• 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

    Appeals court affirms conviction of woman in hot sauce case

    by Associated Press on Jul 31, 13:17

    An Alaska appeals court has affirmed the conviction of an Anchorage woman whom prosecutors said used a videotape of herself punishing her son to try to get on the “Dr. Phil” show. Jessica Beagley in 2011 was convicted of misdemeanor child abuse for punishing her adopted Russian son by putting hot sauce into his mouth. […]

  • Sports

    Alaskans help Special Olympics athletes hear at World Games

    by Megan Mazurek on Jul 31, 13:05

    An Alaskan doctor and her daughter are helping some Special Olympics athletes hear for the first time. Joyce Sexton, an audiologist from Anchorage, and her daughter Irene are volunteering at the World Games in the Healthy Athletes program. In the past week, volunteers have given free medical exams to more than 4,000 athletes from around […]

  • News

    Troopers: Seward Highway closed after Portage area injury wreck

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 12:51

    The Seward Highway has been closed near Mile 80 after a wreck involving multiple vehicles in the Portage area, authorities say. At least one person reportedly has severe injuries, said Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters. She says the crash near Mile 80 is “serious.” –Check back for updates on this developing story. 

  • News

    Some Alaska Natives allowed visa-free travel to Russian area

    by Associated Press on Jul 31, 12:16

    Some western Alaska Natives can travel back and forth to a Russian region without a visa under a 1989 agreement that was recently revived. Vera Metcalf, a Native leader who works part time with the State Department, said Friday that the program allows indigenous residents from both sides of the Bering Strait to visit for […]

  • News

    Authorities report 2 arrests in Portland’s Arctic drilling protest

    by Associated Press on Jul 31, 11:24

    The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says it made one arrest during an effort by protesters to block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland for an Arctic drilling operation. Lt. Harry Smith says 19-year-old Christian Pence refused to leave the Willamette River after being told the waterway was closed Thursday afternoon, and then assaulted […]

  • Sports

    Anchorage dentist provides free exams at Special Olympics World Games

    by Megan Mazurek on Jul 31, 11:08

    An Anchorage dentist has peered into more than 300 mouths a day for the past week at the Special Olympics World Games. “I saw some patients yesterday where I almost wanted to start to cry because they were still smiling,” said Dr. Lara Mabry, a volunteer dentist for Healthy Athletes. “When I saw the condition […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Marty Raney

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 31, 10:44

    Marty Raney is a mountain climber and musician who you might recognize from the National Geographic show “Ultimate Survival Alaska.” His fame started thanks to Mount McKinley. “I do guide on Mount McKinley and that turned into films on Mount McKinley,” Raney said. “I think the first film I worked on was 1988. It’s still […]

  • Crime

    Police seek more information after woman killed in apparent hit-and-run

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 10:28

    Anchorage police are asking the public for information after a pedestrian was killed in an apparent hit-and-run in Mountain View early Friday morning. Around 1:40 a.m., the Anchorage Police Department responded to the intersection of Mountain View Drive and North Park Street following reports of a female in the roadway. When police arrived at the […]