Jim & Norma Driver
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It must have been an interesting conversation. Chris Hanks, Don Hunt Bob & Kathy Lowenthal
Dick & Evie Turner
Wayne & Rita Ward
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Donna Carl, Ellen Stephens
Chris Hanks, Hans Waldenstrom, Bob Blade, Wendell Hurst, Bill Green, Mike Lubratovich
Photography: Dick Carl, Gary Ferguson
Suzy & Bruce Armstrong, Dino Oliva, Gary Ferguson, Karen Oliva
Julie Moberg, Mary Waldenstrom
Dino & Karen Oliva, Bob Bromschwig, Standing: Romelle Lemley, Stan Baumwald RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
ho has not been fascinated by the movies A Passage to India or The Jewel in the Crown?
Maybe you were enchanted with the beautiful poetry of Rudyard Kipling, or you read his children’s literature, such as The Jungle Book or Just So Stories, as a youth.
Through these works we were acquainted with India during the Raj, when Imperial Great Britain ruled this vast subcontinent in the era of Queen Victoria. There were images of crisp white linen clothing, pith helmets, private gentlemen’s clubs, Indian houseboys and exotic jungle animals. But, there was also Indian unrest and rebellion as they chafed against British rule. We learned of the physical dangers of living in the jungle; of virulent diseases, snake bites, lion attacks and stampeding elephants. While talking with Stephanie Dodge last week I learned that much of her family’s experiences paralleled the history of Great Britain’s influence in India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a historian, these tales intrigued me. But, there is much more to Stephanie than an engaging pedigree. She is an accomplished painter and an athlete. She volunteers as a docent at Phoenix’s Heard Museum of the America Indian and is an international traveler as well as a loving and supportive wife, mother and grandmother. I was fortunate to spend a morning with Stephanie at her lovely home southwest of Phoenix. It was a beautiful day on the desert and we settled comfortably into her generous patio furniture adorned with bright colored shag pillows she had purchased in bulk from a craftsperson in Oaxaca, Mexico. A crisp fresh salad and a refreshing glass of iced tea accompanied our conversation. Stephanie’s garden faces west, over a golf course and towards the Estrellas mountain chain not far in the distance. Evenings bring on fantastic sunsets of hued streaks of red radiating through accumulate
Stephanie with her painting Sioux Battle Scene
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dust in the desert sky as the sun slips silently behind the mountains. The focal point of the garden is a pool surrounded by desert xeriscape plants. There is sufficient shade on her patio to provide respite from the hot desert sun. Her cat, Alley Oop, appeared on the Dodge’s doorstep years ago and is living out her senior years in desert tranquility. She rolls in the desert caliche soil while Gamble’s quail peck at the earth below the bird feeders. Cat and birds have come to an understanding and Alley Oop leaves the birds alone in their quest for nourishment, readily available in the Dodge’s garden. Our conversation wanders over the particulars of Stephanie’s life. I learn that she met Pete Dodge in Canada in 1967 when both were attendants at the wedding of friends. Pete’s friend, the groom, was a Navy squadron mate who had been badly burned when his plane was shot down in Vietnam. Stephanie was a bridesmaid to her friend. Stephanie and Pete were captured in a picture as they walked back down the isle together at the end of the ceremony. One year later, September 21, 1968, again a picture shows them again walking down the isle of a church following their own wedding ceremony. I have known Stephanie since 1968 when Pete and my husband Dick were in the same Northwest pilot training class, both having been pilots in the
The Shell Seekers, Stephanie’s watercolor of Pete and granddaughter Talia Navy. They shared the experience and frustration of being furloughed from Northwest in July of 1970, within months of completing their probationary year. Both returned to military active duty as pilots in the Navy. For Stephanie it was her introduction to being a military wife. After returning to Northwest, Pete put his energy and talents to use with Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and in 1985 was elected Master Executive Council Chairman of the Minneapolis council. After Dick completed his Navy reserve duties and retired from the Navy, it was with Pete Dodge’s encouragement that he volunteered his service also to ALPA. Thus, over the years I had seen Stephanie at many ALPA functions, although it is difficult to
Pete and Stephanie with granddaughters Emma (L) and Ali
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The Dodges at the Taj Mahal, regarded as the eighth wonder of the world
get to know someone well while balancing a plate of hors d’oeuvres in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. We played doubles tennis with Stephanie and Pete years ago at The Pointe Resort in Phoenix while attending an ALPA Meeting. Stephanie is a skilled tennis player having taken up the game when she was thirty. She played competitive club team tennis for sixteen years in the Twin Cities, and was at the top of her game when we played at The Pointe. Six years ago Stephanie took up golf and plays at least once a week with practice sessions at the driving range in between. I have no doubt, with her natural athletic abilities, that she is good at it. Pete’s love of golf and his abilities are legendary. In 1993 Stephanie trained as a Docent at the Heard Museum of the American Indian. She has led a minimum of thirty tours of the museum a year since becoming a docent. Each year she chairs a booth at the Heard’s annual Indian Market and has traveled to Mexico with the Museum Guild. Stephanie is an artist of remarkable talent. Her paintings decorate the walls of the Dodge home. But, to place her painting into an all encompassing genre would be difficult, although watercolors prevail. She continues to improve her techniques and skills by attending class each week where she experiments with new artistic techniques. A couple of watercolors seem to be favorites of hers. Both are beach scenes; with Stephanie and her granddaughter Talia in one, and Pete and Talia gathering shells on the beach in the other. Both capture
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an effective low sun angle. Her easel, which stands in the kitchen, holds her works in progress, the top painting being of an Italian villa scene. A wall in a hall is decorated with a painting of a Mexican market done by Stephanie. To one side of the market stall in the painting, a red rug is displayed. Stephanie purchased the rug from the merchant and it covers the floor directly under the painting, making an attractive pairing. The most striking of Stephanie’s paintings, a Sioux Battle Scene, done in acrylics and bright primary colors, hangs on a large, prominent wall in the great room of their home. It is the focal point for the room. With her knowledge of Indian art, Stephanie stuck to a two dimensional style for the painting. It is typical for Sioux Battle Scenes to have the print of a hand dipped in blood within the painting. Stephanie adhered to this tradition and a red handprint, her own, dipped in red paint, is prominent on the haunch of a white horse in her painting. Because of its large size, six by seven feet, the painting had to be hung back on the wall when not being worked on for its protection and to keep it out of the way of kitchen activities. The Dodges two daughters; Tiffany and Tricia continue to live in Minnesota. Between them they have provided Stephanie and Pete with two sons-inlaw and three granddaughters. Tiffany, trained as an archeologist, spent time on a Kibbutz in Israel practicing her craft. As the mother of seven year old Talia, she now lives in the Minneapolis area and works part
