ONA stories by Al Quack
My ONA and Other Airline
Experiences by Al Quack
San Francisco and
Golden Gate Bridge
Al at San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco 1967
HEY HEY ONA!
To enlarge click on photos!|
AROUND THE WORLD WITH ONA
Al Quack tells about his ONA flights
which took him twice around the globe.
Al is another ONA globetrotter!
I bid and was awarded the DC-8 class and started
to ground school on September 3, 1968 at ONA JFK,
NY facility. We used National Airlines DC-8
simulator in Miami. Check Captains were: Bill
Carson and Don Teeslink and Check Flt. Engineers
Dave McCloy, Dick Halberslaben and Dick Howard.
After I got all checked out in the DC-8 aircraft,
I flew many trips to Europe and the Pacific, during
my eleven years employment.
My first Round the World flight of eight days started
on April 17, 1969 from JFK, NY, ferry to McGuire AFB,
NJ, fly to Anchorage, Alaska, fly to Tokyo, Japan,
fly to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, ferry to Bombay, India,
ferry to Rome, Italy, ferry to Amsterdam, Holland,
then dead head to Copenhagen, Denmark, then fly to
JFK, NY on April 24, 1969. The Capt. was Frank Kleczek
and Co-Pilot Carroll Jones. Out of Tokyo the Capt. was
Bill Hobbs, Co-Pilot Chuck Reuter and Nav. R. Frittier.
My second Round the World flight was also one of my
unusual trips and started June 4, 1970, was a dead head
(Commercial Flight) from JFK, NY to Athens, Greece stay
overnight. Then pick up our DC-8 aircraft from another
ONA crew bringing it in from the states and fly it with
a cargo load (High Density) to Singapore, with a fuel
stop in Bombay, India.
The aircraft still had the entire passenger seats
installed in the main cabin. The Custom man at Bombay
came onboard and looked at our manifest also noticing
all the seats and said Cargo Flight?
Our Captain said yes high-density cargo. It so happens
that this was one of the last flights or the last
shipment of Gold Bars being transferred from US to
Singapore over the past few weeks. I was waiting for
the Custom man to ask next, what kind of high-density
cargo is it? I thought if we tell him what it is, we
probably wonít get out of here, but he didnít ask,
We had a Bank Representative riding onboard with a
shotgun they gave him still in the box (he said he
wouldnít use it no matter what). He said they put
sheets of plywood lining the belly compartments floor
down first, then a layer of Gold Bars then another
layer of plywood and etc.
We never saw any of it; armed Military soldiers
unloaded it at Singapore airport.
I heard later that the first few flights of this
Gold shipment ONA used the Electra aircraft and later
changed to the DC-8 aircraft. Probably to cut down on
extra crews and fuel stops. We stayed overnight at
Singapore, then ferried the aircraft to Seoul, Korea
then flew the trip to Anchorage, Alaska then on to
Bangor, Maine and then dead head to JFK, NY arriving
June 11, 1970.
Making it eight days to complete the whole trip.
The Captain was Frank Foster, Co-Pilot O. Deroule and
Navigator J. Roberts were on the trip with me.
One trip Aug. 1971 we landed in Stuttgart, Germany
and had three days before our next trip out of Amsterdam.
Originally the whole crew was to commercial from
Stuttgart to Amsterdam, but the Captain talked crew
schedule into letting us rent cars and drive, which
turned out to be cheaper than the airfare.
Very interesting road trip and very scenic, also always
wanted to take the boat ride down the Rhine too and
drive back with stops at the different Castles,
but not till my wife could do it with me too.
I flew a lot of Hadj trips in and out of Jeddah,
Saudi Arabia like everybody else did over the
course of my employment with ONA, canít say I
enjoyed those flights.
In Nov. 1976 we were based in Morocco flying
trips out and back to Jeddah and I got food
poisoning from one of the crew meals I had
eaten. I was out sick for a month, wonít
forget that experience.
And oh yes the Air Siam flights I flew with ONAís
aircraft painted in Air Siam colors, from Los
Angeles to Honolulu and back to LA after 48 hour
layover in Hawaii.
Those were very nice flights with great layovers
in Hawaii. Took my wife on one and so did the
Co-Pilot Charlie Mott and they stayed in Hawaii
while we made trip back to LA and back again.
At one time I just bid Bangor to LA and LA to
Bangor trips for the month. Staying at the
Twin City Motel in Bangor was almost like
going home, because they were so friendly there
and knew everybody. Same with LA staying at
Hacienda Hotel was also very friendly to all
the ONA crews. Meeting up with other ONA crews
staying at both places from other trips
also made it enjoyable too.
Bangor International Airport
Off road en-route adventure
A bid trip with an unexpected road trip in between
flight legs in Aug. 1977. We landed in Milan, Italy
on ONA aircraft N865F. Our crew was supposed to
deadhead (Commercial) to Nice, France to position
for our next trip out. The Captain thought it
would be a good idea to rent three cars and drive
since we didnít leave till late the 15th. So our
representative checked with NY Ops for approval
then rented three cars and the whole crew piled
into them, the Captain drove one, the Co-Pilot
drove the second and I drove the third one.
We all left at the same time, but they both started
driving way too fast for me, since there wasnít any
speed limit that I could see. I was driving a speed
I felt safe at, but I wasnít staying up with them
and it wasnít long before the other two cars were
out of site.
Two times during the trip they pulled off and
waited for us to catch up, but then again they took
off driving too fast for me again. The countryside
was beautiful with the mountains and all during the
entire trip, also had to go through a couple of
tunnels in the mountains, which was really different.
I wanted to enjoy it all; because I knew this
probably would be the only time I would ever see
all this particular countryside.
Spain in my heart
Canít forget all the different Spain trips either,
such as; Madrid (went to my first & last bullfight
there), Barcelona, Malaga (Sangria drinks), Palma
and Mallorca, local people all very friendly,
nice trips with good layovers.
One trip we flew to Tangiers that was different and
another time a trip to Algiers where one of
our Flight Attendants took a picture of this street
merchant selling all kinds of hats and he had them
all stacked fairly high, which really made for a
unique picture. Come to find out seems the custom was,
you have to pay them first if you want to take their
picture. He chased her for a short distance, all the
while demanding money from her.
Needless to say after that, none of us took any
pictures of the local merchants. Later we all did
wander down through the Casbah just to see what
is was like and noticed one thing that stood out,
everybody had huge locks on their doors and a lot
had more than one, so what does that tell you!
JFK to LAX
Well Dec. 15, 1977 was my last DC-8 (A/C 864)
trip with ONA, JFK to LAX ferry to JFK. Capt.
Bob Templeton and Co-Pilot Tom Fenwick was the
crew with me. I was told I was being furloughed
as of the end of December, but would be called back
in January 1978 to go to DC-10 ground school
consisting approximately of a month.
At this time ONA was operating two DC-10-30
aircraft, but had two more on order from Douglas
Aircraft Factory and this class was going to
crew the two new planes.
The problem was Douglas mechanics were on strike
at this time and our two DC-10ís to be delivered
that spring were for ONAís summer charters.
Well, we finished ground school and then got
furloughed again, till ONA could set up DC-10
simulator time with American Airlines in Dallas.
About a month and a half went by and I got
a call from Flt. Engineer Bill Parks (who was
also in that class), who said he heard that ONA
was going out of business and we better start
looking for a job.
I heard later that because of the strike,
Douglas told them that they wouldnít
be able to deliver the two aircraft till
the fall of Ď78í, which of course is
too late for the summer charters they
had scheduled already.