|Roy Dickson 1930s Alaska Bush Pilot
|FIRST TIME PUBLISHED
|BIOGRAPHIES (S - V) of 1920s-1930s Era ALASKA BUSH PILOTS
MURRELL SASSEEN - Born January 16, 1906. Learned to fly in San Bernardino, CA. First flew
in southeastern Alaska for Ketchikan Airways, then Alaska Southern Airways out of Juneau.
Came north and flew for McGee Airways and Star Air Service in the mid 30's, then Mirow Air
Service in Nome. Joined Air Corps in WW II and flew in the Air Transport Command. Flew for
Woodley Airways, then employed by Alaska Coastal until he retired in Redmond, WA where he
died in May 1974.
RALPH W. SAVORY - Born in Santa Clara, CA area Oct 14, 1909. Learned to fly at Speed
Johnson's Flying School, San Mateo, CA in 1929. Ralph brought a Curtis Thrush to Anchorage in
1935. Flew independently out of Anchorage, then for Star Air Service. The Alaska Air Pilots'
Association was formed in 1938 with Roy Dickson as first president, Burt Ruoff as Vice President
and Ralph Savory as Secretary. Went to Pacific Alaska Airways in 1939, flew Fairbanks - Juneau
route. Became PAA Chief Pilot. In October 1957 Captained a Pan Am Clipper on a charter flight
from San Francisco to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica via Fiji, Australia & New Zealand returning via
London, making an around the world flight. Later became Pan American's West Coast Chief Pilot.
Died Jan 18, 2010 in California. Picture courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Digital
GEORGE S. "TONY" SCHWAMM - Born August 31, 1902 in California. Was a Hollywood stunt flyer starring in
Howard Hughes' "Hells Angels." Came to Petersburg, Alaska in 1937 & founded Petersburg Air Service, flying into
Juneau. In Naval Reserve during WW II as Lt. Commander. Moved to Anchorage in 1949 as first Director of
Aviation for the Territory. Was a delegate to 1956 Democratic National Convention. Became manager of Anchorage
International Airport and was Anchorage Postmaster in 1963. Died of natural causes in Alaska in February, 1966.
CLAYTON L. "SCOTTY" SCOTT - Born July 15, 1905 at Coudersport, PA. Soloed Feb 25,
1927 in a Waco 9. In May 1929 while flying for Gorst Air Transport in southeast Alaska, flew
an amphibious plane from Juneau to Cordova, the first commercial crossing of the Gulf of Alaska.
Went to Seattle in the early 30s and became Bill Boeing's personal pilot. Was chief production
test pilot for Boeing from 1940-1966. In 2005 the Renton Municipal Airort was renamed Clayton
Scott Field. He kept his pilots license active for 79 year. Died September 28, 2006 at Mercer
Island, WA at age 101.
SHELDON B. "SHELL" SIMMONS - Born October 8, 1908 in Clearwater Co., Idaho, reared in
Grandview, WA. In 1925 went to Alaska as an electrician at the Alaska-Juneau Mine. In 1929 went
to Yakima, WA & learned to fly at a flying school run by John L. Seawall, a WW I pilot. Went back to
southeast Alaska and after several failed attempts at air service involving the only Curtiss Jennie on
floats and an open-cockpit Aero-Marine Klem, started Alaska Air Transport in 1935, joined with
Alex Holden's Marine Airways in 1939 to form Alaska Coastal Airlines, which joined with Ellis
Airlines in 1965 for form Alaska Coastal-Ellis Airlines, which became part of Alaska Airlines in 1968.
Shell became a Director Emeritus of Alaska Airlines in 1981. He died Nov 16, 1994 in Juneau. He was
inducted into the Alaska Aviation Museum Hall of Fame in 2010.
MURRAY STEWART - Flew a Boeing flying boat in Southeast Alaska in the early 30s with Gorst Air Transport until
it was sold to Pacific Alaska Airways. Then became one of Pan American's top pilots. Brought first jet into Anchorage
International Airport. Died of natural causes.
MERLE K. "MUDHOLE" SMITH - Born September 22, 1907 in Kansas. Learned to fly in 1928 &
barnstormed in the midwest. "Kirk" Kirkpatrick brought him to Alaska in 1937 to fly for Cordova Air
Service. Bob Reeve observed his plane nosed over in a mud hole & gave him his nickname. Became
president of Cordova Air Service after Kirkpatrick was killed in a 1939 crash. In 1952 merged with
Christensen Air Service to become Cordova Airlines which merged with Alaska Airlines in 1968.
"Mudhole" was a vice-president & director of Alaska Airlines until 1973. He was inducted into the
OX5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame & into the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum Hall of Fame in 2006.
He died June 16, 1981 at Cordova. The Cordova Airport is named Merle K. (Mudhole) Smith Airport.
A.J. VALLEY - Was an instructor for Steve Mills at Star Air Service in Anchorage. Later flew for Goodnews Bay
Mining Co. Left Alaska at beginning of WW II.
DAN VICTOR - Born September 27, 1901. Flew for McGee and Star Air Service in mid-1930's. Later went to work
for CAA and died in a crash in November, 1942 between Nulato and Unalakleet in the Interior.