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Dodge, English and Peck to be inducted into Aviation Hall of Fame Friday night

Images of Bill English,with FAA Alaska Regional FAA administrator Bob Lewis left,and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, right.
Images of Bill English,with FAA Alaska Regional FAA administrator Bob Lewis left,and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, right.
Photo by Rob Stapleton/Alaskafoto

Aviators from the past are being honored by being inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame this Friday in Anchorage.

Pilots be honored by the Alaska Aviation Museum are F. Atlee Dodge, Bill English, and Jack Peck. Dodge and Peck have passed on, but the William “Bill” English will be on hand to tell those in attendance about his career as a pilot for Wien Air Alaska.

These three pilots will be honored during a dinner banquet at the Coast International Inn on March 21, from 6-9 p.m. For those interested tickets are $100 for non-museum members and $85 for members.

William “Bill” English

English is a well-known pilot who has flown throughout Alaska. He is Alaska’s first native commercial pilot, first native in Alaska to earn an airline transport rating and first native to be designated as an FAA pilot examiner.
English was born in Coldfoot, Alaska on January 31, 1923 to parents William and Mary English. He spent his early years in Wiseman, a small mining community in central Alaska, and then his father moved the family to Oregon. Bill attended grade school there and then moved to California to live with an aunt while attending high school and junior college.

English’s desire to fly began at an early age when he witnessed Noel Wien land the first airplane at Wiseman in front of the Northern Commercial store, which his father managed. At age four years old, before he ever saw a car or train, he flew in an airplane from Wiseman to Fairbanks. He chose aviation as his lifetime career and excelled in this choice.

After graduating from Marin Jr. College with an engineering background, he returned to Alaska to work for the Public Roads Commission on the new Alaska Highway. Following this experience, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and spent his war years at Ladd Field near Fairbanks.

At the end of his military service, Bill started working for Alaska Star Airlines and began his flying lessons. He built up his flying hours, achieved his commercial flying license and went to work for Wien Air and Northern Airways. In the following years, English flew numerous types of aircraft, flew trips to towns and villages throughout Alaska, flew support for the White Alice stations, flew scientific trips to the North Pole and flew scientists to hundreds of locations on the North Slope.

In addition to flying for Wien Air and Alaska Airlines, he also flew for Northern Airways, Frontier Airlines and Martech. Upon achieving his instrument rating, he made the change from being a pioneer bush pilot to that of a modern-day jet pilot.

F. Atlee Dodge

Atlee Dodge will be awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and inducted into the Alaska Aviation Museum’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his many years as a major contributor to Alaska’s aviation industry. .

F. Atlee Dodge died on July 23, 2010, preceded by Isabella, who died on December 9, 2009. At his Celebration of Life, hundreds of Alaskan friends gathered at the Alaska Aviation Museum on Lake Hood in August 2010, to witness an historic 15-plane Fly-By – an Alaskan Piper tribute to Atlee Dodge.

Atlee was born in Lovingston, Virginia on January 26, 1922. He graduated from the Augusta Military Academy and attended the Rising Sun School of Aeronautics in Philadelphia. In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. During WWII he served as Flight Engineer, Crew Chief and Gunner on B-24 bombers. While in the Service, he was stationed for a time at Elmendorf Air Force Base as a P-38 mechanic. He thought Alaska would be a great place to return to and raise a family.

Following his military career, he worked as an aircraft mechanic for Pacific Northern Air in Washington State, repairing Lockheed Constellation, DC-3s and DC-4s. He also worked for Flying Tigers and United Airlines. In 1957, he moved to Alaska with his wife, Isabella, and sons Atlee R., Kim and Shane and continued his employment with Pacific Northern Air which eventually became Western Airlines.

In the 1960s, Dodge started a sideline business specializing in Piper Cubs, making his own line of modified and replacement aircraft parts. Initially, he operated out of a Quonset hut at Lake Hood and later relocated his business, F. Atlee Dodge Aircraft Services, next to his family home on O’Malley Road. He and Isabella operated this business until 2005, when at age 83, they sold the business to Univair Corporation. For many years, Atlee continued working for PNA/Western while also running his own business. They provided good, dependable employment for many mechanics, sheet metal fabricators, welders and operators over the years.

