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Overseas National Airways Crew Friendship Site
OVERSEAS NATIONAL AIRWAYS HISTORY BY FRED COX CREW FRIENDSHIP REUNION WEBSITE FIRST PUBLISHED JULY 16, 2000

Convertible
DC-8-55
Flagship
Contender

UACI 747
Saudi colors
June 1979 -
Febr 1981

Douglas
DC-8-55F
N851F,
Flagship Resurgence

Electra
L-188C N182H

DC-7B N953P
Oakland AP 1967

DC-8-55
Travis AFB,
CA 1969

DC-8 Zurich
Switzerland
July 1975

Steedman accepting
first DC-10

ONA AUTHORS

Article from AIR LINE PILOT submitted by Ed Kaye

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JANUARY 1973
ONA stewardesses

Far left Thila Gerber, second left
Winnie OīNeil (or Linda Gaetz?),
says Nancy Neil! Third from left
could be Barbel Stemmerman. Third from
left is Liz Frischherz (Ng), say Inge
& George Castrissiades! Nancy Waibel
is second from right say George Flavell
and Nancy Waibel Clemons!

Six pretty girls stand prim and cheerful,
ready to welcome capacity load of 248
passengers aboard their spic-and-span
airplane for trip home to the U.S.

  • Left to right
  • 1 - Thila Gerber
  • 2 - Winnie OīNeil or Linda Gaetz?)
  • 3 - Barbel Stemmerman
    (or Liz Frischherz?)
  • 4 - ?
  • 5 - Nancy Waibel Clemons
  • 6 - ?

    Nancy Waibel Clemons

  • INSTANT REFLEX AIRLINE


    Overseas National Airways operates
    on short notice any place on earth to
    provide its customers fast, safe
    service.

    By Lou Davis
    The note said: "Come ride with Overseas
    National Airways. See first hand how the
    crews work, what its like to be a part of
    an instant response air carrier, known
    officially as supplemental - signed Ray Blair."

    It was a nasty evening, Saturday, 
    September 3. Clouds were low and it was raining. 
    Just the kind of weather a pilot does not like, 
    regardless of where he is going or how great 
    the weather will be when he gets there.
    
    My instructions were to get aboard Overseas 
    National Airways Flight 2940, a stretched 
    DC-8-61, at Kennedy International Airport. 
    Scheduled departure time was 11 p.m. 
    Destination: Paris.
    
    To see what crew life was like, however, 
    it was suggested that I conform to its time 
    frame: Sleep to 6 p.m. (EDT). Leave the 
    hotel at 7:30 p.m. for the ONA office at 
    147-39 175th Street, Jamaica, just a stoneīs 
    throw from Kennedyīs charter terminal area. 
    The aim was to be just a little earlier 
    than the 9 p.m. time for crew assembly. 
    But the crew members were already there.


    Linda Gaetz

    Nancy Neil Fujarzyk

    Quite by coincidence, skipper for the
    flight was Captain Milton F. Marshall,
    ONAīs MEC chairman. First officer was
    Olen E. Cupp and engineer was Edmond J.
    Kaye. Senior stewardess would be Sonya
    Seibert of Alliance, Ohio.
    If preflight shores could ever be 
    routine, these were. R. Dixon Speasī 
    computerized flight data gave the best
    altitudes, power settings, headings, etc., 
    that would be ground in the inertial 
    navigation systems used by ONA. 
    There would be 248 revenue passengers, one 
    nonrevenue and three children. Gross weight 
    at takeoff was estimated at 351,000 pounds. 
    
    Flight time to Paris would be approximately 
    7 hours. Some low clouds on the other end 
    could result in approach delays. The 
    stewardess crew was exceptionally cheerful 
    considering the Saturday evening, Labor Day 
    weekend departure. The flight attendants 
    were busy checking manifests, cabin supplies 
    and agreeing on duty assignments. 
    
    
    
    
    High above the weather at 32,000 feet, 
    Captain Vern Kerns monitors inertial 
    navigation readout for mid-Atlantic 
    checkpoint.


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    Senior stewardess Sonya Seibert asks
    passengers to place carry-on-luggage
    under their seats.
    At 10 p.m. Engineer Kaye of East Islip 
    and the flight attendants took the 
    shuttle bus to the terminal to 
    preflight the airplane. Captain 
    Marshall and First Officer Cupp 
    followed a few minutes later.
    
