• 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

  • Sports

    Still 2 months away, Copper Basin 300 is off to a good start

    by Dave Goldman on Oct 26, 22:47

    It’s beginning to look a lot like sled dog racing season. The recent winter weather has put a spring in the step of those who organize the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Up to eight inches of snow fell last week in the Glennallen area, the Valley and the Copper River Basin. It was followed by frigid temperatures, ensuring the […]

  • ‘Somebody saw something’: Family of Government Hill homicide victim seeks answers

    by Daniella Rivera on Oct 26, 21:49

    As Anchorage police investigate the 28th homicide of the year, the family of 29-year-old victim Ian Alexander Bobich is making a desperate plea for help. Just before 11 p.m. on Monday, police dispatch received several calls from people in the area reporting gunshots near Elm Street and East Bluff Drive. When officers arrived, they found Bobich […]

  • Politics

    Historic US Senate debate in Barrow focuses on the Arctic

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 26, 21:32

    Organizers billed it as the first ever U.S. Senate debate held above the Arctic Circle. Sen. Lisa Murkowski faced three challengers on the stage at the Barrow High School auditorium on Wednesday. But even before the candidates had a chance to engage, there was a distinctly different flavor to this debate, which began with a prayer […]

  • News

    Neighborhood app highlights trick-or-treating hot spots

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 26, 21:14

    Alaskans can find the best spots to trick or treat this Halloween, thanks to the online “neighborhood” Nextdoor. Nextdoor is a social media site and app that connects neighbors for things like events, yard sales, missing pets and even local crime. For Halloween, it’s promoting a treat map showing other Nextdoor users who have indicated they […]

  • Lifestyle

    Teal pumpkins raise awareness about trick-or-treaters with food allergies

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 26, 20:10

    Halloween is right around the corner and doctors are urging parents to stock up on toys—in addition to candy—to give out to trick-or-treaters. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a growing effort to raise awareness about kids with food allergies. The Alaska branch of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America hosted a painting party for children […]

  • Politics

    Behind the Ballot: Margaret Stock for U.S. Senate

    by Liz Raines on Oct 26, 20:01

    She’s never held political office before, but she has held some high level positions in the U.S. Army, including work in the Pentagon. Now, Margaret Stock is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski for a ticket back to Washington D.C. Stock is a self-proclaimed “party crasher.” The former Republican, now turned Independent, promises to cut through the […]

  • News

    Pakistan arrests National Geographic’s famed ‘Afghan girl’

    by Associated Press on Oct 26, 18:40

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani investigator says the police have arrested National Geographic’s famed green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl’ for having a fake Pakistani identity card. Shahid Ilyas from the Federal Investigation Agency, says the police arrested Sharbat Gula during a raid on Wednesday at a home in Peshawar. Gula was an Afghan refugee girl when she […]

  • Lifestyle

    Bridge replacements underway along Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 26, 18:37

    Updated at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 If you enjoy walking, running or biking on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, get ready for some detours. Work began to replace two bridges on the trail, starting with the Sisson Loop bridge at mile 6.6 of the trail on Oct. 17. Work on the Fish Creek […]