Dodge was a brilliant engineer, inventor, innovator, pilot and businessman. Known as both “The Plane Doctor” and “Mr. Super Cub”, he received FAA approval for nearly 100 different modifications which are now used in aircraft around the world. His aircraft modifications have saved lives of countless Alaskan bush pilots and passengers by improving the safety and performance of an aircraft particularly well-suited to flying in Alaska – the Piper Super Cub.

In 1994, Atlee was awarded the prestigious Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” award by the FAA. This award recognizes individuals who have been involved in the aviation industry for 50 years or more, who have been certified mechanics for at least 40 years and have never had their certification revoked. Atlee was the first nominee in Alaska to be awarded this national award honoring aviation master mechanics for outstanding contributions to air safety.

The Alaska Airmen’s Association recognized Mr. Dodge’s contribution to Alaska aviation and safety and named one of their scholarships “The F. Atlee Dodge Aviation Maintenance Scholarship” in his honor. This scholarship provides financial assistance to Alaskans wanting to pursue a career in aircraft maintenance.

Dodge lived his life and maintained the integrity of his business with his simple mission statement which was “to promote aviation safety and service”. Many aircraft owners, pilots, aviation business operators and the general public have benefited from his dedication to his mission.

F. Atlee Dodge died on July 23, 2010, preceded by Isabella, who died on December 9, 2009. At his Celebration of Life, hundreds of Alaskan friends gathered at the Alaska Aviation Museum on Lake Hood in August 2010, to witness an historic 15-plane Fly-By – an Alaskan Piper tribute to Atlee Dodge.

Jack Peck-

Jack Peck will be inducted into the Alaska Aviation Museum’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his many years as one of the “Entrepreneur Pilots and Builders” In Alaska’s aviation industry. We are honored to present this recognition and reward to his family.

Pioneer Alaska Aviator, Jack Peck, was born January 25, 1915 in Exeter, California and came to Valdez, Alaska in 1935. He worked and flew throughout Alaska and in the 1930’s, partnered with Wyman “Lanky” Rice to form Peck and Rice Airways, primarily flying out of Anchorage and Bethel. During the war years he flew for Alaska Airlines, eventually becoming Chief Pilot. In 1947, he signed on as Chief Pilot for Al Jones Flying Service. A few years later, he started a cargo/passenger operation called Alaska Aeronautical Industries (AAI) out of Anchorage and he and several partners operated the Cessna dealership at Lake Hood.

AAI was heavily involved in providing transportation services to Standard Oil for the exploration and development of the Cook Inlet gas field. After selling his interest in AAI in the early 1970’s, Governor Egan, who on several occasions relied on Mr. Peck to fly him and his wife, Neva, to campaign stops throughout Alaska, appointed Jack as the Anchorage International Airport Manager. After several years in that position, Governor Egan appointed him Chief of All Airport Operations for the State of Alaska. Peck retired from State service in the mid-1970’s and moved to Soldotna, Alaska where he and his wife, Althea, lived until he passed away on August 1, 1978.

The 1929 Travelair 6000B (NC8159) – Al Jones Airways – which is on display at the Aviation Museum, was the aircraft Peck and Rice purchased from “Mudhole” Smith.

Over the years, Peck flew supplies to mining camps, visitors to remote destinations, transported materials for the war effort, flew sick villagers to hospitals, and tested airplanes for the army, managed airports and ferried Governors and Senators to distant and remote areas of Alaska.

Jack Peck had a sterling reputation as an accomplished airman, a careful and dedicated pilot and an aviator everyone could trust. He was also inducted into the OX-5 Hall of Fame in the 1980’s.

Peck’s wife, Aletha “Babs” Francis Archer, died in Soldotna, Alaska in 2005. Jack was preceded in death by his sons, Jack Jr. and Brian, and is survived by daughter, Gail Peck McDowell, and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

For more information call (907) 248-5325 or to purchase tickets online go to:

https://alaskaaviationmuseum.wildapricot.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1765137

Rob Stapleton can be reached at: robstapleton(at)Alaska(dot)net