Monday, November 29, 2010

Airplane! Actor Leslie Nielsen Made Us All Laugh!

Leslie Nielsen, one of the best comedic actors on the planet, died November 28, 2010, at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale. He was 84. I will always remember his performance in the movie Airport! in 1980. Especially the following exchange:
Dr. Ruble (Nielsen): Can you fly this plane and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Dr. Ruble: I am serious, and don't call me Shirley!
I turned to the web for Airplane! movie quotes to confirm the wording, and spent the next half-hour chuckling. Have a giggle along with me.
I also learned, from a New York Times obituary, that Nielsen was the son of a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and was of Danish heritage. The RCMP are another revered group of yours truly, as with all things Canadian, my father's birthplace. Plus all things Scandinavian, my mother being of Swedish heritage. Swedish, Danish, all the same.
Another item that caught my attention was a reference to Nielsen enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force before his 18th birthday. He trained as an aerial gunner during World War II, but was never sent overseas. So he knew airplanes, before Airplane!
I see that AMC will air the movie Airplane! tomorrow night, November 30. I'll be watching. Thank you Leslie Nielsen for continuing to entertain us!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Donald Nyrop Obituary

Donald Nyrop's obituary from today's StarTribune.

There is also an online guestbook if you wish to use it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Donald Nyrop

A legend died yesterday, November 16, 2010

Donald Nyrop at Mal Freeburg Day, flanked by Fay Kulenkamp, retired F/A, and
Bill Marchessault, current F/A; both dressed in vintage NWA uniforms

We think this was the last public appearance Mr. Nyrop made. The occasion was Mal Freeburg Day, June 24, 2010, sponsored by the City of Richfield. Mal Freeburg was an early pilot for Northwest Airlines and he lived in Richfield, MN, serving as its mayor in the 1940s.

Mr. Nyrop led Northwest Airlines as its C.E.O. in the 1950s, when I was working for NWA. He was often on my flights to Washington D.C. or New York City, and usually rode in a jump seat on the flight deck. He was always cordial and a gentlemen. Many stories abound, which will be shared here and in the NWA History Centre newsletter Reflections, due out in December.
The singular achievement people remember about Donald Nyrop was that he ran a tight ship, financially. In those days Northwest was profitable, had no debt and no subsidies. He bought airplanes on a handshake and paid for them with cash.
We are greatly saddened by the news. It is truly the passing of an era.
Services for Mr. Nyrop are pending.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Northwest Airlines History Centre Needs Your Participation in Give To The Max Day - Tuesday, November 16, 2010!

Ret. NWA Captain Joe Koskovich at the NWA History Centre in early 2009.
Please remember the Northwest Airlines History Centre during this 24-hour online giving blitz at
Beginning at 12:01 tomorrow morning, November 16, 2010, and continuing until Midnight, more than 3,000 Minnesota charities, churches, schools and non-profits are competing for your dollars.
The Northwest Airlines History Centre is registered with as a participating non-profit organization.
Every hour a donor is randomly selected to win $1,000 for the organization of their choice.
Early morning and late night hours will give the best opportunity to win extra $$$ for smaller organizations like the Northwest Airlines History Centre.
Funding is needed for converting pictorial and written documents to electronic media, which will greatly enhance the Northwest History Centre's value to present and future historians, aviation writers, and families of Northwest Airlines employees seeking information.
Tomorrow is the day! The Northwest Airlines History Centre needs your help.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love Hearing Those Engines Again . . .

Northwest Airlines Boeing 377 Crash At Chicago's Midway Airport 1955

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Come Fly With Me!

I took this photo of Bob Reardon and Bonnie Murray 50 years ago, in a Stratocruiser galley.
In 2008, American Express Departures magazine published a wonderful piece about six veteran cabin attendants, most with 50 or more years of service and still flying! I own a copy of the magazine, but had completely forgotten about it. A retired flight attendant friend, Mary Pat Laffey Inman, just sent me the link below, today. Some things have staying power, it seems. I'm glad it is still circulating in cyberspace. Give it a click - you'll enjoy reading what each of these "old timers" had to say.
Come Fly With Me! - Articles - Departures
And I especially love it because it features my NWA Boeing Stratocruiser working partner from the 1950s, Bob Reardon. Bob is a legend in his own time - I know from first-hand knowledge that he is still flying in 2010, at 85 years young, although the airplanes he works on today say Delta, instead of Northwest.
I'd love to know the current status of the others in the article.
Thanks, Mary Pat, for reminding me of this great piece.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lady Skywriter Website Updates

Have a look - starting with the Home Page and continuing through all of the pages, much of the Lady Skywriter content has been updated. We're taking a more historical view these days and focusing on Northwest Airlines as she was ~ a proud Legacy airline for 84 years, symbolized by the bright red tail that was so easy to identify.
Look for new additions. Check out the "Curiosities" located on the Preview page sidebar. Click on "In the News" on the Speaking Page for a radio interview.
And if you have never before clicked on the airplane on the Lady Skywriter banner at the top of all pages except the blog page, do it now and see what happens!
As always, please share your stories with us. We've been gathering more first-person recollections from many folks who either worked for NWA, or traveled on her, to include in another book to be published in 2011.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boeing 377 Thundering Around San Diego