This is the second half of a letter from Ced explaining how things are at Woodley Airfield during a typical end-of-fishing season.
Page 2 Ced extract
This year, Woodley rode into the Bay business full speed ahead – – an Electra, a Boeing and a Stinson, with the Travelair also available, if needed. The only handicap was that we had no float ship to get the man up to the Army base (this being the only airfield suitable for large ships in the whole Bristol Bay region). This, however, wasn’t too bad a handicap, as the Army barge brings the man from Naknek to the base on their regular scheduled trips twice a day. Things looked pretty good for a banner year. On one of the first trips of the Stinson, however, the left engine “blew up”, and pilot Booth had to land at Kenai. Art (Woodley) went down in the Boeing and brought in the passengers and Booth, and that afternoon, Frank, Roland and I went to Kenai with our tools and another engine and installed it, getting back to Anchorage in the Stinson the following evening. That was two weeks ago tomorrow night. We went home and ate our suppers, went back and worked till 5 AM Tuesday morning, getting the final adjustments corrected and giving the other two engines a routine check. Since that time, work has been nigh on to a nightmare. We never know whether it will be day or night work – – and so it goes. We do get our sleep pretty well, but quite often take two sessions at once trying to catch up. There have been no other failures but little things keep popping up along with the necessary routine servicing and maintenance, and the ball never seems to stop bouncing and is always a half a jump ahead of us. However, we are doing a bigger percentage of the business than ever, and if we can just limp along until the work down there is finished, it will be a job well done. We hope it will be over by this time next week, but the way it looks, I don’t want to plan on it. (Editor’s note: As far as I can figure it, this letter was written August 2nd or 3rd). Some days we send the three big ships down several times each and the Travelair twice, but then again, the fisherman get a couple of drinks or something and fail to board the barge for the Army Base and our planes and pilots sit at the Base and twiddle their thumbs. Today was typical. We mechanics worked till 11:30 last night getting everything ready for today. The Boeing, with Art and a new copilot, and the Stinson with Booth, both took off at 6 AM this morning for the Bay. The Travelair took off around 9:30 just as I arrived at the field after a short sleep. It was on the “Milk Run” to Kenai, Ninilchik, Kasilof and Homer. This run is steady, twice a week, hence the name. The Electra took off at 9:45 for the Bay. The Boeing returned to Anchorage around 11 and was serviced for another trip. When that was completed, the Travelair came in from the “Milk Run” and was ready for another trip just about the time the Stinson arrived from Naknek. We serviced the Stinson and by that time the Electra had arrived and they brought word that there were 18 men due in tonight at the Naknek base. As all ships weren’t needed for 18 men it was hoped that all could stay in Anchorage overnight, but Art said, “No”, and so all four took off for the Bay again and we went home to grab some rest so that we could service them around eight or 9 o’clock this evening when they started straggling in again. But – – it seems that the barge arrived at the Bay empty, and so the whole works remained overnight and we got to sleep a normal shift again. Tomorrow they may all have to make a couple of trips each and then one of them will have to be on hand Tuesday for the regular Juneau run.
I am now classified 2-B and deferred until February 2nd, 1945. Once again, I’ve taken stick in hand and have gone into the ozone, bird fashion. I flew with an instructor Thursday and Saturday of last week and today for a while and then soloed out for one landing. I did fairly well but am still pretty rusty. I had to ask for a duplicate license as I never found the old one.
Dick’s theory on why one should not write too often is a lulu and for a better suggestion, I pass, bowing in defeat first crack off the bat. To him goes the ring-nosed Amazon.
Tomorrow, Marian tells us about part of her trip from Pomona, Caliornia. to Jackson, Mississippi.