time for Mesaba Airlines. Tricia is a physical therapist in the Twin Cities and the mother of three year old Ali and eleven month old Emma. Out of a desire to be closer to their family, Stephanie and Pete bought a condo in downtown Minneapolis a few years ago. They spend part of each year in their urban home. When in Minneapolis, Stephanie enjoys city life where shopping, dining and cultural venues are within easy walking distance. Pete has become adept at hauling his golf clubs on the bus out to the suburbs to join friends in a round of golf. Stephanie’s family history and genealogy fascinated me and could be the subject of an article unto itself. What follows is simply a brief outline without great detail. Stephanie’s great-grandmother, at the age of thirteen, left Ireland in the 1850s, traveling by ship with an aunt and an older sister to Australia. While at sea the aunt and sister came down with smallpox. The ship had to put into the port of Aden on the Arabian Sea where it was quarantined and where the two traveling companions succumbed to the disease. They left behind a young girl far from home and family. In Aden she married an older man, a hydroelectric engineer and they made their way to India. On a job site one day Stephanie’s great-grandfather was bitten by a King Cobra snake. His companions, knowing there was little they could do for him, propped him against a tree, put a cigarette in his mouth and waited with him while he died. Tragedy continued into the next generation as Stephanie’s grandparents also met with untimely,
early deaths. Her grandmother, when Stephanie’s mother was but an infant, died during the influenza outbreak of 1917. Two years later, Stephanie’s grandfather died of smallpox leaving his three year old daughter an orphan. Stephanie’s mother was raised by her grandmother until her death. At the age of five she was sent to a boarding school. Stephanie’s father and mother met on a beach in Marseille, France. As a British RAF pilot, they moved frequently. Stephanie was born in Karachi in the south of Pakistan on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan, at the time, was a part of India and under British rule. Stephanie left Karachi at eighteen months when her father was reassigned to Ireland. From Ireland he returned to Peshawar in Pakistan at the entrance to the Khyber Pass. India had just gained its independence from Great Britain, and under continuing British influence was partitioned into two separate political entities; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the secular state of India. Riots and mass migrations incited massive blood baths in the area and made it unsafe to bring his family to Pakistan initially. They remained in Ireland until 1948 when Stephanie’s father felt it safe enough for the family to return to Pakistan. Stephanie lived in Peshawar from the age of six to nine. From Pakistan, her family moved to Ireland, England and Canada. After leaving the RAF, Stephanie’s father flew for Air Lingus, and then was hired by Orient Airways where he was Chief Pilot. Orient Airways became Air Pakistan. The seeds of adventure were firmly planted by three generations of Stephanie’s family. She has enjoyed international travel both for personal pleasure and as part of Pete’s roles with ALPA and International ALPA. She and Pete have returned to India and shortly before our time together Pete and Stephanie had returned from a trip to Argentina. Most every year they travel to Italy, a favorite of Pete’s. Stephanie keeps the family legacy of adventure and travel alive. T
Stephanie’s watercolor of herself on the beach with granddaughter Talia
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By Bob Peasley
t’s almost 8AM and I’m driving off to Faribault to meet the guys on the “planning commission” for coffee. It’s a beautiful day to fly my 1946 Aeronca 7AC Champ—hangered at the nearby Faribault Airport—after coffee. Little do I know the Champ is about to be grounded for nearly a month. Right now I’m thinking about my birthday tomorrow, September 12, 2001 and that it means I’ll be forced to retire in exactly 3 years at age 60. The folks in Washington, DC have decided on that day I will become unsafe to fly a 757 for Northwest Airlines despite the fact that I passed my first class physical just 3 months ago, just as I passed my last annual recurrent training 5 months ago. I have never had an FAA violation, never damaged an airplane and only forgot to show up for an assigned flight once. Conversely, I did show up one full day
early twice; only to be told to go home, check the calendar and come back the next day. Three years seems a long way off and yet I know it will go fast, just like the first 36 years. As I drive south toward Faribault my thoughts are interrupted by a bulletin that an airplane has flown into the World Trade Center in New York City on a beautiful cloudless day. I am sure glad to not be flying for Northwest into or out of LGA, EWR or JFK today. As the guys on the “planning commission” arrived they all mentioned the crash in New York City. During the first cup of coffee my wife calls to tell me that a second plane had hit the other trade center building and that both were thought to be airliners. I’m concerned about my daughter, Lisa, a United 737 first officer, who is scheduled to fly from Chicago to the east coast sometime on September 11. (As it turned out she never left the gate at ORD but there were a few anxious hours until she called home with that news.) Then I think that the next three years aren’t going to be as much fun as I had hoped. Several of us rush off to our hangars at the Faribault Airport to watch the news for a few hours. For some strange reason many of us feel more comfortable at the airport than anywhere else. THE LAST FLIGHT t’s almost 8 AM three years later, September 9, 2004 as I cross the Minnesota River on Cedar Avenue heading for MSP. At 0900 I’m going to fly the world’s neatest airplane, a 757-300, to San Francisco. My fellow pilot, Dianne, is one of the best pilots I have ever flown with and we have flown this route together, and many
Daughter Lisa, myself and my wife Linda, on my last trip 42
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others, dozens of times. It’s a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, and forecast to be like that all the way to San Francisco and back. We will be flying over some of the most beautiful scenery in the lower forty-eight. My wife and youngest daughter will join us in San Francisco for my last 757 flight back to MSP. It’s depressing knowing I’ll probably never again see the Wind Rivers, the Tetons, the full moon over the Canadian Rockies at midnight enroute to ANC, the Lewis and Clark route and all the other fabulous scenery from the pointy end of my 757. But I do feel better thinking someday I’m going to fly some of these scenic routes in my new Super Decathlon. Despite the fact I have known it was coming for 39 years, I’m really bummed out about this last flight. I didn’t sleep very well last night thinking about it. On the other hand, I will soon sleep better knowing I will not have to contend with thunderstorms, worry about slick runways, fight rush hour traffic on Cedar Avenue or eat “deluxe” crew meals.