    
    
    Dave McCloy, Captain Milt Marshall - RIP
    and Katchy Grandin Gursel at NY reunion
    
    The Kennedy charter terminal is truly 
    out in the boondocks. On this rainy, 
    foggy night, the scene resembled 
    airports in the early ī50s: corrugated 
    hangars and tool buildings with 
    nothing more than hut-sized buildings 
    for terminals. 
    
    Fog blanked the glittering palaces 
    of the scheduled carriers across the 
    field. On entering the DC-8, after a 
    dash up the loading stairs to shield 
    cameras from rain, I was impressed 
    with the view. Since Iīm mostly a 
    passenger, it isnīt often that I see 
    an airplane all polished and prim for 
    the first passengers. The pillows, 
    head-rest doilies, safety belts and 
    everything, were arranged in military 
    precision. For an instant it seemed a 
    shame to have the scene ruined by a 
    hoard of passengers. Since the name 
    of the game is revenue, however, 
    that vision was shortlived.
    
    ONA had arranged cockpit accessibility 
    for me. I would ride in the passenger 
    cabin during take-off and landing, 
    and be free to visit the cockpit at 
    any other time. Being able to visit 
    with ALPA members in their working 
    environment is a rare treat.
    
    Loading was painfully slow since the 
    terminal could only process a few 
    passengers at a time. All of the 
    passengers were French students, 
    returning from holidays in Arizona, 
    Mexico and other southwest points. 
    They carried bulky souvenirs, 
    along with airline flight bags and 
    musical instruments.


    Many passengers on this Dulles-bound
    flight were happy first flyers,
    already making plans to fly again.
    Finally, all 248 passengers were aboard 
    and Captain Marshall requested gate 
    clearance at 11:30 p.m. Fifteen minutes 
    later, the big DC-8 was airborne. First 
    stop Paris, then London, and a change of 
    crew.
    
    On the climbout, getting 248 student 
    passengers to settle down is quite a 
    problem. The professional and quietly 
    efficient manner of the cabin attendants 
    was really tested. Sonya Seibert and 
    Arnelle Pappas shared PA duties.
    
    
    
    Arnelle Pappas Meyer
    
    Arnelle, a former teacher of the French 
    language, ensured that all could 
    understand. While in the soup, not much 
    could be done about stowing carry-on 
    articles. 
    
    But we were above the weather and in 
    smooth air in 20 minutes.
    
    Then came the agonizing job of seeing 
    that all carry-on articles were under 
    the seats. Finally, in desperation, 
    Arnelle came to me and asked that I 
    walk up and down the aisle for her.
    She would give me the reason later, 
    but would I do it? Sure thing. 
    It was fun not knowing why.
    
    After my tour, she said: "It worked." 
    "What worked?" I asked. "Why, your walk, 
    of corse." 
    
    Then she explained: "I was having so 
    much trouble getting them to stow their 
    packages that I didnīt know what else I 
    could do. Then I got an idea. Have you 
    walk up and dwn the aisle. Then Iīd tell 
    them you were an inspector. 
    That did it!"


    Having done my good deed for the 
    day, I visited the flight deck. 
    Everything seemed quite familiar: 
    flight instruments, engine and 
    airplane gauges, knobs and buttons, 
    jump seat, etc. There was one 
    exception: Inertial Navigation 
    System readouts.
    
    Having heard about it for years, 
    this was the first opportunity to 
    see it work. Having made many 
    flights over the Atlantic in the 
    weather ship era, frustrated by 
    radio blackouts, etc., this made 
    ocean flying as comforting as 
    section line navigation was in 
    the Midwest before VOR.
    
    Marshall said: "Having three units 
    also provides the cross checks and 
    redundancy desired for an airline 
    like ONA, that operates anywhere in 
    the world on short notice." 
    
    Procedures are such that the average 
    error factor is one mile or less, 
    seldom exceeds five miles after four 
    to six hours of flying. Error 
    identification is swift and simple.
    
    One is impressed with the reality 
    that INS-type equipment coupled 
    with automatic data link satellite 
    relay systems, could very well open 
    the door to complete redrafting of 
    overocean route patterns within 
    the next decade.
    
