Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Cliff Everts

Cliff Everts was interviewed on January 9, 2004 by Bill Schneider at the corporate headquarters of Everts Air Service on the west ramp of the Fairbanks International Airport runway in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Everts Air business has grown immensely over the years; they deliver fuel and cargo to many Interior and North Slope communities using a fleet of C-46 and DC-6 airplanes, and recently expanded with passenger service to Eagle with smaller aircrafts. In this interview, Cliff described his personal background growing up in Yonkers, New York and learning to fly. He also described working for Wien Alaska Airlines, flying in the Brooks Range and on the North Slope during the period of oil exploration in the Naval Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. He also talked about hauling supplies to Chandler and Chandalar Lakes, and over-nighting with Simon Paneak and his family in Anaktuvuk Pass. He also talked about other experiences flying around Alaska. This interview has been edited.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2002-27-15

Project: Gates of the Arctic National Park
Date of Interview: Jan 9, 2004
Narrator(s): Cliff Everts
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.

Sections

1) Personal background information

2) Early flying experiences

3) Coming to Alaska and early days of transporting airplanes into Alaska

4) Working for Wien Airlines, looking at and talking about photographs, and telling a story about over-nighting with the Paneak family at Chandler Lake

5) Flying supplies for Arctic Contractors on the North Slope

6) A plane crash at Schrader Lake, and starting his own commercial freight hauling business

7) Adventures of flying to villages around Alaska, and one particular incident crashing a plane in Fort Yukon

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.

Transcript

Section 1: birthdate\ birthplace\ Imperial Park, Yonkers, New York\ Everts, Cliff -- parents\ Germany\ United States -- immigration\ marriage\ childhood\ baseball\ fishing\ trapping\ job -- newspaper boy\ Emerson, Roy\ hobby -- model airplanes\ Floyd Bennett Field\ airplane -- first ride\ airplane -- Aeronica C-3\ airplane -- Taylorcraft\ landing field\ Tenseco Dam\ Westchester County, New York\ flying -- learning\ Valhalla Airport\ bicycle\ flying lessons -- paying for\ pilots license\ Roosevelt Field\ Lindbergh, Charles\ job -- fueling planes|

Section 2: airplane -- Spartan Executive\ airplane -- Beechcraft\ Robinson, Robbie\ salesman -- Graphite Metalizing Company\ Stamford, Connecticut\ Marshall, R.W.\ railroad\ job -- chauffeur\ flying -- beginning\ Long Island\ flying -- build up flight time\ World War II\ Pearl Harbor\ training -- civilian pilot program\ training -- government cross country instructor course\ Turner's Falls, Massachusetts\ driver's license\ American Airlines\ LaGuardia Field\ Syracuse, New York\ training -- instrument flying|

Section 3: Robinson, H.W.\ military draft -- deferrment\ Alaska -- trip to\ train\ Seattle, Washington\ boat\ Skagway, Alaska\ railroad -- narrow gauge\ Whitehorse, Canada\ pilot -- Lind, Johnny\ Alaska Star Airlines\ Fairbanks\ winter -- temperature\ sewer -- frozen\ Anchorage\ cities -- conditions\ pilot\ airplane -- Ford Tri-Motor\ airplane -- Stinson Tri-Motor\ Kodiak\ Nome\ Kotzebue\ Juneau\ airplane -- Lockheed Loadstar\ Alaska Star Airlines -- cutbacks\ job -- loss of\ Hager, Herb\ Sultrich, Fred\ flight school -- Fairbanks Air Service\ job -- flight instructor\ flying -- summer\ airplane -- pickup\ airplane -- Taylorcraft\ Pendleton, Oregon\ Kent, Washington\ Boeing Field\ airplane -- transport\ travel -- paperwork\ northwest staging route -- Canada\ Great Falls, Montana\ Calgary, Canada\ Edmonton, Canada\ pilot -- Northwest Airlines\ airplane -- DC3\ Stalecraft, Canada\ Whitehall, Canada\ Alaska Highway\ Fort Nelson, Canada\ Grand Prairie, Canada\ Whitehorse, Canada\ Fairbanks|

