Aircraft

Veterans Air DC-3 ops documents deliver insight

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Veterans Air Express. Proper procedures, safety emphasis and insistence on professionalism. That’s an insight reinforced by DC-3 training ops documents. I know because DC-3 Chief Pilot Robert Chambers kept them and his son Bruce gave them to me!

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1945 Veterans Air Express crew list grows from 22 to 62

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In April 2015, my list of men who flew, crewed and managed my Dad’s airline was 22. Today, it’s 62 and includes three women! I’ve added 12 families to my own family along the way, shedding tears of joy and amazement. And I am indescribably motivated to find other 90-somethings (aka Nonagenarians) to share with the three I’ve already met. Photos of a small cadre of the men and women I seek are captured in this story. Come see if you recognize any of them!!!???

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Chief Pilot Robert Chambers

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A new treasure…a photo of Robert C. Chambers standing with our first DC-3 in 1945 while she still looked like the government surplus Army C-47 she had been. And breaking news…Chambers was the DC-3 Chief Pilot with Veterans! Bet you didn’t know that! I didn’t before today. Come see.

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Robert C. Chambers – Veterans Air Express

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I found the family of Veterans Air Express Robert C. Chambers this morning. Various research sources depicting his association with my Dad’s air line pointed me toward the family. Come read the story.

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Meet Veterans Air Express Flight Engineer Thomas Cowart. I did!

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In 1942 & ’43 the Army Air Corps turned Thomas E. Cowart from a farm boy into an aircraft mechanic and later a flight engineer. He flew the world as part of an Air Transport group led by Captain Cooper Walker. And after the war, Walker encouraged Cowart to join him at Veterans Air Express and fly the world again. Thomas tells me his vivid-memory story. Come meet him.

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Broughton, Martz, Cowart: Veterans Air Express Breaking News

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Look who I found!! Two sons, Craig & Robert, of 1945 1st Officer Richard Broughton. And two original crew members, Edward Martz, navigator, living in NJ and Thomas Cowart, flight engineer, living in SC. They ALL flew multiple trips for the Veterans Air Express United Nations war relief contract to Prague, Warsaw and Athens. It’s intriguing! And I am psyched!

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1946 Veterans Air Express operations base #2 sets up at Sebring Air Terminal

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Timing is everything. Veterans Air Express needed a major maintenance and repair facility. And Florida seemed a location ideally suited to their growing cargo and passenger business. Hendricks Field, an AAF Pilot School during WWII in Sebring, FL was being deactivated and transitioned into Sebring Air Terminal. Photos & news clips from archives unfold the story.

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Veterans Air Express contract with UNRRA flown by Stettner, Jakeman, Noll, et al.

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An “experimental” DC-4. A high-energy group of hardworking ex-servicemen. A Veterans Air Express UNRRA contract for cargo flights behind the iron curtain. And Newark/Miami winter passenger flights. By mid-1946, the all-veterans organization was becoming recognized and starting to thrive.

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Stettner verifies Veterans Air Express 1945 history.

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My research project into Veterans Air Express 1945 history gets huge boost. My face-to-face meeting with 92-year old Jack Stettner, founding member & pilot, reveals great stories. And his Logbook contains my “missing” DC-3.

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Veterans Air Express Reunion a special celebration

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Veterans Air Express Reunion gave new meaning to “together again.” This first-ever gathering felt like old home week with Jack Stettner and his family in Florida recently. Come share our new photos & some 70-yr old history.

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Then & There…

A RECOMMENDED READ and irreplaceable for me: "Memories of the Jing Bao & Beyond," Authors Choice Press, 2001. Written by our own JACK Z. STETTNER - Veterans Air Express Co-Founder, Investor, Pilot and Operations Manager. As well as his considerable WWII experiences, Jack's book revealed new details about Veterans Air Express...plus the spirit and character of this organization that Jack obviously loved!