    Cockpit work load has not decreased 
    at all. Communication and navigation 
    checks keep two men busy, with the 
    flight engineer handling INS update 
    data, in addition to normal airplane 
    system and fuel-monitoring work.
    
    Back in the cabin, three-by-three 
    seating makes for restless passengers 
    after two or three hours. Cabin 
    attendant teams must be expert at 
    weaving around clusters of standees 
    or those headed for the blue room. 
    Everyone has to move by the numbers. 
    Beverage carts and food service 
    traffic ensures that the stewardesses 
    are well trained and adapted to this 
    airborne cafe and its 8,000-foot-
    high environment.


    Ingenuity is in demand. On two 
    occasions, I found stewardesses trying 
    to unstick a balky food cabinet with 
    a bottle opener. With the battering 
    these units take from food-handling 
    operators, itīs surprising that they 
    work as well as they do.
    
    In my mission of duplicating crew time, 
    fighting off the desire to sleep kept 
    me alternating between the cabin and 
    flight deck. Having met sunshine 
    within a short time out of New York, 
    eating breakfast over England and 
    with the sun near high noon, my system 
    was having its share of conflicts.


    DC-8 Flight 4201 as the subject of a 
    close security inspection at Frankfurt Main
    Airport before its transatlantic flight to Dulles.
    The letdown to Le Bourget Airport near Paris was in sharp cntrast to U.S. procedures. The normal letdown is about as long and shallow as you can make it. Over France, the word "expedite" came at about 23,000 feet, cleared to 6,000 feet. This required a rate of descent with two engines reversed. An acceptable procedure but one that is not often used in the U.S. From 6,000 feet on top of cloud cover, control cleared 2940 to an approach on an ILS localizer to 3,000 fet under the overcast, then a VFR landing on another runway. Seven hours 12 minutes after rotating at Kennedy, our flight touched down at Le Bourget, the famous terminal of Lindberghīs 33 1/2 - hour nonstop flight from Roosevelt Field in 1927. With passengers departing for their homes, Flight 2940īs crew was not through. After baggage was unloaded, partial fuel was taken aboard. The next stop called for a one-hour ferry flight to Londonīs Gatwick Airport. There the crew would complete the log books, clear the airplane and head for a hotel. By the time we reached Gatwick and were enroute to the airport hotel, all had been on job related activities for more than 12 hours. This included nearly two hours of driving or commuting on New York City parkways to reach ONAīs operations office.

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    Work isnīt over upon landing, 
    however, as outgoing crews are 
    briefed, bar and galley paperwork 
    completed and baggage is gathered 
    for bus trip to hotel.
    
    During four days in London, it was 
    my privilege to meet and talk with 
    many airline crews. Some were ONA, 
    others were TWA, Pan Am, BOAC and 
    BEA. All exhibited the same 
    professional attitudes of devotion 
    to duty as the crew of Flight 2940.
    
    My return flight was a similar but 
    longer experience due to a ferry 
    flight to Frankfurt, and a nonstop 
    flight from there to Washingtonīs 
    Dulles International Airport.
    
    Designated Flight 4201, the crew 
    consisted of Captain Vern Kerns, 
    Flight Officer Jack Burow 
    and Engineer William S. Sieg. 
    Senior stewardess was Sharon 
    Eichler. Passengers were U.S. 
    citizens happy to be homeward bound 
    after 10 days or more touring Europe. 
    Some had attended the Olympics at 
    Munich, and were filled with horror 
    stories of the tragedy there. They 
    were also extremely conscious of 
    the need for security inspections 
    at Frankfurt.
    
    
    
    Jack Burow is on Facebook.
    
    To most pilots and stewardesses, 
    this account of a flight on ONA may 
    appear to be routine and match their 
    work point-for-point. If it does, 
    then this is the purpose of the 
    story.
    
    Too many people within the industry 
    and out tend to think that charter 
    flying is less safe, less 
    professional and less necessary than 
    scheduled flights. With headlines 
    screaming the dilemma of stranded 
    passengers in Europe who have been 
    left flightless by fly-by-night tour 
    organizers, it is understandable 
    that the charter industry suffers - 
    the good operators are tarnished by 
    the bad.


