Convairiety, Volume 13, Number 7, Wednesday, March 30, 1960 Page: 4 of 8
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Wednesday, March 30, 1960
WITH THE RAF—Convair Pomona’s Opal Anderson (Dept. 31), left, is shown with other American
volunteers for Royal Air Force while in training in Canada in 1942. Only 25 of 300 volunteers
were accepted for Air Transport Auxiliary membership.
Pomona Woman Recalls
Wartime Flying For RAF
From hat designing to ferrying
multi-engine bombers and fight-
er aircraft in war-torn Great
Britain is “two giant steps” in
Add to this record crop dust-
ing, leading an aerial circus, in-
structing cadets for the Army
Air Corps, and various other fly-
ing experience, and you’ve just
scratched the surface of the avia-
tion career of Convair Pomona’s
Opal Anderson (Dept. 31).
Opal, who is so tiny that she
had to sit on pillows to see over
the instrument panels in some of
the big planes she flew in World
War II, currently is a develop-
ment assembler in the experi-
mental factory at Convair Po-
mona, working on the second
During the day and on week-
ends, she splits her time between
finishing a partially completed
home she bought several months
ago in Ontario, and instructing
“I almost bit off more than I
could chew when I bought the
house,” she said. “But now I
have just about completed it and
I plan to spend more time in-
structing student pilots.”
Opal was designing hats for a
Chicago milliner when the “fly-
ing bug” bit her, and she earned
her first license more than 25
years ago. She continued to study
flying, and was the first woman
in Chicago to earn a commercial
license. Later she earned an in-
Of the 300 who volunteered and
were sent to Canada for training,
only 25 were selected for mem-
bership in the ATA. Opal was
one of the 25.
She spent three and a half
years in the United Kingdom,
and flew 53 different types of
aircraft, ranging from primary
trainers to four-engine bombers.
“I was actually checked out in
only six types. The others I flew
from our ‘Blue Bible,’ a book con-
taining performance data and in-
structions on all types of United
Nations aircraft,” she recalled.
Her flight log includes two
trans-Atlantic flights, one as
plane commander of a B-24 and
the other as co-pilot of a PBY.
Aside from a few forced land-
ings, none of which resulted in a
serious accident, her closest
scrape was a takeoff during a
“Several of us were taking off
in Spitfires, and due to the en-
gine noise I didn’t even know the
raid was in progress until I felt
my plane being buffeted about.
Fortunately there was no dam-
Following the War Opal
worked at several aviation jobs,
including flight instruction and
crop dusting. She believes she is
the only woman who worked as a
professional crop duster, at least
at the time she was in the busi-
ness. All in all, she believes she
has more than 10,000 hours of
“I stopped counting a long
time ago,” she explained.
With USAF Reserve
Convair FW recently received
a special certificate of apprecia-
tion from the commander of the
Tenth Air Force for “outstand-
ing cooperation” with the 622nd
USAF Reserve Hospital at Cars-
Maj. Gen. Harold B. Maddux,
Tenth Air Force Commander, pre-
sented the certificate to Frank
W. Davis, Convair vice president-
Col. William Rosenblatt, com-
mander of the 622nd said: “The
fine example of Convair in al-
lowing participation in training
and their splendid cooperation is
vital to such units being ade-
quately trained as a unit to cope
Convair FW employees present-
ly training with the reserve unit
are Walter Hill, James Hanson,
Harold Williamson, and Jack
FW Will Make Six
Convair FW will present six
“excellence in teaching” awards
of $250 each this year to three
high school and three junior
high school science teachers in
A Convair committee will se-
lect the winners, assisted by
‘recommendations of a special
committee of TCU professors.
Winners will be named about
May 1, according to Joe B.
Ellis, industrial relations ad-
Link With Home
Convair Ham Operator Links
Greenland Troops With Home
T. N. Lawrence of Dept. 7-7
at Convair FW is doing his share
to bols'ter morale of Air Force
trops at remote Sondrestromfjord
AFB in Greenland.
Lawrence’s ham radio station,
W5GVZ, has for months afforded
one of the only vocal links be-
tween many a Greenland-based
airman and his Fort Worth
friends and relatives.
Accordingly, Greenland Ama-
teur Radio Club has presented
Lawrence with a plaque for his
“fine cooperation and work . . .
in making phone calls for the men
at this station to their families
and loved ones.”
It all started a couple of years
ago when a contingent of Cars-
well AFB airmen transferred to
the Greenland base.
“A good friend of mine con-
tacted me fi’om Greenland over
a ham radio set,” Lawrence said,
“and the calls have been snow-
balling ever since.”
Lawrence now toils at this self-
less labor about four hours a
week, usually setting up about
15 calls per session.
On occasion he serves as a sort
of one-man messenger center,
with such heart-warming infox*-
mation as, “It’s a boy!” “The
kids are doing fine,” or “Your
husband is due to fly home next
week.” And, of course, there are
emergency calls, too.
At the Greenland base, Lawr-
ence has been told, it’s not un-
common for airmen to queue up in
50-below weather to await a radio
call from home.
“These calls are terrific
morale builders for our boys in
Greenland,” said Maj. David M.
