Overseas National Airways Crew Friendship Site



UACI 747
Saudi colors
June 1979 -
Febr 1981

Flagship Resurgence

L-188C N182H

DC-7B N953P
Oakland AP 1967

DC-8 Zurich
July 1975

Steedman accepting
first DC-10

Holder of the ONA Super Wings Gold Award for magnificent contributions to the ONA Crew Web


DC-8 nose from Horizons




Homage to Paul Stark


Welcome aboard!


Left to right:
Anna-Liisa Wallin,
Marilyn White Doolittle
and Margie O´Grady

ONA HORIZONS 1950-1978


Cathy Adams, Maggie,
Judy Lonergan
and Ulla Andersson

Boston Logan Airport


To my ONA colleagues

My happy years at ONA

Among my fondest memories are happy times and 
camaraderie of working for ONA as a Ground 
Services Manager, a “rep”, starting at JFK, 
and including time based at Frankfurt, Malaga 
and Jeddah in addition to rep’ing flights 
through a lot of other places. Those days of 
being on the road 25 days or so a month, or 
being stationed for a month or more at places 
like Jeddah, Dacca, Karachi or Tel Aviv, were 
long ago, but reading the ONA web site, which 
I recently came across, brought back many 
happy memories. 

What I remember best are all the great folks I 
had the pleasure to work with, along with getting 
together in places like Torremolinos, or Rome, or 
Wiesbaden, or in many other cities, going out with 
the crew for dinner at some great place and everyone 
having a fun time. I wonder if airline staff and 
crew members today have the team spirit and 
enjoyment we ONA’ers had, flying and staying in 
so many different places all over the globe! 
Everyone meeting downstairs in the lobby to go out 
to dinner and enjoy each other’s company! We were 
all young and ready for adventure and camaraderie! 
Good old days!

I started with ONA in the old charter terminal at 
JFK, working flights there and through out the 
East Coast. Late in the summer, I got sent to 
Frankfurt to help out for a few weeks. As I walked 
off the plane, Helmut Jaeger introduced himself 
and said we were catching a flight to Athens the 
next morning! I was there for more then two weeks. 

At that time, ONA paid ground staff $16 in per 
diem, good money in those days. I got a nice room 
for about $3.50 a night and rented a Spitfire 
convertible! What a blast! The hotel was right 
near a runway and the old Athens airport terminal, 
and in certain wind directions, planes flew almost 
directly above the hotel on landing. The first 
time it happened, I fell out of bed thinking a 
plane was crashing into the hotel! It soon became 
clear why the room was so reasonably priced! I got 
used to it, and although in general ONA personnel 
stayed in nice hotels, NOT ALWAYS!

I worked in Jeddah for three Hadj seasons, and the 
first year there we had almost all our big planes 
committed, but unfortunately in those days there 
wasn’t enough hotel rooms available to properly 
accommodate all the crews, technicians and ground 
staff in Jeddah. I got sent down there before the 
Hadj started to try to find some rooms, but there 
were simply none available at any price. Many 
crew members will remember flying in from Jakarta 
or some place, and having to wait until the outbound 
crew left for the airport and their rooms were 
cleaned before the incoming crew could get some 
sleep. I also think some will remember that hotel 
wasn’t really up to modern standards, although 
it was within walking distance to the rug merchants 
across from the old Hadj Terminal, which was a 
great place to go shopping for handmade rugs brought 
in by pilgrims from Iran and other countries. The 
hotel was also a short taxi drive from the Gold 
Souk – anyone remember being there when the shops 
all closed for prayer? In those days, some shops 
would often simply pull down a curtain and not 
even lock their doors!

I liked Jeddah, and got to know some of the key 
personnel there fairly well. I remember one day 
being called to come to the airport immediately! 
An ONA crew had been caught with LIQUOR! 

Strictly forbidden! 

I jumped in the car, fearing the worse. But when 
I got there, the guy in charge, Captain Faddal 
seemed strangely amused. He said, “Mr. Adam, it 
seems an ONA crew was caught with liquor hidden 
on the crew bus going back to the hotel due to 
a canceled flight”. 