can pass a physical. If the second officer were to become disabled or die, most of the pilots would be really busy relearning the systems controls on the second officer’s panel and one pilot would be alone in the front. Go figure.) I never considered this option, as it meant being gone from home a lot more on international flights for about the same as retirement pay. It also meant looking over my left shoulder for traffic at 12 o’clock. There are a small number of pilots who stay on as second officers after age 60. I suspect some think the age 60 rule will change so they
RETIREMENT REALITY he retirement paperwork alone, which was more difficult Lisa’s ’51 Cessna 140A which she bought from Bob Matta than that for getting hired, should have made me eager to leave. It took under two months to start pilot training from the day I sent can get back in the left seat for a few more years. my employment application to Northwest in 1965. Others may stay on for the travel, adventure and Conversely, the company started sending me letters romance. and forms about retirement six months ahead. It For reasons I can’t explain, one of the most turns out I needed a head start because there were difficult and final decisions to be made was where a lot of forms to fill out and a lot of decisions to to make my last flight. Should I go to ANC for one be made. Decisions like staying on and flying as more halibut run? Should I go to BOS for one more a second officer on the DC10 or 747 had to be lobster? Should I go to DCA, my favorite approach made at least six months before the big day. (All down the Potomac River? What about SEA for one pilots have this option because the age 60 rule only last look at Mount Rainer? What about LAX for applies to the pilots with the window seats. I have a last look at the Grand Canyon and the CIVET never understood the FAA logic in this option. arrival? Ultimately I picked SFO for the best They make the pilots retire at 60 for safety reasons scenery and neat arrival over the Golden Gate and yet allow the second officers to fly as long as they the east bay.
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Looking back, now retired for 21 months, it should not have been that traumatic for me. It’s not that I wouldn’t have anything to do. There is more time for the family. My flight instructor’s ticket has been kept current; I do some tail wheel and instrument instructing and I love it. Daughter Lisa has a cherry 1951 Cessna 140A that I can fly for the cost of gas, only fair since she has a free hangar to keep it in!
That’s me with my ’04 Champion Super Decathlon, There is a rack full of high quality target rifles to use every week and more time to practice shooting the standing position (I probably will not live long enough to become a good standing shooter). Retirement could be the time for me to finally try flying cross country in a glider. There is more time to read American history; more time to try my hand at writing (some think this a bad idea). In spite of all this time I knew I would have, I did not want to retire and the first 15 minutes of retirement were very difficult! Well, OK it was more like a few months and I have now gotten over it, mostly. AGE 60 RULE n October 1965, during the first busy days of new hire training and learning about Northwest I kept thinking, “Wow, if all goes well I can do this for 39 years until the FAA mandatory retirement age of 60.” It seemed light years off in the future. Now, here I am more than 40 light
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years in the future; it’s still hard to believe it went by in what seems like the blink of an eye. The first day I walked through the door at Northwest I thought the age 60 rule was absurd. Nothing has changed since then to make me think differently. I had always thought it would surely change before I got anywhere near that age. I still think it will one day. If it had changed before September 2004 I would have signed up for as long as possible. If it were to change now and be retroactive for 3 years, I would not consider going back. With Northwest’s mismanagement, bankruptcy and possible loss of hard-earned retirement, it looks like the best thing that could have happened. This job was never about the money and the time off. In fact it was not even a job. It was about fun and nothing else. Friends would call and ask if I was working tomorrow. The correct answer of course was, “N757US” “No, I’m going flying tomorrow.” It was one of the worst days of my life when I had to leave that 757 for the last time and walk off with my wife, daughter and all the crew. I felt like I was at the top of my game and could stay there for quite a while longer, as did most of the crew members I flew with. I have always thought I was smart enough to know when it was time to give up flying, and I still do. On September 11, 2004 I was responsible for a 75 million dollar airplane with 230 souls and exercising that responsibility pretty darn well, if I do say so myself. On September 12th none of this record mattered; the United States Government said I was now unsafe. How can this be? No one has been able to answer that question to my satisfaction. All of us knew retirement was coming the day we walked through the door for the first time. Most of us did not think it would come that fast. It still almost brings a tear to my eye when I do a “BRAVO” clearance over the top of MSP in my Decathlon and see a 757-300 rolling down the
runway. I’m thinking, “Hey, I can do that.” I wonder, “Where are they going?” I wonder, “Who are the crewmembers?” I wonder, “Do they miss me as much as I miss them?” I wonder... I wonder. Pretty soon ATC calls and wonders why I am off course! About the time I turned 55, I began to realize I was going to miss the 757 and the flying, but most of all I would miss the crews I flew with, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. There was one copilot who always showed up in the cockpit and greeted me by saying, “Well, I see you are still in my seat,” My Beech Baron being flown by the previous owner meaning he thought I should retire early and make room for him to move up the seniority list. It was all in good fun and one of many things group called the ROMEO club (Retired Old Men that made flying so enjoyable. Eating Out). All the guys in my coffee group are I started putting up a brave front, telling my light plane pilots, some are also airline guys and wife that 55 was pretty old and I better retire early several are not retired, so it was felt that ROMEO and devote more time to my other love of high was not the proper name. I’m often asked exactly power rifle competition. She insisted I couldn’t what does the “planning commission” plan during possibly afford to retire early and that I would be our morning coffee. The correct answer of course very sorry as I was going to miss it a lot. She was is that we plan on where to have lunch. And it will half right! not be a “crew meal.” T Sometimes I think retirement has been harder on her than me. “Are you going to be here for dinner every night this week?” she asks. And, “Why don’t you leave a day early for your rifle match and get in some more practice!” I started flying in high school in an Aeronca 7AC Champ and flew a bunch of other sevens for 39 years, the 707, 727 & 757, 172, 177 and here I am 45 years later back in a Champ. This looks like a pretty neat round trip to me. Life has been pretty good to the old farmer boy from Illinois! NOTE: o, what is the “planning commission?” Tom Brokaw in his book “THE GREATEST GENERATION” referred to a
Some of the guys on the “planning commission” RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Hotel rates are very enticing for those attending one or all three of the functions: Balloon Festival $99/nite double Convention $82/nite double w/breakfast Air Races $109/nite double All rooms are in the NORTH Tower. ••• Free Parking ••• Reservations with Circus Circus direct:
Be sure to tell them you are with the RNPA group. NOTE: these extended prices are special to RNPA.
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The Balloon Festival events, the equal of Albuquerque, take place downtown, very close to the hotel. The hotel transforms the roof top parking structure to a buffet breakfast area with tables. You are able to leisurely eat and watch the balloons lift off. Or, if you so desire, you can walk a couple blocks and be in the thick of the balloons. Go to www. renoballoon.com to find out more about the festival. The ticket prices for the Balloon Breakfast on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th are $15 per person. They need to be ordered ahead of time if possible (you can try to buy them the day before—but they may be sold out).
