A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Ed Popko
Date: 2016 Feb 19, 12:30 -0800
Thanks for sharing this. Some wonderful memories. I relate to many parts of this as well. My father joined PAA as a radio operator in the early 30s. In those days, PAA's Caribbean HQ in Dinner Key, Miami, Florida was exclusively a sea plane operation serving Caribbean Islands and South America. All flights had a radio operator in those days.
Just before the WWII, PAA was approached to start a celestial navigation school. DOD forsaw the likehood of being involved in a war either in the Pacific region or in Europe. They knew they would need long range, over-water, navigators for troop transport, cargo, etc. and PAA had that experience. Once the school was established, PAA would fly groups of navigator studens, aboard refitted PAA Consolidate sea planes, around the Florida Keys, Cuba and the Bahamas. Students would work out the course, speed, drift, fixes and plot landfalls. He told funny stories of how the navigators would have everyone in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of South America.
He too was a life-long radio ham. He started in the early 30s; it gave him a life time hobby and profession with PAA.