Section 4: Fairbanks\ Wien Airlines\ airplane -- transport\ airplane -- Straightwing Stinson\ Kansas City\ fuel tank -- leak\ Fairbanks Air Service\ airplane -- T-craft\ Fairbanks\ military draft -- deferrment\ job -- Wien Airlines\ job -- pilot\ airplane -- Boeing 247\ flying\ contract -- Naval Petroleum Reserve\ Arctic Contractors\ Barrow\ photographs\ airplane -- Boeing 247\ Chandler Lake\ Rayburn, George\ Wien, Sig\ Panik, Harry\ airplane -- fueling\ equipment -- D2-Cat\ U. S. Navy -- Seabees\ Umiat\ Cat -- driving\ Umiat -- runway\ runway -- construction\ airfield -- lake\ lake -- oil seepage\ Arctic Contractors\ contract -- Navy\ Chandler Lake -- spring\ Wien, Sig\ Paneak, Simon\ Paneak, Harry\ Rayburn, George\ Rice, Bob\ Oswald, George\ Everts, Cliff\ airplane -- bush plane\ Chandler Lake -- landing\ Paneak, Simon -- family\ Anaktuvuk Pass\ caribou\ tent -- caribou skin\ airplane -- Skyrocket\ weather -- foggy\ Paneak family -- staying with\ people -- number of\ food -- caribou\ radio\ sleeping bag\ temperature -- cold\ tent -- condensation\ icicles\ heat -- source\ heat -- kerosene lamp\ heat -- willow\ caribou -- hides\ airplane -- engine\ engine -- heating of\ heat -- plumber's fire pot\ engine -- oil\ oil -- keeping warm|

Section 5: airplane -- hauling supplies\ contract -- Arctic Contractors\ Umiat\ runway -- construction\ Barrow\ fuel -- hauling\ fuel -- barrels\ Cat train\ Arctic\ supplies -- hauling\ sleds\ flying -- summer\ airplane -- Norseman\ airplane -- float\ camps\ photography -- aerial\ maps\ places -- knowledge of\ Half Moon Three\ Brower, Tommy\ reindeer\ reindeer -- hauling meat\ trading post\ reindeer -- sale of\ reindeer -- loss of\ caribou -- infiltration of\ Wien Airlines -- career\ U. S. Navy -- task force\ boat -- open ended vessel\ Barter Island -- airport\ DEW Line\ radar -- coastline\ Barrow\ Cape Simpson\ Point Halkett\ Cross Island\ Prudhoe Bay\ Wien, Sig\ airplane -- Norseman\ airplane -- wheels\ airplane -- search for\ airplane -- crash\ airplane -- rescue\ island -- conditions\ airplane -- parts\ airplane -- repair\ propeller -- replacement\ airplane -- mechanic\ St. Claire, Phil\ weather\ Cross Island -- landing\ airplane -- tie down\ airplane -- drift away\ airplane -- retrieval\ water -- cold|

Section 6: business -- starting own\ Wien Airlines\ airplane -- C-46\ flying -- commercial\ flying -- operation restrictions\ license -- State of Alaska\ Federal Aviation Administration\ airplane -- restrictions\ airplane -- licenses\ freight -- hauling\ business -- competition\ airplane -- leased\ Coghill, Jack\ fuel\ Nenana\ fuel -- hauling\ airplane -- crash\ Chandalar Lake\ Tobin Creek\ pilot -- injury\ airplane -- damage\ Schrader Lake\ U.S. Geological Survey\ Fedrix, Jim\ lake -- ice\ airplane -- retrieval\ beach -- landing strip\ Wien, Richard\ Wien Airlines -- retirement\ airplane -- purchase\ airplane -- C46\ airplane -- DC6\ Pacific Alaska Airlines\ business -- development of\ airplane -- capacity\ freight -- weight|

Section 7: pilot\ Wien Airlines\ flying -- stories\ airplane -- Gullwing Stinson\ Stevens Village\ Beaver\ Fort Yukon\ flights -- limited\ mail -- delivery of\ boat -- steamboat Nenana\ supplies -- delivery of\ hospital -- Fort Yukon\ Hudson Stuck Memorial Hospital\ Disesway, Doctor\ North Carolina\ babies -- delivery of\ Christian, Chief -- illness\ Christian Village\ winter\ patient -- retrieval\ airplane -- skies\ slough -- landing on\ snow -- depth\ airplane -- taking off\ airplane -- crash\ help -- waiting for\ Indians\ Edwards, Hamp\ Top of the World Flying School\ Weeks Field\ airplane -- repair\ runway -- location\ lake\ airplane -- retrieval\ runway -- packing\ snowshoes\ engine -- failure\ fuel -- lack of\ engine -- heating\ fuel tank\ airplane -- crash\ crash -- surviving\ Fairbanks\ Trans-Alaska Pipeline\ airplane -- F-27\ flying -- passengers\ Happy Valley\ Coldfoot\ Wien Airlines\ flying -- Brooks Range\ Smith Family\ Smith, Mary\ Wild Lake\ mining\ cabin\ supplies -- hauling\ Cat trains|