Saturday, March 9, 2013

Remembering Patricia Moran, Part 1

A few weeks ago, Lona Falenczykowski lent me a book of poetry written by Patricia Moran in 1962, titled Come Fly With Me.  I wanted to purchase a copy of the book and to learn more about Pat Moran.  I asked Karen Schmit, editor of BITS & PIECES, and Bob DuBert, editor of NWA History Centre's REFLECTIONS, to publish an inquiry in their respective newsletters. Thanks to their loyal readers, I now have more information about Pat Moran and her book of poetry. Sadly, Darlene Jevne, Nancy Lowman and Harry Bedrossian all wrote to tell me that Pat was lost in a NWA crash off the coast of Alaska. I needed to do some research to obtain more details, which was a pretty frustrating exercise.
 Most reports were succinct, but leaving lots of questions.  I was able to determine, however, in an article published in Air & Space, September, 2010, (magazine of the Smithsonian Air & Space museum) that NWA 293 was a military charter, transporting members of the military and their families, as well as Department of Defense employees, from McChord Air Force Base, near Tacoma, WA to Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, Alaska. The article says, "During the first half of the trip, radio communications indicated an uneventful flight.  About two and a half hours after departure, though, the pilots requested clearance to climb from 14,000 to 18,000 ft.  Controllers told them there was traffic at the requested altitude.  No one replied.  In that interval, something catastrophic occurred, but what? The answer lies under more than 8,000 ft. of water in the Gulf of Alaska."  Here's a link to the article, titled "Cause Unknown," that chronicles five of the most stubbornly unyielding mysteries in aircraft accident investigation.
Six NWA crew members lost their lives June 3, 1963, over 100 miles WSW of Annette Island, Alaska, on NWA 293. A limited amount of debris was recovered, but no passenger or crew bodies.
My thoughts are presently with the families and friends of Capt. Albert Olsen, first officer Donald Wenger, flight engineer Kenneth A. Larson, and F/As Donald Schaap, Joan Morris and Patricia Moran.
Pat Moran's book of poetry, "Come Fly With Me." was published in 1962, one year before her death.
As I was writing this post today, I received another email from Nancy Lowman, telling me that when she opened her copy of Pat's book, a newspaper article about the crash with Pat's photo, fluttered out. She offered to send it to me.  When I receive it, if the photo is in good enough shape, I'll publish Pat's photo in the blog.  Thank you so much, Nancy!  Stay tuned . . . 


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