Roy Dickson 1930s Alaska Bush Pilot
TOIVO AHO - Born about 1915 at Knik, moved to
Anchorage 1919. Wesley Dunkle taught him to fly.
Operated Aho Flying Service out of Anchorage. While
ferrying a Stinson through Canada in 1938, died in crash
in Yukon Territory.
HARVEY W. "BARNEY" BARNHILL - Born about 1902 in Ohio. Learned to fly
in 1920 as a U.S. Navy recruit at the Great Lakes Training Center in Illinois. Arrived
in Alaska in 1929. Was part of Carl Ben Eielson's team in Fairbanks transporting
personnel & a fortune in furs from the merchant ship
Nanuck that was stranded in
the ice of the coast of Siberia. He flew in the search for the Eielson wreck after his
fatal crash in the winter of 1929/30. Barney & Linious "Mac" McGee purchased a
three-seat Stinson in 1031 & founded Barnhill & McGee Airways which became
McGee Airways after they dissolved their partnership in about 1932. Died in
automobile accident near Spokane, WA in the late 1950's.
LUCIEN "FRANK" BARR - Born August 22, 1903 Lawrence County, Colorado, came
to Alaska 1932. Varied career from southeastern Alaska to the Interior to the Yukon.
Barr Air Transport was his one-man, one-plane company. Best known on Gillam's mail
run from Fairbanks to Bethel, also flew bush for Alaska Airlines. Territorial Senator,
member Alaska Constitutional Convention, US Marshall. Retired to Grants Pass,
Oregon & died there in April 1983.
JOE BARROWS - Joe & Harry Blunt were partners in Pacific Alaska Airways when they expanded the
airline from British Columbia to Alaska. Joe known for mail runs Fairbanks to Bethel, Fairbanks to
Nome. Went on to fly for Pan American Airways. Retired in San Francisco area.
ELMER A. "A.A." BENNETT - Born about 1888 in Oregon. Came to Alaska in the mid-1920's.
Believed to be the first pilot to land on Kuskokwim River ice at Bethel. Was flying partner of
Bennett-Rodebaugh Company in Fairbanks. Left territory for Idaho in 1930. Later lived in Las Vegas,
EDWARD "LONNIE" BRENNAN - Born December 28, 1898. Became a
commercial pilot in 1920, flew out of Vancouver, Bremerton & Seattle, WA before
coming to Alaska to fly for Wien. In 1939 established Lon Brennan Flying Service out
of Manley Hot Springs. Retired in 1948, died May 1967 at Stanwood, Washington.
(Picture courtesy Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection,Museum of History & Industry)
HUGH BREWSTER - First "temporary" CAA Department of Commerce aircraft inspector in Alaska.
Was Marine pilot in WW II. Died in an auto accident in California in the 1950's.
ESTOL CALL - He was half-brother to L. "Mac" McGee, and came to Alaska to
fly for McGee Airways. Later started his own operation in Bristol Bay with Hans
Seversen of Iliamna. His hangar at Merrill Field in Anchorage burned in 1938.
CHET BROWNE - From Colorado. Flew in the Nome, Fairbanks and Anchorage areas. Purchased a
Tri-motor Ford and formed Arctic Airways. Perhaps most famous for finding a spot in Southeast
Alaska to land the Tri-motor Ford when the weather turned bad on an early trip to Seattle. Taught
Archie Ferguson to fly.
NATHAN C. "NAT" BROWNE - Born March 31, 1895. Flew in South America.
In about 1932 attempted to fly from Seattle to Tokyo, but the aircraft came
apart during refueling attempt and he parachuted to safety. Came to Alaska in
early 1930's with a Faden, one of the earliest all-metal planes, which he
demolished in a wreck near Valdez. Formed Nat Browne Flying Service out of
Valdez, then Fairbanks & Anchorage, then out of Bethel for many years. Flew
mail routes to Lower Kuskowim & Yukon villages and to Goodnews Bay. Closed
air service in 1950 after receiving contract to map DEW line radar sites. Moved
to South 48 in mid-1950's. Died in August 1979 at Santa Fe, New Mexico.
(Picture courtesy Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection,Museum of History &
ROBERT "BOB" CARLSON - Learned to fly in Anchorage in early 1930's. Flew out of Merrill Field
to Interior Alaska. Died in airplane crash at Platinum in 1937. He crashed in a raging snow storm while
on a mercy flight to Goodnews Bay Mining Company.
JACK CARR - Was mechanic on Frank Dorbandt's 1934 Tri-motor Ford flight from Los Angeles to
Anchorage. Was mechanic for Star Air Service, later started flying school and fixed base operation at
Merrill Field, Anchorage. Instrumental in starting Alaska Civil Air Patrol. Died of natural causes.
JOHN CROSS - Came first to Cordova to fly for Kirkpatrick. Later worked for Wien; then started own
operation, Northern Cross Airways. Back later to Wien in Kotzebue where he retired in the 1960's.
HAKON "CHRIS" CHRISTENSEN - The "Flying Dane", born 1902 in
Denmark. Immigrated to US & learned to fly in 1917 in Iowa, barnstorming
in the midwest. Came to Anchorage in 1933, moved to Fairbanks to fly for
Ed Leardahl. In 1934 started flying into the mines from Cantwell in a Curtiss
Robin. Opened Christensen's Flying Service & in 1939 bought a Grumman
Widgeon. Was one of the first pilots to land mountain climbing expeditions
on Mt. McKinley. He sold the flying service to Cordova Airlines in 1952. Died
in crash of the Grumman Widgeon near Cordova in April 1956 in a snow
storm on a flight from Seattle to Cordova with a stop in Yakutat.
ALONZO "LON" COPE - Born in Oklahoma in 1897, came to Anchorage in
1926. One of the founders of Anchorage Air Transport and mechanic for Russ
Merrill. In 1930 formed Dorbandt-Cope with Frank Dorbandt; sold to Pacific
International Airways in 1931, which sold to Pacific Alaska Airways. Learned to
fly in Anchorage when with PIA. In 1932 went to Brownsville, TX with Pan Am,
them back to Juneau as an independent, then went with Alaska Coastal and flew
for years in Southeast Alaska. Crashed in a snow storm March 1939 on flight
from Ketchikan to Juneau; Lon and his 4 passengers were killed instantly.
HARRY BLUNT - Called the "Bristol Bay Sea Hawk" by the "Glacier Priest" Father Hubbard. Harry &
Joe Barrows were partners in Pacific International Airways when they expanded from British Columbia
to Alaska. Later flew for Pacific Alaska Airways stationed in Anchorage after they bought Pacific
International Airways.
VERNON BOOKWALTER - Born November 18, 1892 in Oregon. Was a pilot &
mechanic for Tex Rankin in Portland, Oregon in 1925. Made the first contract Air
Mail flight in the northwest in 1926 flying from Vancouver, WA to Los Angeles in
his TravelAir. In 1934 purchased a Tri-motor Ford from Grand Canyon Airlines of
Arizona & flew to Alaska to organize and operate White Pass Airways out of
Skagway. He and wife Esther also operated a gold mine near Nome. Was honored
by United Airlines for being first pilot to fly mail on the Seattle - San Francisco run.
Died November 19, 1975 at Nome, Alaska.