Ranger Exes Memorial - Ranger, Texas Historical Ranger Airport

airplane OPENING DAY OF RANGER AIRPORT It was 1928 and aviation, in its infancy, was coming to Ranger. Dedication of the new Ranger airport was on Armistice Day, November 11. Thousands of people & numerous airplanes were in Ranger for the historical event. I did not know that this day was going to fix my future life forever. I was living in Ranger on Eastland Hill, where my father owned an oil equipment supply business. As a young lad of 12, my friend Goo Goo Standard and I were messing around in busy downtown Ranger. The silence of the day was interrupted overhead by the roar of a huge tri-motored, all-metal Ford Stout monoplane. We were so excited by the flight of the airplane that we ran all the way across town to the airport. On our arrival, the Ford Tri-motor was pulling up from a landing. The pilot called us over and asked if we would like to earn some money. "Of course!" we shouted! He would be charging passengers to take them up on a 30-minute flight over Ranger. He needed help since the engines would not be shut-down after each landing in order to save time. He took out two ropes and explained that my job was to keep people from walking into the propellers. Goo Goo was to hold the door open for boarding passengers. What an exciting day for two young kids! On the last flight, the pilot asked if we wanted to be paid or go on the last flight. Goo Goo wanted the money, but I took the flight. The plane took off and flew over Eastland Hill. About the same time, I saw my mom coming out the back door of our house. She looked up but had no idea that I was in the plane. After we landed, I was permanently infected with the flying bug, I knew flying would be my life ambition. Later, you can imagine the thrill of my first visit to Meacham Field in Fort Worth to observe the first DC-2 aircraft delivered to American Airlines. The whole experience only added to my zest for flying . My mother was aghast. "If people were meant to fly," she said, "they would have been born with wings." Later, I falsified my true age and enlisted into the Texas National Guards (Co. I, 142 Infantry) and took flying lessons on my first trip to Camp Hulen in Palacios, TX. In anticipation and preparation for World War II because there was a shortage of pilots, the government put out a call for anyone with flying experience to report to Fort Worth for screening and certification as flight instructors. At that time, I became a flight and ground instructor for Ranger Junior College CPT program. In 1939 after all available college students were exhausted, the program was closed. I moved to Dallas to work as a flight instructor at Love Field for U.S.A.F. Cadets. I also attended American Flyers School at Meacham Field in Fort Worth and attended secondary and commercial training at Foote Flight School in Grand Prairie, Texas. When World War II started, I moved to Terrell and worked as assistant supervisor of flying at the RAF No. 1 BFT Advanced Training School for British pilots. After the war, I moved to Houston and participated in the birthing of Essair Airlines, the first local service airline in the country. For the next several years, I served as Director of Flight Operation and was also Chief Pilot until 1955. Essair became Pioneer Airlines and later Continental Airlines. My more than 50 years of flying, whether for business, military, airlines or pleasure, have been happily uneventful as the industry moved from small private planes to DC-3's, Convairs, Douglas DC-7's to the first 707 jets to behemoth 747ís and on to even newer marvels that are considerably larger than the homes many of us were born in. Airplanes have taken me to a score of foreign countries and across nearly all the oceans. I flew troops domestically during the Korean War. Then I transferred to the Military Air Command and flew troops into Vietnam during that war. Airplanes and airports have been my magic carpet to the world. In short, my 80 percent of aviation century has been filled with amazement, pleasures, and many new friends. It all started at the Ranger Airport--one of the many pioneers in the history of flight. Thanks to the Ranger supporters of our local airport. Even now you are changing things forever and for the better. It might be interesting to note that in the 1950ís, Ranger was certified by the CAB for airline service, connecting with Dallas. (The service failed to materialize.) I retired after flying for 33 years for the airlines. Now at 91 and living at Hilltop Lakes, TX. I am reminiscing about the day that THE RANGER AIRPORT set the course of my life. On May 26, 2007, an official Texas historical marker, entitled "Ranger Municipal Airport" will be unveiled at this important site. I was there back then and feel honored to have been a small part in our grand home town history. Mellenger Jacoby (RHS-1936)