Robert Montanarella

1945 Veterans Air Express crew list grows from 22 to 62

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!!!???

Fly anything to anybody from anywhere. VAE’s 1945 plan.

High up in the cockpit of a turned-up-nose DC-3, Robert Montanarella waves from the pilot's seat. Just below his left elbow is the aircraft's name plate -- GAYE LYN, named after Veterans Air Express founder's daughter.

While they were planning their first cargo flight, this DC-3 was still being converted from an Army C-47 to its
“civilian” status. That’s Robert Montanarella in the cockpit, Veterans Air first pilot who, along with company founder, Saunie Gravely, had the backbone, energy and enthusiasm to get this venture off the ground.