I've been a little under the weather around here and forgot to get this up.
Sorry it is late!
Thanks Grandma for being so on top of it!
With the Grand Opening of the new St. George Regional Airport, it has set off memories of the early days of the old airport on the black hill close by the 'D'. At that kind of primitive air port I saw an airplane for the very first time. As I remember it, the runway was dirt or small gravel. Glen E. Snow, President of Dixie College, had asked the State Board of Education for permission to start teaching classes in aeronautics. This was accepted, which was around 1939. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan, the National Defense Plan was activated. The California coastal areas were restricted and non military air training was forbidden. Ventura Jr. College and a flying service, both in CA, moved their training to St. George, Utah. With that came students and instructors. They requested the state of Utah improve the air port. This was funded by the government because of the need of pilots in war time. Then Andy Anderson was recruited to join Dixie College in 1940 to conduct the Civil Pilot Training. Andy was an experienced pilot, barn stormer,(conducting one man air shows and plane rides across the country) instructor, and working for Western Air Express, a flying mail service from SLC, LV, and CA. He was respected and revered by his students, and ended up courting and marrying our local beauty and school teacher, Phyllis Nisson. Joe Milne, my beloved brother-in-law was one of Andy's first students. About 269 pilots went on to serve their country in military and civilian aviation. Joe eventually flew for American Air Lines and became the first pilot to fly the new DC-10-his passengers on the maiden flight were the CEO of American Air Lines with corporate officers and dignitaries. That was a special experience for Captain Milne. Joe was the one to take me on my first plane ride. After I married Earl, and worked with him in SLC at Milne Truck Line, he joined the US Air Force and I came home to live with my parents. I was 2 or 3 months pregnant when Joe asked me fly with him. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. We took off and I shouted with glee, loving every minute of it as we flew around this beautiful area. Then---he took me through a few spins and stalls, and a few roll overs. Of course in my delicate condition I began to feel sick. I hadn't told Joe I was pregnant, but as I became more quezzy, I asked Joe to land. Noticing the color of my face, he landed pronto. You can guess what happened as soon as I deplaned. Joe felt terrible after I told him my story. My husband served as a bomber pilot in Europe, so forever after he had a great love of planes and flying, and I continued loving it more and more. We had several different planes through out the years, and a lot of experiences flying all over the country. Then, with the encouragement of my husband, I LEARNED TO FLY ALL BY MYSELF!!! More next time.
-Love to you all--Grandma Ora
PS If I am wrong on a bit of history, I take full credit.