Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Ralph Savory

Ralph Savory

Ralph Savory was born in 1910 in the Santa Rosa area in California, and graduated from high school in 1928. His mother died when he was 13, so six years later, his father decided to re-marry. Ralph was 19, so he moved to San Francisco where he got a job and learned to fly. While in school, Ralph became interested in airplanes because of Lindbergh’s famous 1927 flight over the Atlantic. Ralph began flying in San Mateo, California on a big grassy lot at a flight school called “Speedy Johnson Flying School.” He learned in World War I Jennies, and got his private license in 1929, but there wasn’t any business to be had. He then earned his commercial license in 1935.  Ralph was looking for work, and decided Alaska was getting into the flying business, so he headed north. After some bush piloting, Ralph decided to start working for Star Air Service where he flew all over the west coast of Alaska delivering people, mail and packages. Then an opportunity arose with Pan American Airways, a much bigger company, and he began pioneering the commercial route from Fairbanks to Seattle, eventually becoming their chief pilot for 23 years. He also pioneered the landing of jet airplanes in Juneau, Alaska. During his long career, he also piloted flights to the Soviet Union, Antarctica, northern Canada and all over east Asia. Ralph passed away on January 18, 2010.

Date of Death:
Jan 18, 2010
Ralph Savory appears in the following new Jukebox projects: