The Earl E. Myers Story
Page 1 of 3 Pages
|After departing Pease Air Force Base, we, as a family, started South on US 1, headed for Florida. This was before the Interstates. US 1 went through every town and city, with starts and stops, some that were well known for speed traps. We were in no hurry anyway. We did not set a time to drive or rest, just take it as it came. U.S. 1 was a well traveled highway that was antiquated by today’s standards. Much of this old roadway is still in operation to this day. We finally arrived in Miami Beach where I had attended training in military basics, preparing to enter Aviation Cadet Pilot Training in early 1943. We all enjoyed staying on the "Beach" with no pressures as we started our new chapter of life.
After becoming well-rested, we continued on to the western part of Florida and then up the coast to St. Petersburg, We then continued on a meandering route to Independence, Mo, my old home town. We found a three bedroom home to our liking and purchased it on a 30 year contract. It still is in the family as of this writing, 2003. Now that our children are grown and have homes of their own, the home has been placed on the market, for sale.
With the family settled, it was now time to choose how I would apply my military flying experience in the field of civil aviation. I had already obtained my Commercial Pilots Certificate, Airline Transport, Certified Flight Instructor and Certified Instrument Flight Instructor ratings. I headed for the Kansas City Municipal Airport and took steps to establish Jet Charters at Dan Missenger's Hanger on the west side of the airport. I arranged for the purchase of a Lear Jet with serial # 125. It was a beautiful airplane and it created a lot of interest at any airport where I happened to land.
My first task was to make this new “Jet Charter” service known to the general public, especially some of the businesses that were most likely to need and could afford our specialized services. This was accomplished with media advertising, personal contacts with local businesses and demonstration flights for likely clients.
The normal crew for a Lear Jet is pilot and copilot. There was a ready supply of potential copilots who wished to log time in a Lear Jet. As applicants were interviewed, selected and chosen to assume this duty, I had to remain constantly alert to assure they were both qualified and sufficiently motivated to fill their position. There was a degree of turnover and, for that reason, I will not dwell upon their varying performance or name identification as this story unfolds.
My first serious contact was taking the owner of an insurance company to the destination of his choice. We soon had two contracts, one for the Company and one for the personal use of the owner, his family and friends. Our new venture began to show signs of life.
N651 LJ was the first aircraft for our company. After obtaining the contract with the Insurance firm in Kansas City there were numerous flights during the week for the executives on insurance business and on weekends with the insurance company's owner and his wife. After a hurricane or tornado, we would visit the area of disaster for as long as it took to settle the claims submitted. The flight crew was not involved in any of the claims paperwork, but were on standby for whatever developed to transport staff to different areas and then return to Kansas City when completed.
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On one flight, in letting down from 41,000 feet to the traffic pattern and under radar surveillance approaching Corpus Christe, at about 10,000 feet we met a flight of 6 Navy fighters going the opposite direction and climbing. It was just an eye wink from a head on with them. Needless to say the flight crew was distraught. Approach control had us the complete time and departure control had the Navy aircraft. No coordination was displayed between the controllers. Of course the FAA was involved and a lot of paper work was required. Our Father!
The company had numerous claims along the Gulf Coast during periods of disaster and in the midwest during tornados Our fearless leader was in his 80's and his wife not very far behind. She was a most gracious lady. On one flight to San Juan, P.R. the boss had round-trip tickets from San Juan to Kennedy, NY on one of the first scheduled flights of the Boeing 747. He had me accompany them. It was real luxury. I was sitting in the most forward section of the aircraft and actually landed before the flight crew did. The cockpit is about 35 feet aft of the nose. I went aft during flight and here was the boss's wife reading Playboy. Of course I had to go to the "front office" and meet the flight crew and spent about an hour in the cockpit. This was way before all the restrictions that are in effect now. The food was great and it was very seldom that I had a chance to really "relax" during a flight. The Cuba Libra was great. We stayed at one of the hotels at Kennedy and had a scrumptious dinner. Next morning back to the 747 and returned to Puerto Rico, a 2.5 hour flight. We went through the Bacardi factory where we were hosted first class and enjoyed the Hospitality Room. On departure from Bacardi a gift of three bottles of the "BEST" was presented to us. This was a daily occurrence for all visitors.
On all return flights to the U.S. we stopped at Palm Beach where the family owned a very expensive condo. Our crew stayed at the Holiday Inn near Palm Beach International Airport. We would return to Kansas City in a couple of days with the family and whoever else might have been a guest. What a way to go!
Almost all the Caribbean Islands were visited with overnights for several days. Tough on the flight crew, just bask in the sun and relax. On one occasion while stretched out on the beach and half asleep, I felt sand being kicked on me. With one eye partly open there stood the owner and his wife. He stated "Say Earl, are you getting paid for this"? Of course he was kidding. Tough life for the flight crew.
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