Earl Howard's Paperlift
Tribune photo published January 29, 1949
AIDS IN 'OPERATION PAPERLIFT' - W.S. Rupe, publisher of the Ames Daily Tribune, played an active role in "operation paperlift" Friday afternoon when because of unfavorable conditions of many county roads, newspapers for subscribers in and around Gilbert, Kelley, Slater, Huxley and Cambridge were transported by and dropped from this Piper Cub belonging to the Howard Flying Service and piloted by Earl Howard, owner. Accompanying Mr. Howard was Pat MacIver, the "bombardier" for the operation. The mail bag which Mr. Rupe is handing Howard is strictly permissible since some of the papers are those which would normally be sent through the post office. An idea of just how cold it was can be gained by observing the manner in which the wind is whipping the Tribune publisher's overcoat.
|Earl Howard worked in the aviation business
from 1937 to 1964 as owner of Howard Flying Service, manager of the Ames
Municipal Airport, flight instructor, commercial and charter pilot, and
airframe and engine mechanic. In 1940, he received a contract to
provide flight instruction to the Civilian Flight Training Program initiated
by our government in anticipation of the U.S. entry into World War II.
Following December 7, 1941, this program became the War Training Service.
Until 1944, Earl and his instructors provided flight training to Navy cadets.
Earl belonged to the OX5 Aviation Pioneers, an organization that chronicles the history of aviation, especially as related to the pre-war use of vee-configuration engines pioneered by Glen Curtiss. An Ames aviatrix, Vivian Snook Smedal, was also a member of this group.
After selling his private business in 1964, Mr. Howard established the Flight Service Department for Iowa State University, where he served as director of flight operations and one of its pilots until he retired in 1972. His lifelong passion for aviation also led him to two private projects: in 1967 he adapted a twin-engine plane and flew his wife, Charlotte, to Europe to attend the Rotary International Convention in France; and in 1985, he built and flew an experimental light-weight aircraft which he later donated to the Iowa State Historical Museum.
Tribune, May 2, 1950
By Bernie Kooser
Sometime about the 15th of June, on a quiet morning while the dew still glistens on the corn, fleets of trim little planes will lift themselves from airports throughout the corn belt. When their strong-nerved pilots return to their bases after hours of precision-flying, the greatest destroyer of the midwest's greatest destroyer crop will have- or be on its way to having - a monumental bellyache.
Those planes, operating from ports scattered throughout Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and other states, are one of the weapons being used to fight the European corn borer. Loaded with poison spray, the planes in a few hours can spread the borer destruction over acres which would take days to cover by any other method.
Typical of these bombardment units in the war on the borers is Chemical Applications, Inc., operated and officered by Ames' Earl Howard and Russell Miller, operating for the first time in 1949, the company sprayed more than 12,000 acres throughout the state. Last season, the company operated 12 planes, all Piper Cubs, equipped with tanks and spraying booms designed by Howard and Miller.
This season, the company plans to concentrate on spraying in Story county and will operate fewer planes, seven in all. In its first year of operation, the company had the planes, but didn't at first have the pilots, but the student body at Iowa State college furnished the answer to that. Faced with the need for at least 12 men who could pilot a plane with a fair degree of accuracy and precision, Howard called upon former Army and Navy pilots.
"Sure," the former service airmen said in effect, "when do you want us to start?"
It wasn't quite that simple. Before the pilots went aloft on their missions, they underwent an intensive training session under the direction of Pat MacIver, a former army pilot who is Howard's right-hand man. A nearby farmer gave MacIver permission to erect a couple of poles at one end of a field. Between the two poles was strung a ribbon. Idea: Fly down over the field about eight or 10 feet above the ground, and pull up in time so that the plane didn't crack the ribbon. The ribbon, the pilots were told was a high tension wire. The pilots caught on fast. There were only a couple of cases in which the plane and pilot hit the "high tension" wire and theoretically cracked up. The pilots learned to pull up in time.
So well had they learned their lessons that only one minor mishap occurred during the operations over the 12,000 acres last summer. And in that incident "the pilot did something he shouldn't have done," Howard observes. The pilot escaped from the crack-up with a sprained ankle and a lesson well learned.
That the training program paid big dividends is shown by the fact that several pilots were killed or seriously injured last summer in similar corn borer combat operations in the midwest. In addition to the flying training, the pilots received ground instructions and learned how to mix the chemicals which go into the 40 gallon tanks.
The planes the local firm uses are Piper Cubs, though the local men do make some engine changes to add a bit of power and install different props than are found on the standard Cubs. The planes, with their 35-foot booms can spray 12 rows in one sweep across a field. Most effective height is at about the height of the corn and it's nothing new to see the pilots come home with bits of corn stalks entangled in the landing gear from those 65-mile-an-hour passes across the headquarters of the borers.
Tests last year showed that spraying by planes resulted in about 76 percent control of the pests.
PASSENGERS ARE ALL 'BILLED' - Earl Howard (right) helps load hybrid chicks from Ames In-Cross, Inc., into his Beechcraft Bonanza in preparation for flight. Tuesday Howard will fly chicks to dealers in Farmington, N. J. Man helping Howard is Jim Auld.
Tribune, January 24, 1955
BABY CHICKS FLY WITH PLANE SERVICE HERE - Tuesday, a truck from Ames In-Cross hatcheries, Roland, will pull up to a shiny Beechcraft Bonanza plane at Howard flying service here and about 3,600 chicks will be loaded on the plane. These chicks are destined for Farmington, N.J. Their pilot will be Earl Howard, who runs a flying school, and charter service at the Ames municipal airport.
Every year, Howard hauls chicks to points all over the country for two of the three largest hybrid chick producers in the United States - Ames In-Cross and Dekalb. The operation usually lasts from January to June, the baby chick season. Howard usually carries from 3,600 to 6,000 chicks a trip, depending on how they are loaded. The chicks are flown to franchise dealers throughout the country who make the final cross for chicks to be sold to farmers the following year.
Last season, Howard flew around 500,000 commercial chicks to various parts of the country. His flights took him south to Tampa, northwest of Seattle, to the east coast and throughout the middle west. This year, he will be going to all of those places, plus California and Canada.
Howard uses two planes for the chick lift - the Beechcraft Bonanza and a Ryan Navion. On the trip to Farmington Tuesday, he will allow a day each way, actual flying time being around 6½ hours. Howard has been flying chicks for seven years. He learned to fly at Waterloo in 1935. Two years later, he came to Ames and during the war, helped train navy V-5cadets at Iowa State college for the air-transport command. He also acts as airport supervisor for the city.
Tribune, March 27, 1958
CHICKS TO CANADA - Cliff Annis (left), employee of Ames In-Cross Hatchery, Roland, and Ames pilot Earl Howard load baby chicks on a plane which will carry poultry to hatchery in Canada to be used as parent stock. The Roland company flies annually about 150,000 chicks to all parts of Canada. This particular cargo is bound for a hatchery in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Planes of this type can handle about 5,000 chicks, Howard said. During hatching season - from the latter part of February to early May - Ames In-Cross ships out three to four plane loads per week. Company also has outlets in a number of foreign countries, transportation handled by commercial airliners.
Iowa Takes to the Air, Volume Three (1941-2003)