|Roy Dickson 1930s Alaska Bush Pilot
|FIRST TIME PUBLISHED
|BIOGRAPHIES (N - R) of 1920s-1930s Era ALASKA BUSH PILOTS
KENNETH WAYNE "KENNY" NEESE - Born in California in 1903; came to Anchorage in 1932.
Flew for McGee Airways and then with Star Air Lines when Star bought McGee. Was Chief Pilot for
Star. Left Alaska in 1941 to fly for Air Transport Command ferrying bombers & transport planes
between Florida, South America and Africa. Was killed on takeoff in 1944 on his last flight before
transferring to a desk job.
MATT NIEMINEN - Born January 20, 1897. Flew out of Fairbanks in late 1920's. Was active in
Eielson search. In 1930 Matt took first flight without oxygen over Mt. McKinley in a Fairchild 71
monoplane belonging to Alaska Airways, breaking the altitude record for flying without oxygen at
over 20,300 feet. In 1930 he was first to fly into Lake Clark country in a Waco 10. Also flew for Pacific
Alaska Airways. Died February 1966 at Denver, CO.
ELBERT E. "AL" PARMENTER - Born in Iowa March 31, 1903. Barnstormed, did air racing & stunt flying in
Oregon in late 1920s. Came to Alaska to fly for Harold Gillam in mid-1930's. Flew mostly the Valdez - Fairbanks
route; later flew for Cordova Air Service, and Woodley Airways. Left Alaska before WW II to work for Lockheed
Aircraft in Burbank, CA. Died April 4, 1978 at Santa Clara, CA.
JACK PECK - Born January 25, 1915. Started flying in Valdez. Came to Anchorage then went to
Bethel and formed Peck & Rice Airways, with Wyman Rice which operated for several years. Flew
Alaska Airlines during the war years. Was chief pilot for Al Jones Flying Service in 1947, then owned
and operated Alaska Aeronautical Industries in Anchorage & operated a Cessna dealership at Lake
Hood. Died August 1978 at Soldotna, Alaska. Jack was inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame in
FRANK POLLACK - Started flying career with Northern Air Transport flying out of Valdez, Fairbanks &, Nome.
In 1933 founded Pollack Flying Service in Fairbanks. Did contract flying for Weather Bureau in 1935. Sold his flying
service to Alaska Star Airlines in 1942 and became Alaska Airlines operations manager in Fairbanks.
ROBERT CAMPBELL "BOB" REEVE - Born March 27, 1902 Waunakee,
Wisconsin. After a stint in the Army, earned his commercial pilots license in 1928
and started flying air mail runs for Panagra, the Pan American subsidiary in South
America. In January 1932 Bob stowed away on a steamship bound for Alaska. In
Valdez, he repaired Owen Meals' Eaglerock biplane which Meals had crashed, then
leased the plane & started a charter business flying the Copper River area and
Interior. Bob left Valdez in early 40's, went to Fairbanks, then to Anchorage, where
he started making scheduled runs all the way down the Aleutian Chain. After a
series of mergers & acquisitions, in 1947 he founded Reeve Aleutian Airlines based
in Anchorage. He was president of the airlines. Bob retired from flying in 1948. In
1975 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame; in 1980 the
International Aerospace Hall of Fame, & in 2005 the Alaska Aviation Heritage
Museum Hall of Fame. Bob died August 25, 1980 at Anchorage.
PAT RENAHAN - Flew for Alaska Washington Airways in Southeast Alaska. Was lost near Ketchikan coming north
to search for Canadian bush pilot E. J. Paddy Burke whose plane was lost in Northern British Columbia with three on
board in October 1930.
S.E. "ROBBIE" ROBBINS - Flew for Alaska Airways in 1930 and was one of the pilots who flew furs from the trading
ship Nanuck which was trapped in the ice off Siberia, helping to complete the Eielson contract after he was lost. Then
went with Pacific Alaska Airways. Landed on the glaciers of Mt. McKinley in 1932. Flew the first mail routes from
Fairbanks to upper Yukon villages for Pacific Alaska Airways, and in 1938 flew the first mail route from Fairbanks to
Juneau. Flew for Pacific Alaska Airways, then Pan American. He was Captain of the inaugural flight of the Sikorsky
S-42 PanAm Clipper from Seattle to Juneau in 1940. He transferred to San Francisco before WW II.
VICTOR "VIC" ROSS - Born January 11, 1896. Was partner with Noel Wien when they formed Northern Air
Transport. He was president of the company and also flew out of Valdez, Fairbanks and Nome. Was Noel Wien's
co-pilot in 1935 when they flew the film of the Post/Rogers crash to Seattle, & was again his co-pilot when they flew
a Tri-motor Ford on the first Seattle-Fairbanks passenger flight. Left Alaska before WW II. Retired in Bellingham,
WA where he died in June 1975.
ALBERT F. "BERT" RUOFF - Born March 29, 1904. Started as mechanic-pilot for Bowman Airways, Anchorage,
then took over company to found Ruoff Air Service serving Anchorage to Bristol Bay area. later named Bristol Bay
Air Service. The Alaska Air Pilots' Association was formed in 1938 with Roy Dickson as first president and Burt Ruoff
as Vice President. Sold out to Ray Petersen in 1943 & left Anchorage. Died in1950 at Seattle, WA.
CHARLES H. "CHARLEY" RUTTAN - Born Winnipeg, Manitoba. Along with Steve Mills & Jack
Waterworth bought a two place open cockpit Fleet biplane in Glendale, CA in 1931. Shipped the
plane to Alaska on the SS Yukon in the spring of 1932. They started Star Air Service in Anchorage
with support from local investors. Flew with Star Air Service & Star Airlines. Gave up flying
regularly to take over operations and management. Retired to Victoria, B.C., Canada where he died
RAYMOND INGVARD "RAY" PETERSEN - Born in York, Nebraska in 1912 & raised on a
Wyoming ranch before moving with his family to Chicago. Earned his commercial pilots license in
1930. Came to Anchorage April 1, 1934 & began flying for Star Air Service, then moved to Bethel to
fly for Marsh Airways. Partnered with Johnny Littley in 1935 to form Bethel Airways which went out
of business in 1936 after both its planes crashed. In 1937 Ray formed Ray Petersen Flying Service in
Bethel, which became part of Northern Consolidated Airlines through a series of mergers &
acquisitions. Ray became president & CEO and continued as Chairman of Wien Consolidated Airlines
after another merger with Wien Alaska Airlines. After retiring from aviation in 1979, Ray & his son
operated a group of fishing lodges in Katmai National Park. Ray died in Anchorage Aug 12, 2008
at age 96. Ray was inducted into the Alaska Aviation Museum Hall of Fame in 2001.