RNPA CONVENTION Sept. 10, 11, 12 Mon, Tue, Wed
RENO BALLOON FESTIVAL Sept. 7, 8, 9 Fri, Sat, Sun
The selection of Reno as the site of the 2007 convention provides a fantastic opportunity to visit the city, partake in the International Balloon Festival and witness the International Air Races. You have the option of doing one or both of the extra venues. Registration for the convention begins MON, SEPT 10. Registration, as well as all the other functions, will be on the lower level of the hotel. Tuesday we will visit Virginia City and Carson City. On Wednesday RNPA will hold our banquet, auction and introduce the new scholarship winner. Go to www.visitrenotahoe.com to find out more about the area.
The world’s longest running air race is the only place in the world where you can see five days of real air racing with six classes of aircraft competing in a variety of race classes, military and historic airplane displays and aerobatics exhibitions. Planes reach speeds of over 500 miles per hour. While enjoyng the races spectators can visit the pits and watch race teams work on their aircraft, browse any of the hundreds of participating vendor’s booths, and enjoy a wide variety of food and beverages. Info at www.airrace.org Tickets can be ordered (A MUST TO PRE-ORDER !) thru Western Discovery, see the next page for prices.
RENO INTERNATIONAL AIR RACES Sept. 13, 14, 15, 16 Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun
We encourage you to sign up early so the convention committee can commit their resources. To entice you to sign up early we are adding another chance to win. There will be two drawings; one for a free room and one for the convention fee. If you sign up BEFORE JUNE 1, 2007 you will have your name entered in the drawing. After June 1st you’ll have to sit and watch someone else win!
It Is Strongly Recommended That You Book Early For Rooms, Flights and Convention
deadline for sign up is August 1, 2007 B CThisFinal is for both the convention and ordering tickets for the air races.
For those of you that have made reservations through REA at the KOA Hilton in Reno; things have changed. As of March 28th this campground has moved to a new location. KOA Boomtown is located 9 miles west on the interstate. It’s a four star campground complete with Casino. REA has brought along everyone that originally signed up at the KOA Reno. Cost will remain the same as before. I have checked other locations in and around Reno and found what appears to be Mom and Pop operations even with a 4 star rating. Remember, you are in Reno. KOA BOOMTOWN 1-877-626-6686
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RENO AIR RACES TICKET INFORMATION These prices are now confirmed for 2007
Prices for individual daily general, reserved admission tickets, pit passes, bus shuttles: (Prices include a surcharge for picking up tickets, packaging and delivery to the hotel) GENERAL ADMISSION: Wednesday $13.00 Thursday $15.00 Friday $20.00 Saturday $25.00 Sunday $28.00 Gate entry, no seating RESERVED ADMISSION: Wednesday $14.00 Thursday $19.00 Friday $28.00 Saturday $39.00 Sunday $41.00 Gate entry, reserved seats
PIT PASSES: Wednesday $13.00 Thursday $18.00 Friday $23.00 Saturday $28.00 Sunday $33.00 These tickets are in addition to Admission Prices PARKING: Reserved Parking (All 5 days) $105.00 Daily parking rates not available. BUS SHUTTLE TICKETS $20.00/DAY R/T CUT OFF DATE FOR ORDERING TICKETS IS : 1 AUGUST 2007 CALL 1-800-843-5061 ASK FOR DEBBIE ROBERTS TELL HER YOU ARE WITH RNPA
Convention (only) cost: $160 per person prior to June 1st, $175 per person after June 1st
Make checks payable to “RNPA” Mail to: Terry Confer 9670 E Little Further Way Gold Canyon AZ 85218
Dinner options are: Barbecue Salmon/mango sauce or Prime Rib/Jack Daniels au jus.
I (we) plan to attend: Balloon Festival_____ Air Races_____ Note, this is for hotel and convention planning
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Come Early · Stay Late · Special Catered Food Furnished: Soft Drinks, Wine, Non-alcoholic Beer Convenient Airplane Parking · Cost $25 per person
Evergreen Sky Ranch, 36850 204th Ave SE, Auburn WA
From Bellevue: Hwy #405 • exit south on Hwy #167 • exit to Hwy #18 to either Au burn or Auburn-Black Diamond exit as described above. Fly-in instruction: • Evergreen Sky Ranch • Runway 16-34 • 2600 feet grass • Elev. 580 feet • GPS to 51WA • Radio 122.9MH • 122.92 five clicks to turn on light & VASI • Left traffic
INFORMATION Doug Peterson (360) 893-6960 firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Gauthier (360) 825-3515 email@example.com
Make checks payable to “Sunshine Club” and mail to: Mary Gauthier 36850 204th Avenue SE Auburn WA 98092 NAME(S) __________________________________________________________
SEA SUMMER PICNIC (Printed, please)_____________________________________________________
_______ @ $25 = $ _________________
Cost: $25 per person before August 13, 2007 • $35 at the door (No refunds after reservation deadline of August 13, 2007)
DIRECTIONS: From I-5 • east on Hwy #18 • exit onto Auburn Way South (Hwy #164) • turn left on SE 380th Place (Cooper’s Corner) • turn right onto 160th Place SE • left onto SE 384th St. • left turn at 212th Ave SE • left turn at SE 376th St • right turn onto 204th Ave SE • right turn at end of road. OR From I-5 • east on Hwy #18 • exit at Auburn-Black Diamond exit • turn right to Green Valley Road • turn right at 212th Ave SE (218th ave SE andf 212th Ave SE intersection - green metal bridge at side of road) • turn right at 376th St • right onto 204th Ave SE • right turn at end of road.
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Price: $29 per person • Cash bar on board Send check payable to: “Vic Kleinsteuber” 15258 Curtis Ave NW Monticello MN 55362 Boat sails Phone: (763) 878-2534 PROMPTLY
at 11:30 am
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Congregate dockside just south of downtown Stillwater at 11:00 am
A FAIRLY SERIOUS CASE OF PC By John Campbell When I retired five years ago this May, I had visions of writing about tall tales of adventures like sailing around the world, or walking the Appalachian Trail for a good stretch of the legs, or just pedaling my bike across the country. Instead, I find myself on a different kind of journey with PC and I don’t mean political correctness. I write because if a little medical hangar flying can help someone avoid some of my mistakes it will be worth it. My journey starts in December, 2003. Knowing and doing are not the same, but I still try. I know I need to see a dentist periodically, and eventually I do. I know I need to monitor my cholesterol and after having a heart attack, I really pay attention to what my numbers are. I know that one of the things you should do is have the old colon looked at and so I scheduled myself for a sigmoidoscopy that December. Everything was fine in the land of the dark, except my proctologist said he could feel something on my prostate. I didn’t know he would be checking that part of my anatomy, but since he wasn’t charging me extra, I figured it was a “pilot good deal.” He said I needed to see a urologist ASAP and that there was a good one in the same building and gave me a name. What a coincidence! I had an appointment with that very same doctor later in the month. Also, this particular urologist had been recommended to me several years earlier by an internist I was seeing at the time. My intrepid finger-waver was also listed perennially as a top-doc in the Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine and turned out to be very friendly and personable. I figured I would be in excellent hands to evaluate what was going on with my nodule.
