40 Years Ago, Retired Pilot Took His Fantasy Flight

On September 15th, 1980 Piper Cub N87927 departed the Bayport Aerodrome on a fantasy flight dreamed up by its owner, and 70-year-old pilot.

December, 04, 2020  |  Posted in: Pilot Stories

Herbert ottewill bayport aerodrome society

On September 15th, 1980 Piper Cub N87927 departed the Bayport Aerodrome in Long Island, New York on a fantasy flight dreamed up by its owner, and 70-year-old pilot, BAS Charter Member Herbert A. Ottewill.

Since his retirement as a TWA 747 Captain in 1970, he dreamed of flying his J-3 across the country and back the old fashioned way, the way he learned in the early 1930s with no radios or navigation aids outside of a chart and compass.

Accompanied by his friend and fellow TWA Captain (and former Navy fighter pilot) Don Frazier, he accomplished just that making it all the way to Oceanside California, and back to Bayport by October 3rd.

Herb ottewill jackie mineo 1992

Herb was born in Flushing in 1910 and grew up dreaming of becoming a pilot. After graduating from NYU he finally accomplished that dream when he soloed at Roosevelt Field in 1933.

He served as an aviator in the Naval Reserve from 1941-1962 rising to the rank of Captain. During WWII he flew Navy transports in Alaska and across the treacherous North Atlantic. After the war, he became an Airline Transport Pilot flying everything from the DC-3 to the 747.

He accumulated 34,000 flight hours with 1167 Atlantic crossings during his long career. As a Charter Member of the Bayport Aerodrome Society Herb was an active pilot and leaseholder for many years and continued to fly his be-loved Cub until he was 86 years old.

Herb Went West at age 88 on September 12, 1999.

This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue of the Bayport Aerodrome Society newsletter "The Eaglet"


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