Scotty was born in 1905, so his birthday on July 15, 2004, was technically his 99th Birthday. Dick adroitly sidestepped that issue by calling the day the start of Scotty's 100th year! Perhaps Dick, and others, were worried that Scotty wouldn't make it to his 100th. Well, they need not have worried, for Scotty was spry enough to enjoy two more big parties! (At a talk I once heard Scotty give, he bragged that he was "so old, that he didn't buy green bananas!")
Scotty was the Station Attendant and Assistant Mechanic for Pacific Air Transport at Pearson Field in Vancouver, Washington, which was the airport serving Portland, across the Columbia River. The airmail pilots taught him to fly in their reserve ship, an OX-5 powered Waco 9. He soloed there on Feb 25, 1927 after just 3 hours and 40 minutes of instruction! This was before Lindbergh had flown the Atlantic.
In October 1927, his boss bought a new Travel Air, that was shipped to Portland by rail. Scotty went by himself to retrieve the airplane, assembled it next to the boxcar on the siding, and flew it out from alongside the railroad tracks. It was his first flight as a test pilot.
On March 22, 1928, while flying the Travel Air in the Seattle area, bad winds forced Scotty to divert from his home base - a strip in West Seattle. He landed instead on the runway, still under construction, at the as yet unopened Boeing Field. The next morning - early, he flew back to home base. He thus became the first pilot to land, and take-off from, Boeing Field - shown above during it's Official Opening - July 26, 1928. (Look at all those cars!!! People appreciated airplanes and airfields in those days.)
On May 7, 1929, Scotty, with three passengers, and two 30 gallon fuel drums in the front seat, flew from Juneau to Cordova, across the Gulf of Alaska in 4 hours and 20 minutes. The next year, on July 3, 1930, one of Scotty's passengers on a flight from Ketchikan to Cordova was a young school teacher from Minnesota. Miss Myrtle Smith became the first female passenger to cross the Gulf. With three stops, the flight took 7 hours and 45 minutes. Scotty and Myrtle were married in 1934 and were married for 65 years.
Myrtle Smith deplaning after arrival in Cordova
Scotty met William Boeing enroute to Alaska one day, and went on to become his personal pilot for many years. After serving as a United Air Lines Captain, flying Boeing 247s, he eventually went on to become a Boeing test pilot. He was head of Boeing Production Flight Test for over 25 years , test flying at least 13 different models, including the 247, B-17, B-29, B-47, B-52, 707 and 727. That's quite a range of flying machines, going back to the Travel Air on the railway siding! He took over 1000 B-17s on their first flights, and considered the B-52 to be his favorite. A good judge, considering the B-52 has been flying for over 50 years, and may wind up serving more than 80.
One of Scotty's several crashes happened flying the above Cessna 195 back to Renton, when the engine quit over the Cascades. Dazed and fuel soaked, Scotty spent the night in the wreck, before hiking out in the morning.
On July 15, 2006, we joined once again, in a hangar at Renton Airport -- now known as Clayton Scott Field -- to celebrate Scotty's 101st Birthday. A fabulous commissioned piece of art was unveiled depicting Scotty in his youth. In the picture on the right you can see Scotty admiring it after it was unveiled.
Scotty was an amazing individual. He survived three airplane crashes and a few forced landings. And he continued actively flying and working on airplanes in his retirement, and right up until the end.
He witnessed - no, he participated in, most of the history of aviation. We won't be able to say that again.....
As time permits, I hope to add more from the terrific Remembrance Book. It would be nice if it were available for all in the world to see on the web.