So, I started preparing myself for the likelihood that I would need a biopsy, something I felt was akin to getting shot with a gun, only the bullets were smaller. Let’s see: You are going to place a large object where the sun doesn’t shine and shoot a hollow needle ripping through the wall of my rectum and into my prostate, tearing flesh and capillaries all along the way, maybe even veins, and who knows what else, to extract a few cells. I started to imagine what a biopsy needle must look like on the scale of a poor little prostate cell. I put away my irrational fears and kept my appointment. But before that, I had my PSA checked; another thing you should do like getting your cholesterol checked, and about as much fun. With both you feel so much better after it is over if the numbers are in the green range. I have been told that starting at about age 50, (earlier if you are at increased risk), all good little boys should have their PSA checked. My previous PSA on my flight physical had come back at 0.77, with anything zero to four considered normal. I took great pleasure in my number, as I figured I had the PSA of a teenager, even if other things didn’t quite work like a teenager. In fact, that is why
As far as I am aware, none of the previous RNPA newsletters, and certainly not Contrails, have ever published anything that could be construed as medical advice or opinion. The reasoning should be obvious: We are not qualified in any way to do so. Considering how prevalent prostate cancer is, however, it seems important to publish one man’s experience as just that, especially if it may help your awareness. There is nothing here intended to replace competent medical advice. The author adds his own disclaimer at the end of the article. - Editor
I had scheduled myself with a urologist. Things were no longer working like a young race horse and I found it more and more necessary to assume the oldman-lean position on trips to the little room. Blood was drawn two days before my visit for the PSA test. The appointed hour came. I was ready for anything, even a biopsy. After the usual small talk, “How do you like living in Florida?” and, “Look out for sharks, ha, ha,” I was told my PSA came back as 0.44! I knew it, just like a teenager; any lower and I would be pre-puberty. Finally, the moment came for the finger-wave and boy did it hurt when he felt the nodule that my proctologist had first noticed. The next thing I heard was: “Well, your PSA is so low. I think I’ll put you on a course of antibiotics, and we will check everything in six months.” Thanks doc. I’m out of here. No biopsy, fine with me.
event that totally got my attention big time. During a trip to the hospital Men’s Room, I saw blood where a man doesn’t ever expect to see blood. My urologist is in the office complex next to the hospital and I beat a path to his office. I’ll never forget trying to explain to the young female receptionist why I wanted to see my urologist without an appointment, or at least be able to speak with him. No matter how I pleaded with her, she was not going to call him or help me. I finally got to him by calling his home and asking his wife to have him call, which he eventually did. He explained that the bleeding was possible for a number of reasons and not to worry unless it didn’t stop and for me to see him in a few days. By this point, I wanted a biopsy regardless of what my PSA numbers were, which for that visit turned out to be 0.54, eight points below my June, 2004 number.
“Nothing quite focuses one’s mind like being told you have prostate cancer.” Six months later, the same drill except my PSA was now 0.62. Hey, that’s still below my previous high of 0.77. I opted to wait another six months which turned into a year and a half after visits from Ivan the Terrible, Dennis the Menace, and finally Katrina. For those who don’t live in Sunny Florida, those were a string of hurricanes that did a lot of damage, including to my place. I got wrapped up in repairing my leaking roof and missed my next appointment in Minnesota and didn’t schedule another until January, 2006. After all, at that point the appointments were still routine—no need to hit the panic button. I knew that it is not how large the PSA number is that counts, but what is important is how your PSA numbers change over time. If you see a doubling or even just a 0.75 rise in a short period of time it is worth getting checked out. My PSA came back that January at 0.32, a 50% reduction! With numbers like that, I now felt I was bullet-proof and I had avoided the dreaded biopsy. My urologist did not expect to see PSA that low either. I didn’t know what was going on, but certainly it couldn’t be cancer, so I went back to Florida to continue working on the hurricane damage. In August, we returned to Minnesota to await the arrival of grandchild number five. In September, it was back to the proctologist for the full treatment this time. Coming out of sedation after the colonoscopy, he told me that he had felt a very large nodule on my prostate and that I really needed to see someone. Then, not long after that while visiting my daughter in the hospital, and my new grandson, I had an
The biopsy finally took place January 15, 2007 and on the 19th after playing phone tag with my urologist for several days, I learned that I have Prostate Cancer throughout the right side of my prostate gland—the side where the nodule is. Further, the biopsy came back as a Gleason (7). A Gleason Grade is derived by looking at the morphology (shape, structure, color, and pattern) of the cancer cells compared to normal cells. There are two patterns, with possible values between 1 and 5, which comprise a Gleason Grade. The first number is the primary pattern and the other number is the secondary pattern. There are other subtleties to a Gleason Grade. Mine is a 4 + 3 = 7. That means the primary pattern in my case is not good and can only be one number higher, hence a fairly serious case of PC. Nothing quite focuses one’s mind like being told you have prostate cancer. I have learned a lot since January. Most importantly, you want to catch this stuff early while it is still confined to the prostate to have the best chance of survival. While I am not on the backside of the power curve yet, I’m close. To go over some of what I think are my mistakes: 1. In spite of my urologist being recommended by two doctors and being very friendly, he turned out not to be a good choice for me. During my office visits over the last several years, I began to feel that we were not connecting as we should. For one, I would ask him what the aging male can expect when it comes to ejaculate volume. I could definitely tell something was changing in that department. He
never answered that, or other questions that would have told me what is normal and what isn’t. The cancer was profuse in half my prostate, so what I was noticing makes perfect sense in hindsight as half the gland was no longer functioning. My big mistake here was that I didn’t listen to my inner voice and instead stuck with this doc because I liked him. There were also other problems. In the beginning, I was never apprised of the need not to stimulate the prostate with an ejaculation for 3 days before drawing blood for a PSA test because it skews the numbers. That also goes for mechanical stimulation like a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) or riding a bike or anything else that could stimulate the prostate. In my case this did not explain my very low PSA numbers. Still, it is part of the protocol when drawing blood for a PSA test. 2. The biopsy is not quite the dreaded procedure that I envisioned. It is uncomfortable to say the least. However, at this time it is the best way to really tell if you have prostate cancer for sure. I still have reservations, but there isn’t much else that you can do. You shouldn’t let yourself be put off like I was. 3. I feel I should have had a biopsy after that first visit even when my PSA was 0.44. I have since learned that an abnormally rising PSA trend, or, a high PSA number, or, an abnormal DRE, are sufficient reasons to have a biopsy. I also learned later that my urologist is an optimist (his words), which explains why he didn’t order a biopsy on my first visit as he felt it surely had to be something else. 4. My health was more important than fixing hurricane damage. It is all too easy to get swept up in what seem like important things at the moment and let important things like routine medical tests languish. 5. Here is what I consider to be the most important thing I should pass on. Low PSA numbers like mine don’t give you a free pass. Though rare, there are a number of reasons that PSA doesn’t go up when you have prostate cancer. All along I felt something was not right with the “experience,” or the plumbing, but got hung up on my low PSA numbers—a very big mistake, especially when I had an abnormal DRE. I guess that makes me an optimist also. 6. After seeing blood, what I went through in order to talk to my urologist was further confirmation that I was with the wrong doctor in the wrong group. I have a theory that attitudes and sensitivity like I encountered that day start at the top and flow down hill. So, an adventure begins for me that I didn’t want. However, I am not alone. It is estimated 218,000 men
will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, rising to over 300,000 per year in the coming decade. Roughly, 30% of men will end up with prostate cancer by some estimates. That’s over 1 in 5. PC will probably become the number one cause of death for men due to cancer. Lung cancer is number one now, but that should change as more men stop smoking. Here are two other startling facts I didn’t know: More men get prostate cancer than women get breast cancer, and, if that is not bad enough, more men will die from prostate cancer than women will die from breast cancer. Yet, breast cancer receives the lion’s share of attention and research funding. That needs to change, not by taking money away from breast cancer research, but by providing more money for prostate cancer research. Hopefully, it will. There is another thing about prostate cancer that makes it unique. You can end up having to pick your own treatment. I have learned that there are several ways to treat PC, all of which work fairly well if the cancer is still confined to the prostate and none of which work very well if the cancer has escaped— hence, the very important need to catch it early. My next step is deciding which treatment is right for me.