Robinson, who is back in Fort
Worth following a stint at
An avid ham operator and
member of CRA Radio Club,
Lawrence has certificates — ex-
change cax*ds acknowledging con-
tact—fi’om 87 different foreign
countries. Actually, he’s talked
with citizens of 156 different
None of these calls, he admits,
has been more rewarding than
the one to Greenland.
On IAS Council
Don Gex-meraad, chief engineer-
ing test pilot at Convair San
Diego, has been elected to the
Institute Council of IAS, accord-
ing to an announcement released
Thirteen new members of the
Council, which acts as a board
of directors for the Institute of
Aeronautical Sciences, were chos-
en at the national New York
meeting the fix'st of this year.
Germeraad was one of five named
from the Western Region.
He served as chairman of the
San Diego section of IAS during
the 1957-58 term.
HELLO GREENLAND—T. N. Lawrence, Dept. 7-7, at Convair FW
contacts Sondrestromfjord AFB in Greenland for Maj. David M.
Robinson, who was formerly stationed there.
She organized an all-girl fly-
ing club in the Chicago area in
the late 1930s, and this led to an
all-gii'l flying show which barn-
stormed the country for two
years. Immediately prior to
World War II she became a pri-
mary and secondax-y flight in-
structor for the Army Air Cox'ps,
and taught some 50 cadets to fly
in two civilian flight schools.
“Then someone decided that
only men should instruct and I,
along with a number of other
women, was without a job,” she
recalled. “Many of us offered
our services to the Ferry Com-
mand, but were turned down.”
In 1942 Jackie Cochran, famous
aviatrix and the wife of Floyd
Odium, former Convair board
chaix-man, started recruiting
American women for the Air
Transport Auxiliary of the Royal
Air Force, and Opal volunteered.
Expert Hobbyist Carves Marvelous Miniatures
With a battered pocketknife
and a x’emai'kable talent for carv-
ing Doyle Knipp (SD Dept. 401)
can turn a piece of wood into a
miniature spinning wheel half
the size of his little finger.
Or, if you prefer, he’ll trans-
form a rough gun stock into a
work of art, carved with detailed
wildlife scenes and carefully in-
laid in pax-t with polished aba-
Knipp, a strapping six-footer
and former chief gunner’s mate
in the Navy, dux-ing the past eight
years has completed a “house-
ful” of miniature furniture.
For instance, the spinning
wheel. It’s less than two inches
high, so painstakingly duplicated
after the original that even the
tiny bobbin turns, although it
is only twice the size of a pin-
Then there’s a Duncan Phyffe
tilt-top table. The size of a fist,
it’s about as lax-ge as he makes
this type of furniture. To make
the table, Knipp blended together
no less than 13 different kinds
All of the miniatures are de-
tailed, yet solidly built. The tiny
drawers in a hutch do not stick.
Two rocking chairs are so au-
thentic they almost creak as they
tilt back and forth. A china
cabinet, patterned after an orig-
inal more than 200 years old,
flashes back a three-dimensional
effect as legs and shelves are
x’eflected in minute mirrors.
Sometimes Knipp works from
a sketch, but more often de-
pends on memory. He’s ex-
perimented with different sets
of carving tools, but always
goes back to a trusty pocket-
Knipp turns his talents in other
directions also. Altogether, he’s
designed and caxwed six gun
stocks. One, inscx-ibed with oak
leaves and acorns, was given to
a friend. It was later sold for
Knipp, however, is dead set
against trying to produce the gun
stocks as a money-paying side-
i line. “It’s a hobby,” he asserts.
MINIATURES—Doyle Knipp (SD Dept. 401) can set “houseful”
of furniture atop dining room table. Miniatures displayed are prod-
ucts of eight years of spare time effort. Under magnifier Knipp
examines spinning wheel, duplicated after original even to tiny
“I£ I were to tux*n it into a prod-
uction-line job I’d px-obably lose
all my incentive.”
He hesitates to say how long
it takes to carve and finish a
rough gun stock. But it’s def-
initely a matter of months.
The finish alone is a major
project. Knipp polishes the stock
and forearm with linseed oil un-
til it “bleeds,” in other words
becomes completely saturated.
Then he applies four coats of
French polish. “This type of fin-
ish improves with age,” Knipp as-
sex-ts, “and needs only a light
buff to bring out the soft glow.”
His present project is a 30.06
rifle stock with basket weave de-
sign and abalone insets high-
lighted with manzanita wood.
Knipp is especially proud of
his “black beauty,” a 7.35 Italian
Cai’cano. One example of the de-
tailed work on the rifle is a
bear’s head at the end of the
fox’earm. The head itself is white
bix-ch, with a red cedar tongue,
white bone teeth, and ix’onweed
eyes and nose.
A form block maker at Con-
vair SD, Knipp has also turned
out some full-size desks and tab-
les, some with decox-ative inlays
a quartei’-of-an-inch thick.
Knipp never pushes any of his
projects to x-apid completion. He
only works for short periods of
i time at his Lakeside home. “It’s
! a good way to relax,” he explains.
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General Dynamics Corporation. Convair Division. Convairiety, Volume 13, Number 7, Wednesday, March 30, 1960, periodical, March 30, 1960; Fort Worth, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth777380/m1/4/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth.