CAIRO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
KUWEIT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Jeddah is the gateway to
the holy cities of Makkah and
Madinah. Although Riyadh is the
capital of the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia, Jeddah is known as its
commercial capital. Since Jeddah
is situated at the Red Sea coast,
it is also known as Bride of Red
Jeddah, The Bride of the Red Sea
CAPTAIN LES PRESTON
From early in my life I knew what I wanted to be!
A pilot. My father was a USAF weather man in 1956
and briefed crews from many different airlines, at
Haneda Airport in Japan. One day when we were in
operations and an ONA Captain took me out to a
DC-6 and walked me around this giant airplane and
then put me in a pilot seat. That was it ! I never
entertained doing anything else in my life.
In 1965 at the age of 14 I took my first flying lesson.
It took many mowed yards and shoveled driveways to
pay for those first hours, but they were worth it.
On my 16th birthday I flew my first solo flight
with 43 hours in my logbook. I received my Private
pilots license on my 17th birthday with nearly 80
By this time I had a part time job washing , fueling
aircraft and assisting our mechanics in the aircraft
shop. At 18 I obtained my Commerical License. I
finished school and obtained my Flight Instructor
Certificate. Montana provided the opportunity for
some very interesting flying. I flew many different
aircraft doing wild Game tracking, power line patrol,
air ambulance, and mountain/ back country flying.
In 1978 I went to work at Evergreen International
flying primarily Beechcraft King Air and Lear Jets.
In 1979 I checked out in the Lockheed Electra, and
after 6 months the DC-8. Iwas flying 1st officer
and both airplanes and spent very little time at
home. In 1981 business was very poor and rumors
of a layoff were everywhere. Captain Ray Young, whom
I had flown with at Evergreen was in Jeddah flying
of UACI/ ONA and he convinced me to come to work
in Jeddah. It was quite a change !
The flying as an Airline within an Airline was a
new concept for the times. Jeddah was as different
an environment as I could have ever imagined.
My first roommates Jimmy Lawrance, Mitch and Apple
Allen, Bob Sullivan got me up to speed in this
new life style. Hajj flights all over the world,
cargo flights from Amsterdam to Tokyo, and all
over Europe ! the flying was incredible !
In December of 1982 we received the 747's and I
had the pleasure of flying those in the more
traditional ONA routes. In late 1983 I came back
to Jeddah as a DC-8 Captain.
In 1985 I went to work for United Airlines, flying
DC-8, 737, 747,Airbus A320. After 30 years I am
now retired...Looking back to my time at UACI/
ONA, I flew with many great pilots and Flight
Attendants, met many good people, and had some
of the best times of my life. I truly was
blessed to have worked there.
Captain Les J Preston
United Airlines (Retired)
AL AHRAM EGYPT
HOTEL CONRAD, CAIRO EGYPT