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Captain Al Haynes ‘made the impossible possible’

By United Airlines , August 27, 2019


Picture of Captain Al Haynes Pictured, Captain Al Haynes

Today, we honor Captain Al Haynes who died Sunday at the age of 87 years old in Seattle. Captain Haynes was one of the pilots credited with saving 184 lives when United Flight 232 crashed at Sioux City, Iowa in 1989.

One hundred twelve of the 296 people on board died as a result of the crash, including Flight Attendant Rene Le Beau, who was working the flight. But the actions of the flight and inflight crews, air traffic control representatives, local officials and first responders that day saved many lives.

"The United family bids farewell to one of our greatest, and a legend in aviation," said Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines. "Thirty years since he helped save 184 lives, Captain Al Haynes' name remains synonymous with skill and grace under pressure. His more than three decades of service, as well as his dedication as a mentor, ensures his legacy will live on in generations of aviators he taught and inspired. The United family was blessed to have had him on board - on that fateful day and every day he served with us. Godspeed, Al."

"He made the impossible possible," said Jan Brown, the retired flight attendant working in the lead position on Flight 232 the day of the crash. She described the moment she opened the door to the flight deck: "It was as palpable as the blast of heat from a furnace, how the enormity of the crisis hit me. Part of my brain froze. Al didn't even turn around, just told me what I needed to know. He saved my life and so many lives. Bless his heart forever."

"Having a drill, having a plan, and taking it seriously, and working on it, is very, very important," Captain Haynes said, in a presentation he made to the NASA Ames Research Center in Edwards, California, in 1991.

Read Captain Haynes discuss Flight 232 here.

A witness to history: Looking back at the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in NYC

By The Hub team

By: John Newton

This story was originally published on AFAR | May 30, 2019

Across New York City, various institutions are commemorating the June anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with a slew of captivating events. Here's where to observe the city's LGBTQ history throughout the month.

This June, New York City looks back on the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 — a pivotal moment in LGBTQ history both in New York and around the world. Exactly 50 years following the riots, which gave birth to the first-ever Pride March held during 1970 in New York City's Greenwich Village (and inspired other ongoing Pride observances around the world), the city also becomes the first in the United States to host WorldPride. This month-long celebration brings a packed schedule of special LGBTQ-themed events to one host city every few years.

Beyond attending the free Stonewall 50 Commemoration Rally on June 28 (held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Christopher Street and Waverly Place), celebrating at the NYC Pride March on June 30 (starting on 26th Street and Fifth Avenue at 12 p.m.), and checking out the WorldPride Mural Project (which brings colorful street art honoring the LBGTQ community to locations across all five boroughs this month), here's where to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall in New York City throughout June.

Observe LGBTQ history through an up-close lens

When the Stonewall Uprising began in New York City's Greenwich Village on June 28, 1969, photographer Fred W. McDarrah had a front-row seat on history and, fortunately for the historical record, he had a camera in hand.

As the first staff photographer of the Village Voice beginning in the 1950s, McDarrah chronicled life in New York City during one of its most vibrant cultural and political periods, from the rise of the Beatniks in the '50s to the formation of ACT UP, an advocacy organization founded in the '80s in response to the AIDS crisis. (McDarrah contributed to the alt-weekly until his passing in 2007.) McDarrah was not a member of the LGBTQ community himself, but 50 years ago on that fateful June night, he was truly in the right place at the right time, when just a few doors down from the Village Voice's office in Greenwich Village, a riot broke out at the Stonewall Inn, a local LGBTQ bar, following a police raid. Over the following week, daily protests for equal rights marked a radical turn in the liberation movement for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Since then, McDarrah's photographs have become iconic images for what is often viewed as the symbolic birth of the contemporary fight for LGBTQ rights.

Young people gather outside the Stonewall Inn on the night of the riots, June 28, 1969. | Courtesy Fred W. McDarrah Archive/MUUS Asset Management Co LLC

For the Stonewall Riots anniversary, the Museum of the City of New York has gathered some 40 images by McDarrah — some of the uprising itself and others from 25 years of NYC Pride marches that followed — and presents them in the exhibit PRIDE: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond, open June 6 through December 31. (It accompanies a larger exhibit, The Voice of the Village, which includes more than 100 photographs by McDarrah taken over the course of his career with a particular focus on civil rights and anti–Vietnam War demonstrations in New York City from the '60s through the '70s.)

While the Stonewall Uprising was an expression of defiant resistance, for exhibit curator Sarah Seidman, it is the full range of emotions that McDarrah captured in his subjects that makes his photographs so powerful. "His Pride parade images show people marching with signs, but also the exuberance and celebratory nature of the events," Seidman says. "He captured both the political agenda as well as the celebration of identity and community."

STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) march during the fourth annual Christopher Street Liberation Day March (also known as the NYC Pride March) on June 24, 1973. | Courtesy Fred W. McDarrah Archive/MUUS Asset Management Co LLC

More must-see Stonewall 50 art exhibits in New York City

After seeing PRIDE: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond, dive deeper into New York's LGBTQ history at these various exhibitions across the city.

Open through July 13 in the main branch of the New York Public Library at Bryant Park, a free exhibition titled Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 features the work of leading photojournalists from the gay liberation movement (including Kay Tobin Lahusen, the first out lesbian photojournalist) alongside posters, pamphlets, and other materials from the library's archives.

Look Back/Move Forward is New York University's contribution to the celebration: a crowded calendar of movie screenings, speakers, and exhibits that reflect on Stonewall as a turning point for the LGBTQ movement. Notable among the lineup is Art after Stonewall, 1969-1989, an extensive exhibition on view in two parts (one section at NYU's Grey Art Gallery through July 20, the other at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art through July 21).

Protestors march at a 1970 NYC Pride Rally. (Image by Diana Davies, one of the leading photojournalists who documented the LGBTQ liberation movement during the '60s and '70s.) | Courtesy of New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division

From June 5 to 29, the Soho Photo Gallery in downtown Manhattan will host Photography After Stonewall, highlighting the work of 23 living LGBTQ artists whose images demonstrate how the Stonewall Uprising, according to exhibit's curators, "made possible a type of imagery that earlier generations had to suppress." Also throughout the month of June, The James New York—NoMad, near Madison Square Park, will display a Stonewall art exhibit in its lobby. The ICONSshowcase will spotlight unique printed posters featuring "faces and places" of significance in New York City's LGBTQ history, as well as recommendations for spots to visit across the city that are connected to the themes in each poster.

The New-York Historical Society recently opened two Stonewall 50 exhibitions: one on LGBTQ nightlife before and after Stonewall and another highlighting the contributions of lesbians and queer women to the LGBTQ movement. The display, open through September 22, includes a special installation that looks at NYC Pride marches from the 1960s to the present day.

Until December 8 at the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition titled Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall presents the works of 28 LGBTQ artists born after 1969; the show draws its title from the words of a prominent figure of the 1969 uprising, transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson.

A walk through LGBTQ history in the West Village

Many sites that were central to LGBTQ life in New York City in 1969 no longer stand, and in the decades since then the community has become more dispersed. Restaurants and bars catering to the LGBTQ community can be found especially in Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, and neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including Park Slope and Williamsburg. Still, the West Village is where the LGBTQ movement as we know it today began. Here are three of its historic highlights.

Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn is a remarkable survivor. Drinking a beer or waiting your turn at the pool table, you might not realize you are visiting a historic site: the country's first National Monument dedicated to the LGBTQ-rights movement. (That is, unless you happen to visit on a day when it is hosting a political event or rally, which does happen with some frequency.) Near the entrance, an original, framed police poster declaring that "This is a Raided Premises" is a reminder of the summer evening in 1969 that would change the course of LGBTQ history around the world. The Christopher Street establishment is open daily from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Christopher Street

While other streets in Manhattan had periods as the centers of an underground gay life, after Stonewall, Christopher Street became famous nationally as the heart of the city's gay and lesbian community. Even as the LGBTQ community has become more spread out across New York City over the years, gay-owned bars and restaurants such as Ty's NYC and Pieces still line this street west of Sixth Avenue — and they are busy almost every evening. A new guided walking tour with Urban Adventures focuses on LGBTQ history in Greenwich Village and includes stops at many significant Christopher Street landmarks and establishments during the three-hour trip. From $79 per person (ages 21 and older)

The Center

The Center — or, more formally, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center — was established in 1984 and truly lives up to its name: Some 400 different events take place at this building on 13th Street each week, including readings, talks, and political meetings. Even if you aren't attending an event, you may want to make your way to the second-floor men's room, which is covered in murals by Keith Haring; they were completed in 1989, shortly before the artist's death. It's an exuberant, and graphic, celebration of gay male sexuality (a far cry from some of the tamer images associated with the artist's Pop Shop).

Flying our heroes for the 75th anniversary of D-Day

By Matt Adams , June 06, 2019

Over the past several days, on flights out of Washington D.C., Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and others, we had the distinct honor and privilege of welcoming more than two dozen World War II veterans en route to Holland and France, back to the places where many of them fought 75 years ago during the Allied D-Day landings and associated battles.

D-Day veteran pictured with his family before boarding a flight to the 75th anniversary in France

At Los Angeles International Airport, Customer Service Representative Cindy Good, whose uncle, Eric Meissner, took part in the invasion of Normandy, France that began on June 6, 1944 — D-Day — said a few words to the assembled crowd of onlookers who had gathered to see veteran Rudolfo Huereque off before he boarded his flight.

