• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 23s

Fairbanks woman tells tales of flying days

By Joe Vigil 8:57 PM May 7, 2014

As we flew from Portland to Washington, D.C., the vets told us a lot of war stories. One very interesting tale came from a World War II vet who knows a little something about flying.

Ninety-three-year-old Nancy Baker of Fairbanks was carrying something on the trip that got a lot of attention: A card that says she’s certified to fly P-40s, P-47s, P-51s and P-63s.

Like driving a new car off the sales lot, the then-20-year-old Baker flew brand new planes from U.S. factories to the East Coast. From there, ships hauled them to war overseas.

Baker didn’t get a lot of training on the planes before flying them from the showroom.

“We got instructions. We got verbal instructions,” Baker said. “You just took off. Just took off and flew.”

She told us men never had a problem with her flying because she was a woman. It was her height that sometimes was an issue.

“One day somebody reported a P-47 flying around the airport without a pilot,” she said. “And then the tower called in and found it was me. I was so small they couldn’t see me.”

We asked her why she signed up.

“For one thing I love to fly,” she said. “That’s all I every wanted to do from the beginning when I was a little teenie kid.”

When Baker returned home from the war she flew encyclopedias to people in the Bush. She says families, especially those with kids, needed them.

There were more than 40 vets flying on the plane, along with their guardians. Baker flew with Susan Grace, a very good friend.

Latest Stories

  • News

    AFD calls Div. of Forestry, JBER for assistance with wildfire near East Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 18:01

    The Anchorage Fire Department is responding to a wildfire just less than a mile from an East Anchorage neighborhood. The fire was first reported at 5:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. AFD Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said the fire was located on military land and was difficult to reach, so the department has reached out […]

  • News

    Dead whale found stuck on cruise ship docking in Seward

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:26

    A dead humpback whale was found on the bow of a Holland America cruise ship Sunday morning in Seward. The Seward City News reported the Zaandam arrived at the Alaska Railroad terminal with what was initially believed to be juvenile humpback whale on the bulbous, lower bow. The whale has since been tentatively identified as […]

  • News

    DOF battles two wildfires near McGrath, one covers roughly 100 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 17:05

    The Alaska Division of Forestry is battling two wildfires near McGrath, including one that has grown to nearly 100 acres. The larger fire, known as the Medfra fire, was reported at 10:25 a.m. and “started in an old burn area and spread into an unburned area with fresh fuel.” The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reports […]

  • News

    Firefighter: Grass fire at Glenn Highway ramp may have been started by cigarette

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 15:20

    An Anchorage firefighter at the scene of a small grass fire near the Glenn Highway Sunday told KTVA it may have been started by a cigarette butt thrown out of a passing vehicle. The fire was first reported to the fire department at 2:25 p.m., according to fire dispatchers. The fire was out less than […]

  • News

    Missing girl may be with her mother, who has no legal custody

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 14:53

    The Anchorage Police Department is searching for an 8-year-old girl whose mother has warrants for her arrest and doesn’t have legal custody of the girl. Nayla Demings was last seen at her father’s house on E Fifth Avenue around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Her father has full legal custody of Nayla and police said in […]

  • News

    Park Service considers visitor caps, expects record crowds

    by Associated Press on May 29, 14:15

    As the National Park Service kicks off a centennial summer expected to draw record crowds, the agency is seriously considering caps on how many people pass through some of the country’s most iconic landscapes and historical sites each day. Park managers have begun looking at whether, when and how best to manage the impact of […]

  • News

    Czech Republic man dies on Denali after 1,500-foot fall

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 12:02

    A Czech Republic man died Saturday evening while skiing on Denali, according to the National Park Service. Pavel Michut, 45, “fell roughly 1,500 feet from an elevation of 17,000 feet” on the Messner Couloir route, NPS spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri said in a statement Sunday. “The event was witnessed by multiple parties at the 14,200-foot camp […]

  • Lifestyle

    As Arctic Ocean gets spicier, hunting may be more dangerous

    by Emily Russell / KNOM on May 29, 11:42

    The Arctic Ocean is getting spicier. A new study published in the Journal of Physical Oceanography suggests that rising temperatures in the far north could result in spicier water, or warmer water whose density is more affected by temperature than salinity. This could make marine mammal hunting off Alaska’s coast more dangerous. Mary-Louise Timmermans is a […]