Ray Hylan.
RAY HYLAN - 1960
Contributed by Don McLane, 6-6-11

Ray Hylan.
RAY HYLAN - 1960
Contributed by Don McLane, 6-6-11
via email from Don McLane, 6-4-11
     I was just a line boy at the time but in the early spring our airport would often be still snow covered an slushy. Most all the airplanes were tailwheel equipped and could operated if one were careful. Ray got into a heated argument with the instructors because they were not flying the Tri Pacer . The airplane had a nose wheel and would dig into the snow and mud. Hylan said BULL---- I'll show you that you can fly it "no problem"
     He started it up and taxied abour 50 yards when the nose wheel dug in and up on its nose it went. When he climbed down all he said was, "We better put the airplane in the hanger and not use it till the field is better. I've got to go over to the other field." He left and the rest of us had to get the airplane off its nose and push and pull it through the snow and into the hanger

via email from Don McLane, 6-6-11
     All of his line boys had great respect and love for the man. Just off the top of my head and in my time there was John Lebbon retired USAIR. Mike Jacopille,retired USAIR. Mike Schubert pilot for Kodak and now retired, Jamie Kraft, retired United. Craig Stricker flew for Dresser Industry. Two other names, John Jenkins, American Airlines and Jamie Lindsay, United Airlines. Jamie was a few years after I left but he was the only line boy with his own airplane. His family was part of Slibley, Lindsay and Curr Co. in Rochester. He just retired and was flying the 747 to Asia. Through the years the names will fill a book, many before me and some after.
     I met John Lebbon's retirement flight into Pittsburgh and has taken a bunch of photos of the old days at Hylan airport. As we walked down the hall John laughed and said, " Hell Mac, if it wasn't for Ray we would have ended up in jail" Just kids off the street. You'll hear a lot about Ray, good and bad but when you look at the number of line boys who ended up with careers in aviation that's a real plus.
     One story you'll like, Hylan headed for Canada way up in the north country and filed a flight plan, one of the few times he ever did. Although no one had ever heard of a flight plan they you did not have to cancel Hylan insisted that is what he filed. Over a period of several days no one had heard from him. The weather was really bad with low ceilings and rain and it was assumed Ray had gone down either in Canada or in Lake Ontario. For days a search went on and included the coast guard, Canadian search parties, Civil Air patrol and in addition John Knox of Knox Jello and Dick Benson. Both had Widgeons and for days flew in lousy weather looking for Ray. Newspapers carried the stories of his being missing and the gloom and doom around the airport was every where. Several days later I was in the hanger and headed out to the gas pump to get some gas for cleaning. It was still low ceilings but they had lifted somewhat. Just as I reached the gas pump out of mist and low clouds came the roar of Rays Widgeon just barley 300 feet off the ground. All those in the building came out including Jean, Ray's wife. Ray taxied to the gas pump and when he opened the door he looked my and asked Anybody looking for me? He did not realize that the whole had been looking for him. I just smiled and said Yes Sir Mr. Hylan everybody has been looking for you. It seems as he started across the lake on the waqy home the weather was so bad that he headed east and landed at a private strip near the Adirondacks where his old flying buddy, Red Panella had a cabin and the two of them relived the old days till the weather got better..As I remember it was around 1956-57 and TVs were not much around and Hylan never realized the amount of searching being done on his behalf.
     Everybody from the office started crying and Hylan was a bit put out at the whole thing. He did have a time with the FAA and others before the whole thing finally blew over. I do have lots of pictures and news items as I kept everything that had to do with the Hylan airport.
via email from Don McLane, 6-4-11
     I was one of Hylan's lineboys back in the 1950s, became an Instructor in 1957. Many the times we sat around and listen to the stories he would tell. I had a room up over the main building and lived on the airport for several years. I wrecked his new Tbird and all he said was "OUCH". Several of us went on to long airline careers because of Ray Hylan. We love that man

via email from Dennis Dixon, 6-29-08
     I taught flying for Ray for four years in the early 70's...I flew just about everything he owned and had many hours of flying "with him," (and the cigar). For some reason he liked me......After Ray, a detour of course. a lot of stories I could tell.
     He was a good man if you got to know him. Louie Garbato, Gordie Stopplebien, Billy Coleman, (lost his life), Bill Standing, Jamie Lindsy, Brad Ludington On and on. Oh YA Liz Ruth! and Heidi. what a great time.
     I saw N402 E just a few years ago and she looked good

Dennis Dixon
I'm 60 and still flying and teaching!

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