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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

History of Aviators Continues...

Last week's Friday Flyer was Hannah Hunhoff, a pilot in the making who is flying in a long line of aviators. Their history is incredible.

Hannah Hunhoff, "Cleared for Takeoff!"

Hannah's great great uncle

Elmer Schwankl of the 390th

Elmer flew as a First Officer on the B-17, was a Pub Pete/Dinah Might member of the 390th in the 568th bomb squadron. He was killed in action is Heuringhem France, 1/21/44. His plane was knocked out by flak. The Liberty Belle, that Hannah flew in last week, has ties to the 390th. That plane regularly flies the veterans groups from the 390th and is involved with various functions of the 390th Memorial Museum.

Hannah's great great uncle

Wilfred Schwankl of the 491st

Wilfred was a pilot with the 491st during WWII. He flew B-24's and survived the war. He lived until 1999 and had a full life. His wife is still alive and lives in the Palm Springs area.

Wilfred Schwankl and Crew

Hannah's Grandmother's cousin


General Schwankl flew with the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, Etain Air Base, France. From 1956 to 1959, while in France, General Schwankl flew F-86s and F-100s. After completing combat crew training in A-1E's at Hurlburt Field, Florida in 1966, General Schwankl remained there as an A-1-E gunnery instructor for American and Vietnamese pilots.

In January 1968 he was assigned with Project Tropic Moon to the 56th Special Operations Wing, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. While there he flew 15 night combat missions in A-1s from Nakhon Phanom and Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he served as assistant to, and operations officer.

He currently lives on Lopez Island.

Hannah's great grandfather

Glen frst flew airplanes in 1929 and trained pilots for WWII. He instructed out of Olympia Air Transport Washington Air College. The airplanes they used for instruction were the Interstate Cadet, the Monocoupe, a Stinson and an Aerocraft Secondary Trainer. One of his more notable landings, allowed him some column inches in the newspaper. Letting everyone know who had landed the biplane on a tree located near the airport.

Hannah's Grandfather

Frank Holgan August 1968

Frank's obsession with flying resulted from his interest in hunting and trapping in Alaska. Living in Talkeetna he regularly associated  with the bush pilot legends such as Don Sheldon, Kenny Holland, and Cliff Hudson.

He drove 114 miles one way for flying lessons under the GI bill which he earned after serving a four-year tour of duty in the army with the bulk of his service in Korea.

When he acquired his private pilot's license, he was hooked on flying and transferred to Anchorage to pursue a flying career. He earned a commercial license, a multi-engine rating, and instructed on floats for Barton Air Service out of Lake Hood.

His aviation experience, government service in the military and with the Alaska Railroad enabled him to get a job with the FAA. He attended training at Oklahoma City and his first assignment was an Air Traffic Controller in Cold Bay. Frank Holgan was lost in his plane around Port Moller AK in 1971.

Hannah's grandfather

Larry Hunhoff and Barbara Hunhoff (Joe's mom and dad) Joe, Cynthia and Hannah

Navy Airwing. Larry flew in S2F sub-hunters. I'm not sure about you, but I can see the pride in his eyes as he stands beside his son and family, with his beautiful wife, Barbara, to watch his grandaugher, Hannah, take flight in the Liberty Bell. Cynthia, standing behind Hannah, is most definitely the wind behind her family's wings. Barbara thank you for the warmth of your hands, and heart.

Hannah's uncle

Hannah and uncle Chris

Navy Airwing. Chris flew in P3 Orions hunting for subs. He is currently the Chief Pilot for Galvin Flying at Boeing Field. Chris is also Hannah's mentor. Not often professional pilots, who teach and inspire others, get to see the result of their effort. The many pilots they touch fly off into the world and they never see them again. Chris is gifted with the Hannah example of how important his life work is.  She is just one of many he's inspired.

Hannah's father

Joe and Hannah
Navy Airwing. Joe worked in the E2C Hawkeye as an Aviation Electronics Technician. He is currently working his 19th year at Boeing on Everett's flight line and delivery center. His passion of aviation is fueled by his enjoyment of watching Hannah's eyes sparkle when she sees a plane. I met them both at a Renton Airport flying event, and still smile at the image of a young girl dragging her dad behind, with a smile on his face, while she runs to fly a plane.

12 year old extraordinaire

Hannah and the Liberty Bell
  • Hannah attended EAA in July 2010, Osh Kosh, Wisconsin. 
  • A member of the museum of flight. 
  • A member of the Historical Flight Foundation at Paine Field.

Hannah is looking forward to volunteering, and would love to help restore aircraft with the Historical Flight Foundation. Last fall she attended their fly-in. She said, "WWI, WWII, Korean War and private aviation aircraft came, like my favorite yellow Piper Cub. What a cool day! It's on the family calendar for this year too!" 

She attended my talk at Out of the Blue Aviation last winter, and she say's, "It was nice hearing her stories about women in Aviation and the stories about her working her way to becoming a rared woman pilot."

She took a day off of school to attend the Women in Aviation Seminar at the Museum of Flight. Following that seminar, she went to Galvin Flying to visit her Uncle Chris, who gave her a private tour of some of their airplanes and hangars. Then she flew the Diamond Flight Training device. They simulated flying from Boeing Field to SeaTac.

Hannah said, "I took the scenic route and it took me about 45 minutes. I have confidence that I can fly the same route with out an instructor next to me. But I'll keep practicing. I'm proud of the people in my flamy, their service and that they loved to fly, I DO TOO!!!"

It's time to fly!

Hannah, you have a spectacular family! I know they are all proud of you. To read more about Hannah, click HERE

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. Wow, does Hannah write? She really should, or get a ghostwriter (someone who knows aviation, hmmmm). Talk about a family saga! This could be a bestseller.

  2. Linda... Yes, that is exactly what I told her too! Great minds think alike. :)

  3. Great family!!!:)
    I am surprised that her family has passion to fly.And Also motivation.Thank you ,Karlene san for sharing.have a great day

  4. Hi Jun, I'm not surprised that her family has passion either. You are so welcome!

  5. What an amazing family. How great that you can share those historic photos, too. Hannah definitely has flying in her blood!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw. Nice to meet you!

  6. Nice to meet you too Lydia! This is an amazing family...and I feel so fortunate to know them. Thanks for your comment!


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