This is serious, even today, and I couldn’t 
figure out why he didn’t seem as upset as I 
expected. He went on to explain to me that they 
had NEVER had a case of “liquor” being smuggled 
OUT of Saudi Arabia! The guilty crew shall be 
un-named (mainly due to poor memory, almost 
four decades later), but it seems that the 
ONA cockpit crew had been based there in Jeddah 
for the Hadj, and had developed a taste for 
what the expatriates called “Sidiqqui”, which 
loosely translates as “My Friend”, or what we 
might call “moonshine”. There was a thriving 
market for “white” (which tasted like vodka) 
or “brown”, which had been soaked in wood 
chips to provide a whiskey color, if not the 
taste. One of the crew members wanted to take 
some back to the US, but the flight got canceled 
due to mechanical problems, and they tried to 
take it back to the hotel, but were caught at 
the exit search. 

Anyway, it was all worked out with the airport 
authorities, but I can assure you that after 
that I received many comments from airport staff 
about the ONA crew members caught smuggling out 
moonshine FROM the “dry” Kingdom! The authorities 
actually had quite a laugh about it!

Thinking of the Hadj flights brings back a lot 
of memories, but it was a unique bit of history 
for ONA, with a very substantial numbers of staff 
working there in Jeddah, as well as in Morocco, 
Indonesia and other countries. Some of you know 
that after three Hadj seasons there with ONA, I 
had gotten to know the team well at Saudia, 
Saudi Arabian Airlines. They offered me a job, 
and I ended up working and living there for eight 
and a half years as Manager Route Planning and 
Development! More recently, our oldest daughter, 
who is a Doctor, works at a hospital in Riyadh. 
In some ways, the more things change, the more 
they remain the same!

A lot of fond memories, but the best for me is 
that I met my wife Sharon on her very first 
flight as an ONA stewardess. She flew in to 
Malaga, and the cabin crew all went down to 
the beach at the old Aloha Playa, the hotel 
in Torremolinos ONA used at the time. After 
the outbound flight left, I went back to the 
hotel and down to the beach as well, and ran 
into the crew. Marilyn White was the Senior 
Flight Attendant on the crew, and she 
introduced me to Sharon. 

Thank You, Marilyn! 

We all had lunch at a place there on the beach, 
and that night we all went out to dinner. 
I made sure to sit next to Sharon, and the 
rest is history! Sharon only worked that one 
summer for ONA, but we have been together for 
38 years now, with two grown daughters and a 
5-month old grand daughter. We loved our three 
years in Torremolinos, and after living in 
Jeddah, Arizona and New York City, we recently 
retired back to Spain, to Nerja, about an hour 
on the other side of Malaga. 

Its great reading about and seeing pictures of 
our many ONA friends on the web site, and 
remembering all the great days of fun and 
adventure! I wish I had known about the reunion - 
Sharon and I would have loved to be there! 

All the best, Ron Adam 

Sharon and Ron at Nerja,
Spain in May 2011.


Come to reunion!

Helmut Jaeger and Herbie Eckhardt at
New York October 2003 reunion
Photo courtesy Margareta Nisser
This wonderful souvenir was brought to you
by Herb, BC Canada!

DC-10 Crew - Last flight out of Frankfurt
Photo signed by ONA crew
Anna-Liisa Wallin,
Benita Leung Noto, 
Betty Broderick,
Cindy Burnham,  
Dale Geiger Johnstone,  
Jack Hogan,
Katarina Oberg,  
Margareta Nisser,
Marilyn White Doolittle, 
Marion Winter, 
Richard Halberslaben, 
Rickie Strahl, 
Ruth Darden, 
Thila Gerber, 
Wendy Wilbur and many more ...

Crazy Crew Stories at www.onacrew.com!

The Aloha Hotel by Andy Andrechyn
ONA Documentary

Lillemor Ostund Garsten and
Rosemarie Neuber in Karachi

Guam runway

JFK view