"My mom and family grew up in Austria under Hitler's rule, so if it were not for the Americans and Allied Forces that liberated countries across Europe, I know that I would not be here today," Cindy said. "Many World War II veterans will say 'they didn't do anything,' or 'they were only doing their job.' To those, I will say, 'You did everything… you saved the world.'"

Owing to that debt of gratitude she feels, Cindy works year-round with organizations that arrange for veterans to revisit the former battlefields where they served. Leading up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, she contacted the airports from which a number of veterans would depart for remembrance trips, working with local employees who ensured the veterans received the hero's welcome they deserve when arriving at the airport.

In a particularly powerful scene at Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport, a group of the veterans spoke with area high school students before leaving for Europe. As the veterans recounted their experiences, the students listened in intense silence, seeing the war for the first time through the eyes of the men who lived it.

"What was amazing to see is how they expressed no regret, and that they knew it was their duty and honor," said Dulles Airport Managing Director Omar Idris, who led the proceedings alongside members of our United for Veterans business resource group.

Among was 100-year-old Sidney Walton, who served in the China-India-Burma theater of World War II and is one of the oldest surviving veterans of the war. He's been on a mission to visit all 50 states, in addition to battle sites overseas, so that he can tell his story as a living link to a past that is quickly fading as more and more World War II veterans pass away.

At Denver's International Airport, employees and customers paid their respects to Ronald Scharfe, an Iwo Jima veteran, and Leila Morrison, who served on the front lines as a U.S. Army nurse and 2nd lieutenant during the war. We threw them a catered reception at the gate, where they were met with a round of applause, and arranged a water cannon salute as they taxied before takeoff.

"We owe so much to them that this is the least we can do for our 'Greatest Generation' American heroes," said Denver Airport's Customer Service Supervisor Cheryl Searle. "It felt like a Fourth of July parade in small town USA with American flags waving throughout the concourse."

Elsewhere, we had veterans depart from Birmingham, Alabama), San Diego, Las Vegas, Rochester, New York, Little Rock, Arkansas, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Akron/Canton, Ohio, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Antonio, Greensboro, North Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina and Missoula, Montana.

United captain retraces historic D-Day flight

By Matt Adams , June 06, 2019

They came through the clouds from across the English Channel, dozens of Douglas C-47s in tight formation, just as they had 75 years earlier, when the low hum of their propellers signaled the coming liberation of Europe.

As the squadron soared over the beaches of Normandy in France, a swarm of dark specks suddenly appeared beneath them, silhouetted against the bright sky. Hundreds of men and women wearing period-correct parachutes and World War II uniforms drifted down from the planes toward the original drop zones the Allies used on D-Day in 1944.

Captain Steve Craig pictured with the C-47 aircraft he flew over the beaches of Normandy, France

With the last parachutist clear, the aircraft proceeded eastward to Caen, France. San Francisco-based 787 Captain Steve Craig, who piloted one of the C-47s, looked down upon the rolling green meadows below, where the Battle of Normandy had raged following D-Day, and tried to imagine it as it was all those years ago.

This flight was a dream come true for Steve, an aviation history buff with a keen interest in old warbirds. He earned his chops flying Douglas DC-3s, the civilian version of the C-47, back in the 1980s, transporting crates of fish between Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska, and to hear him tell it, that plane was his first love. Even after joining United as a pilot in 1990, he sat for check rides on the DC-3, and today he is one of perhaps 100 pilots in the United States still qualified to fly the aircraft.

That put him in a unique position when, several months ago, private DC-3 and C-47 owners were finalizing plans for a Normandy flyover commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Hundreds of C-47s had transported thousands of paratroopers from England to Normandy during the invasion, making it the plane most synonymous with D-Day. Now, they needed pilots like Steve so they could fly once more.

The mission was known as Daks Over Normandy, "Dak" being short for "Dakota," which is what the British called the C-47 (in the U.S. it was known as the "Skytrain"). Starting late last month, roughly 30 Daks from around the world converged upon the Duxford Aerodrome, an airfield in Cambridgeshire, England, for a military aircraft show. On the night of June 5, they departed for France, following the same flight path and schedule Allied airmen used on D-Day, arriving over Normandy early on the morning of June 6.

The aircraft Steve flew, tail number N341A, was actually designated as a C-41 during World War II, which was a version of the C-47 modified for VIP travel. It was one of two identical aircraft that U.S. General Henry "Hap" Arnold used as aerial command posts in the theater.

Polished silver aluminum, with a red-and-white tail rudder, it was delivered to U.S. Army Air Command in 1939 and subsequently based at Bolling Army Airfield in Washington, D.C., before serving overseas. Knowing his reputation and experience with this kind of aircraft, the C-41's owner contacted Steve this past February and arranged for him to fly the plane in the Daks Over Normandy event.