Please note that nothing I have said should be construed as giving medical advice. My comments should not be interpreted as specific medical advice and should only serve as nonspecific background information. Consulting a qualified (not me) medical professional is always best. However, if I can help in any way you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers, John Campbell
Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club Ladies and Gentlemen, On Feb. 9th, Wayne Anderson, Roy Newton and Phil Killey generously hosted RNPA here. There was a good turnout on a beautiful day at one of the premier golf courses in Arizona. I’ve taken the liberty of sending some pictures of the participants during the postgame eating, drinking and excuses phase. Our sympathies to all of you viewing these photos in Minnesota. Warmest Regards, Dave Hulbert Scottsdale, Arizona
Buzz Stiles, Ragnar Kveseth, Dave Hulbert
Dick Suhr, Charlie Huffaker, Bill Fellinger, Craig Kaul
Pete Dodge, Norm DeShon, Roy Newton (Host)
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Bill Fellinger, Rick Miller, Lefty Engelking, Dick Suhr, Pete Dodge
Gene Tetrault, Wayne Anderson (Host), Phil Pattie Gene Tetrault, Phil Killey (Host), Bill Ball, Phil Pattie, Adrian Jenkins
Rick Miller, Lefty Engelking
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Dave Ahlgren Remembered
This lovely tribute to Dave was written by our good friend, Carrol Henderson (right), of the Minnesota DNR Nongame Wildlife Program. I thought you’d enjoy it. By the way, don’t forget to donate to the Chickadee Checkoff on your Minnesota State Tax Return! - Jan Ahlgren
ood morning. I thought you would want to know that Minnesota’s bluebirds, trumpeter swans, the Nongame Wildlife Program staff, and I, among many others, lost a very special friend yesterday. Dave Ahlgren passed away after a long and courageous battle with prostate cancer. Dave was one of those “once in a lifetime” personal and professional friends who epitomized the “bluebird of happiness” that he did so much to help. I guess you could say he was the “Dave of Happiness.” I first met Dave in about 1982 when I was working on revising my old eight-page Birdhouses in Minnesota booklet and developing it into the first Wood-
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working for Wildlife book. I had learned about Dave’s carpentry skills when he was a volunteer at the Minnesota Zoo. I had asked him if he would be willing to review some of the birdhouse designs that had been proposed by various “experts” for the various species involved—like purple martins, bluebirds, and wood ducks. He didn’t like the designs... they looked like they had been designed by a biologist. He suggested improving the designs by eliminating as many angled cuts as possible, and converting many of the plans into a simple “one-board” design. It was a stroke of genius that laid the groundwork for one of the most successful birdhouse books in the country.
When I wanted to expand our Nongame Wildlife Program’s bluebird conservation efforts statewide at the urging of Dick Peterson, I decided that we needed bluebird workshops in each of our six DNR regions. I figured that we needed one hundred Peterson bluebird houses to distribute to the workshop participants. I called Dave and asked if he could make some bluebird houses for the Nongame Wildlife Program. He said, “Sure.” Then he said, “How many?” When I said 600, I recall there was a temporary silence; then Dave said, “Sure.” Those initial workshops helped give rise to the Bluebird Recovery Program which is now looked on as one of the most successful in the nation. Since learning how to make Peterson bluebird houses in quantity, Dave has cut out about 80,000 bluebird houses. Everywhere I go in Minnesota, there are Peterson bluebird houses— probably made by Dave. I think we have more nest boxes per mile of highway than any other state in the nation. Dave has made a difference. When I began planning the Minnesota trumpeter swan restoration project in the early to mid ’80s, I told Dave that I was planning to go to Alaska to get eggs from swan nests in central Alaska. I had countless people offer to be a volunteer assistant on those trips, but Dave had a special advantage. He was a pilot for Northwest Airlines and he knew the vice-president, Bill Wren. He was able to get first class seats, for the comfort of the eggs, of course. In June of 1986, 1987, and 1988, Dave and I made trips to central Alaska with US Fish and Wildlife Service pilot Rod King to collect swan eggs. What great adventures! Dave was an invaluable partner as we collected eggs. At the research cabin on Minto Lake, he boiled water to put in hot water bottles to keep the eggs warm as we collected them. On one occasion when Dave was with Rod and I to collect eggs, we landed on a small lake, taxied to the nest, and we got the eggs. Meanwhile the wind died. Rod backed us up to one shore and attempted to take off, but as we reached the other end of the lake, the plane failed to break free from the surface tension of the water, and Either he shut the plane down.
Heating water to keep the eggs warm We thudded into the opposite shore. We tried again; with the same results. Then he explained that this lake had changed from a three-person lake to a two person lake and that one of us had to go. I lost. Rod dropped me off with a sack lunch on a tiny island in the middle of the lake and explained that I should be safe from the bears there. Just before they taxied off, Dave threw me a sleeping bag, and I remember Dave’s big grin as they departed. Rod did manage to find me again. Anyway, Dave helped collect the Trumpeter Swan eggs, and he helped with the swan releases at the
moose antlers or strange wings RNPA CONTRAILS MAY 2007
Holding a trumpeter swan Tamarac National Widlife refuges. In more recent years, he and Jan have made regular trips to Monticello to see the growing flock of trumpeter swans at the home of Jim and Shiela Lawrence. He was, once again, an integral part of a great widlife success. Wildlife conservation is a long term, lifelong commitment, and Dave saw this project through from its beginnings to the wonderful success that it is today. When I got the idea to do a book on bird feeding, Wild About Birds, who did I see but Dave. He had some great ideas on some very functional and easy-to-build bird feeders. That book has much of Dave in it. He knew what worked, and he was happy to share his ideas with others. Dave was a very common-sense type of person who interspersed every conversation with abundant smiles and nonstop humor. He was uplifting to all who knew him. Dave and Jan believed in practicing wildlife conservation around their own home. They have lots of bird feeders with lots of bird traffic, along with a few deer and other assorted critters. And their tree, shrub, and flower plantings are a model for the concept of
“landscaping for wildlife.” In fact, Rebecca Kolls did one of her television shows at Dave and Jan’s home a couple years ago featuring the landscaping for wildlife theme. Dave became a regular TV personality. There were other programs on his bluebird accomplishments featured on KARE-11 TV with interviews by Ken Speake. He was also a recipient of the “Eleven Who KARE” awards because of his volunteer efforts to help bluebirds. Dave was a continuing inspiration throughout the 25 years that I knew him, and hopefully I can continue to pass on that uplifting lifestyle to others. His unselfish manner, humility and vast knowledge were also special because he was so dedicated to helping wildlife. I gave him his own carousel with our DNR bluebird conservation program and he did many seminars and programs for civic groups and school children throughout the metro area. Dave was a pilot. He knew the beauty of flight, and he made a difference in helping put wild birds like swans and bluebirds back in the sky that had been missing for many years. The bluebirds should be back any day now. Each returning bluebird is an opportunity to remember Dave’s legacy and to realize that we each have an opportunity to be an inspiration to others and to make a difference for wildlife. As for Dave, I shall be checking for any cedar sawdust sifting down from above. I’m sure he has already checked to see if they have a really nice woodshop in Heaven where he can make some Peterson bluebird houses for Heaven’s backyard. T
Dave and Jan Ahlgren
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Dear Gary, Thank you so much for your letter and your interest in doing the story about Dave. As you well know, Dave was a very special friend. He will be missed. I have many fond memories of our support from Northwest Airlines during our trumpeter swan restoration since we traveled to Alaska three times on Northwest to get the eggs. Every two hours the flight attendants allowed us to use their hot water for coffee to put in the hot water bottles in our egg suitcases which were stored in the overhead bins in the first class section. When we arrived in Minneapolis, each of the flight attendants left the plane with a suitcase of 12 swan eggs to an awaiting group of television and newspaper photographers and radio reporters. Nice
publicity for Northwest, and a memorable experience for everyone involved. Now we have a new population of Minnesota swans that has grown from about 6 pairs and 30 swans in 1985 to 220 pairs of swans and 2200 total birds. It has become a wonderful success story. The swan photos I have enclosed were photographed at Monticello at their wintering site. Your readers can learn where they can go to see the swans at Monticello, MN at the City of Monticello web site. (The birds should be dispersing north this week.) They return in late November and stay there until early March. There was a peak of 1100 swans there this winter. Best wishes, Carrol Henderson
David L. Ahlgren, 1939 ~ 2007. Dave fought a spirited two-year battle with prostate cancer. Preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Henry L. and Harriet Ahlgren of Madison WI. Survived by his loving wife, Jan, of 34 years, sister Peggy Ahlgren of Spring Green WI, Uncle Gilbert, Aunt Lillie, many cousins and countless friends. Graduate of University of Wisconsin, Madison. Joined Wisconsin Air National Guard as a pilot, then in 1965 began a 29-year career as a pilot with Northwest Airlines. Later, USAF duties included serving as Liaison Officer for U.S. Air Force Academy, retiring as Lt. Col. Will miss his 50-year class reunion from Madison West High School this summer. Played in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps and the UW Marching Band. Dave enjoyed a wide range of volunteer activities over the years: While living in Burnsville was active in local politics and the Burnsville Fire Muster; Minnesota Zoo volunteer for 5 years; volunteer efforts with MN DNR Non-Game Division, helping collect Trumpeter Swan eggs in Alaska, aiding in development of Woodworking for Wildlife books, on bird houses and feeders, most noted for having produced somewhere over 85,000 Peterson style bluebird houses which were instrumental in bringing back this beautiful songbird. Presented many programs on bluebirds to elementary schools, nature centers, and many bird stores, in addition branched out to programs on bird feeding to a variety of garden clubs and other groups. Was active with Minnesota Transportation Museum for several years, including working as a licensed Brakeman and Conductor, and 2 years as Superintendent of the MTM Railroad Division. Volunteered at Warner Nature Center. He combined his love of woodworking with his love of nature, especially birds, bird feeders, and bird houses. Dave’s humor, enormous energy and enthusiasm for many different activities, touched countless lives, and he will be sorely missed by many. Special thanks to the wonderful doctors and nurses at MOHPA, and for the special care given by the angels at The Gathering.