    Life for flight attendants on layovers is
    a succession of frantic struggles with
    baggage, interspersed with eight hours
    of duty.

    Whatever the individual airline pilot 
    or cabin attendant may think about 
    charter airliners, it is evident that 
    the supplemental airline management 
    itself shares very realtistic views 
    of its function in relation to the 
    scheduled carriers.
    

    Bill Bailey, president and chief operating officer of ONA, stresses that the charter carrierīs mission is to provide highly flexible, "instant reflex" airlift of the type U. S. scheduled air carriers cannot do. Whether itīs carrying wheat to the starving in Pakistan, medicine to disaster victims, troops or war material to Vietnam or Europe, or tours to Russia, India, Spain, Argentina or Australia, he interprets this work as being a healthy extra muscle to the total air transportation system capability. "We do it with reliability, procedures and standards that match the best of the system but at a price or cost that serves to develop new markets for the scheduled carriers," Bailey says. He indicates that studies conducted by independent sources show that new riders with supplemental carriers invariably become new business for the scheduled airlines. In an overview, it is interesting to note that ONA owns or leases 23 aircraft: six DC-8s, seven DC-9s and 10 Lockheed-Electras. It employs 200 pilots, 70 engineers and 230 cabin attendants.
    Captain Vern Kerns on another flight, courtesy Jan Dveris Wright.

    Schedule reliability is high, 
    considering the type of on-call 
    service performed an average 
    of 94 passenger and cargo 
    departures daily. Bailey reports 
    that daily utilization of all 
    aircraft is high. Since the 
    DC-8īs are most susceptible to 
    seasonal load variations, 
    he says that the daily 
    utilization in 1969 was 6.9 
    hours per day, and that in 1972 
    it has grown to 12.2 hours 
    per day.
    
    Pilot personnel follow the same 
    training and retraining schedules, 
    flight checks and physicals 
    as do scheduled-airline pilots. 
    They must conform to the same 
    FAA standards, ONA has its own 
    flight training department. 
    Aircraft, too, are subject to 
    similar treatment as scheduled 
    aircarrier planes. "We would not 
    want it any other way," Bailey 
    says. "Safety is our byword 
    with comfort, service and 
    reliability following, in that 
    order."
    
    He sounds a note of warning to 
    the whole U.S. air-carrier 
    industry: "Europe has accepted 
    the charter carrier as the 
    plowshare of the total system. 
    European airlines are bent on 
    stealing large shares of the 
    American market. If we do not 
    agree to practical roles for 
    the scheduled carriers and the 
    supplementals. we may very well 
    find the issue to be academic-
    with Europe running off with 
    our markets."



    Chairman and Chief Operating Officer
    Steedman Hinckley demonstrates
    supplementalīs innovative spirit
    with models of DC-10 that ONA will
    operate this year and proposed
    modern-day Mississippi River
    steamwheel tour boat planned for
    nautical buffs.
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    Steedman Hinckley adds: "ONA would be
    perfectly happy if we didnīt divert one
    passenger from the scheduled airlines.
    Weīd rather do the spadework for the
    industry, pipelining new passengers to
    them.

    "Unfortunately," Hinckley says, "the
    scheduled carriers have not had as
    moderate a view."

    While the government and the industry
    wrestle with the internal problems, ONA
    is planning ahead. It will place two
    345-passenger DC-10s in service, the
    first in April and the second in June.
    They will be used for nonstop runs
    between the West Coast and London, as
    well as in other high-volume markets.

    Bailey believes ways can be found to
    integrate supplemental-type service
    into the total system - as is being
    done by some airlines in Europe - to
    make sure that the system benefits from
    "the best of two worlds."

    As for the crews, they like their
    missions. They are well adapted to
    the instant-reflex requirement,
    something this passenger cannot
    claim for himself.

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    Convertible
    DC-8-55
    Flagship
    Contender

    UACI 747
    Saudi colors
    June 1979 -
    Febr 1981

    Douglas
    DC-8-55F
    N851F,
    Flagship Resurgence

    Electra
    L-188C N182H

    DC-7B N953P
    Oakland AP 1967

    DC-8-55
    Travis AFB,
    CA 1969

    DC-8 Zurich
    Switzerland
    July 1975

    Steedman accepting
    first DC-10

    ONA AUTHORS




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