Steve's journey started in Oakland, California, where N341A resides, on May 26. It took him seven days, with all the fuel stops, to make the trip to Duxford, where he arrived on June 1. Once there, he had a few days to take care of general maintenance while the aircraft was on display before departing for the historic flight over the channel, the largest single gathering of Dakotas since the war.

ABC News correspondent David Kerley covered the Daks Over Normandy flyover, highlighting the efforts that made it possible. Click here for the video. You can also relive Steve's trip through his blog here.

Pilots discuss what it's like to be of Asian descent

By Matt Adams

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, San Francisco-based Captain Stan Snow, Houston-based Captain Lance Lau and San Francisco-based Captain Charlie Curammeng sat for a panel discussion at the Chicago Corporate Support Center where they talked about what it's like to be a pilot of Asian descent.

"I always thought you had to be a white movie star to be a pilot," said Lance, describing how stereotypes hindered his career pursuits early on. As he put it, growing up on a plantation in Hilo, Hawaii, you're not taught to think beyond the island, and you certainly aren't told that you can do something like fly an airplane. Lance's own father was a U.S. Army colonel who had served in World War II but had been told he couldn't fly because he was Asian. He cautioned Lance against such aspirations, but his son wouldn't be deterred.

As a young man, Stan, whose family immigrated to the U.S. mainland from American Samoa, said he felt he could do anything. He had his heart set on becoming a fighter pilot, but when he told his father about his dreams, they were similarly quashed. "I wasn't the right color and didn't have money, so I thought I couldn't do it."

Charlie, who grew up on Oahu in Hawaii, said he had a relatively easier time, with supportive parents. He has never looked at himself as different from any other pilot, believing that it all comes down to whether you can safely fly the plane you're in. "Aviation is the great equalizer," he said.

But when they did face discrimination, it often came from within Stan's, Lance's and Charlie's own communities. Stan called them self-inflicted challenges. "People would say, 'Are you trying to be better than us?'" said Stan, as an example of a common social obstacle some Polynesians face when working to achieve their goals.

"A lot of us suffered from our own stereotypes and our own perceptions of what we were adequate or inadequate at doing," Lance added. "But we can break through that if we put our minds to it."

Now at the pinnacle of their profession, Charlie, Lance and Stan all focus on cultural outreach and mentoring. All three have spent time visiting schools and urging kids to consider aviation careers, regardless of background, and all three are committed to ensuring that the next generation of Asian and Pacific American pilots have good examples to follow.

"It's about persistence," said Charlie. "I tell them to keep going; don't let naysayers say otherwise."

Following that advice has served these captains well. The panel offered enlightening insights into their lives and careers, as well as some of the issues that our Asian and Pacific American colleagues face.

On National AMT Day, we toasted the best of the best technicians

By Pete Rapalus , May 30, 2019

As we fired up grills and prepared for National Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Day celebrations last week, the arrival of Friday's first shift technicians gathered with more than 300 years of experience at a restaurant in Humble, Texas. We hosted the event to thank them for the millions of lives they have touched through their dedication to safety.

Six of the previous year's eight Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award winners from United were able to attend the event, hosted by Technical Operations VPs Kurt Carpenter, Tom Doxey, Mark Eldred and Don Wright. Meanwhile, SVP Kris Bauer was in Cleveland for AMT Day and VP John Wiitala planned to join our teams at Houston-Hobby to celebrate and watch our newest Taylor Award recipient, Jerry Johanson, receive his Taylor Award on Friday. Jerry was also among the honorees at the dinner Thursday evening. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awards the Taylor to technicians with at least 50 years of exemplary service.

Also on hand for the Taylor dinner was the Hon. John Goglia, a former United technician who went on to serve on the National Transportation Safety Board and was instrumental in establishing the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. We proudly count him among our Taylor recipients.

As leaders introduced each of our 2018-19 Taylor honorees, they were presented with engraved aircraft windows and John also gave each of them a special AMC "challenge coin." He also made it a point to thank the spouses and partners who were in attendance for supporting the technicians through their long and distinguished careers. "Thank you for putting up with us," he said to laughs. He also thanked United for its demonstrated leadership in fostering diversity and attracting more women to become technicians, and challenged United to field an AMC-winning all-female team. "We're getting there," Mark responded, referring to the Chix Fix.

In addition to a gift, each technician receives a postcard with a message that reads:

"At United, it is clear that we have the best technicians in the business, and our recent performance is a testament to the solid foundation you provide for the rest of the airline. Take a moment today to thank your peers and the teams that support you, and to honor all the many technicians who have served since the days of Charles Edward Taylor, who as the Wright Brothers' engine builder and mechanic is considered the first AMT. All of you keep this airline flying and we thank you for it, on National AMT Day and every day."

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