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commercial international routes to Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other parts of Asia, traveling over 12 million miles during his tenure. He retired from Northwest as a 747 Captain in 1980, after 34 years of distinguished service. Brooks’ passions were family, friends, flying, and boating. Always active in the community, Brooks was a 32nd Degree Mason and member of Bellevue Masonic Lodge #258; a member of The Quiet Birdmen; a lifetime member of Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Bay Brooks Johnston Sr., age 87, a retired Northwest Yacht Club; a past president of the of the Retired Captain born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January Northwest Airlines Pilots’ Association; a 12-year 18, 1920, flew west for a final editor of the Retired Airline Pilots check after dying at his home on Association (RAPA) newsletter, a Wednesday, January 31, 2007. He longtime member of the Bellevue was the son of the late Chester Congregational Church, and a and Marguerite (Brooks) Johnston, member of the Investigative Team and was a 1938 graduate of the of the NTSB which determined Shattuck Military Academy and causes of commercial airline ROTC program, and Captain disasters, including a crash at Mt. of Shattuck’s Crack Drill Squad. Fuji, Japan. At Brooks’ memorial He attended the University of service Marty Foy led seven of Minnesota before proudly serving his Black Jack Squadron, RV-4’s his country as a pilot in the U.S. and RV-6’s in the missing man Army Air Transport Command formation. during WWII, from 1944 to 1946. Preceded in death by his Brooks Johnston He was a commissioned officer beloved wife of nineteen years, and First Lieutenant when he was Una Johnston; and beloved first 1920 ~ 2007 discharged. During the war, he wife and mother of his children, delivered airplanes to locations all Ardyth (Wendt). Survived by his over the world to support allied forces. children, Suzanne M. Lemley, Brooks G. Johnston, His war experience was an integral part of him Scott E. Johnston, and Una’s daughter, his beloved and he shared close bonds with many of his fellow stepdaughter Leigh Polhamus; five granddaughters, veterans throughout his life. Following the war, four great-grandchildren, and eight loving nieces Brooks joined Northwest Airlines as a pilot, flying and nephews. Duane Herbert “Hut” Heutmaker, age 84, a retired Northwest Airlines Captain born in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 17, 1922, flew west for a final check after dying peacefully on October 28, 2006, surrounded by his family. Hut had suffered from a broken heart since August 10, 2006, when his beloved “Ellie” died in her sleep. Ellie was an artist and Duane was proud of Ellie’s artwork. They always made a piece of her artwork into that year’s Christmas card. Hut and Ellie were married for nearly 65 years, and Ellie couldn’t go to the grocery store without Hut. He always wanted to be by her side. He served in the Army Air Corps during World
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War II and made his career as a Captain with Northwest Airlines. Hut was a fan of old cars, old friends, and good times. Hut was a friend who was never too busy to spend time with his friends. He was a true patriarch, a man of great faith, who loved being in the company of his large, loving family, who will miss him dearly. He left this world without fear, eager to be with God, and to join his wife and his granddaughter, Angie Barrett Herbert, and the friends and family members who preceded him in death. Survived by sons Duane and David; daughters Diane, Dawn and Dana; eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Virginia Nelson 1926 ~ 2007 Virginia Mae Nelson, age 80, of Burnsville, MN, joined her Heavenly Father on February 24, 2007. Loving mother, devoted grandmother and great grandmother, and loyal friend, Virginia was born March 28, 1926 in Minneapolis, MN. She was one of the earliest women to graduate from the School of Business at the University of Minnesota in 1948, and was a member of Phi Delta sorority. Virginia went on to become a dedicated employee of Northwest Airlines, where she worked in crew scheduling for 34 years. As a Northwest employee, Virginia shared her love of travel with family and friends. Her unrivaled love and pride for her country was usually the focus of her journey. The focus of Virginia’s journey as an employee at Northwest Airlines was her job at crew scheduling and the well being of her fellow employee’s, though not necessarily in that order! Virginia knew the name, the face, and the voice of just about every pilot or flight attendant who flew at the “old” Northwest Airlines, whether they were based in Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Anchorage, or Honolulu. She knew thousands of us by our first names, treated each as family, wished us well on our flights, greeted us when we returned, and often helped us get jump seats or listed us on our flight for the commute home. She started the tradition of putting up blank picture mats for pilots who were retiring to be signed by friends. And she knew whom in the flight crew and crew scheduling employee groups faced illnesses, personal difficulties or deaths in their families. If you needed something taken care of that Virginia could do, all you had to do was ask and it was covered. We thought so much of Virginia that thirty years ago the pilots and flight attendants of Northwest Airlines presented her a new car as a gift.
The sentiments expressed by flight crews on the guest pages of the memory book were poignant, heartfelt and to the point: “You could never fool Virginia. She asked how the fishing was after we called in sick for the opener...” “Her greatest gift was time. No matter how busy she made time for you…” “The genuine ‘Queen of Hearts,’ a blessing to all who wore the NWA uniform…” “Northwest should have made you V.P. of customer relations...” “An inspiration to all, a ray of sunshine every time…” “Virginia was there for my first check-in and last check-in, and brightened every day I went into that office...” A smile we could count on seeing…” “The brightest of my memories of NWA. The light in our lives…” “The shining crown jewel of crew skeds has moved check-in to the pearly gates and awaits…” “The pilots loved you, even those O dark 30 wakeup calls...” “Virginia’s memory for names went deeper than that. She cared about the people she worked with and always went out of her way to help and support them…” “On the most difficult days, you were a ray of sunshine and a source of wonder…” “Probably the kindest person that I ever met…” “Likely the sweetest, most caring, and considerate person I ever met…” “We were always going to write a book together on our airline experiences...” “Her smile and the twinkle in her eyes will be missed. Her memory will live in all of us.” Survived by her beloved children, Coleen King (John), Laurel Sayther (Tom), Bradley Nelson (Sue), Janice Larson (Tom); eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
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On the use of language “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” -- Winston Churchill “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” -- Winston Churchill “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” -- Clarence Darrow “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” -- William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway) “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” -- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner) “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” -- Moses Hadas “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” -- Abraham Lincoln “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” -- Groucho Marx “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” -- Mark Twain “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” -- Oscar Wilde “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend... if you have one.” -- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second.. if there is one.” -- Winston Churchill, in response
“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” -- Stephen Bishop “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” -- John Bright “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” -- Irvin S. Cobb “He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” -- Samuel Johnson “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” -- Paul Keating “He had delusions of adequacy.” -- Walter Kerr “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” -- Jack E. Leonard “He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” -- Robert Redford
“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” -- Thomas Brackett Reed “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.” -- James Reston (about Richard Nixon) “In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” -- Charles, Count Talleyrand “He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” -- Forrest Tucker “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” -- Mark Twain “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” -- Mae West “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” -- Oscar Wilde “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” -- Billy Wilder
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e Stratoburgers? th r e b m e m re u o y Do The Hot ‘n Tots? Cokes? Cinnamon flavored
The Airloha Drive-In was an icon of the ‘50s, an era when disk jockeys broadcast from drive-ins all over the country—“Dragnet” was the theme song for the Airloha. In 1954 Lem Lemley bought a small soft ice cream and frozen custard stand on 34th Avenue, just north of Wold-Chamberlain Field. He bought more property behind that, expanded to what you see here, and operated it until 1960. The Stratoburger, inspired by the Stratocruiser, was the first double-decker (double-decker, get it?) hamburger in the Twin Cities. The Airloha made the cover of a national restaurant magazine, which among other things, mentioned his innovative ordering system. (Photo courtesy of Romelle Lemley)
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The quarterly publication of the Retired Northwest Airlines Pilots' Association.