Aero Club members hear from WWII pilot
Sun Lakes resident Cal Venable dreamed about becoming a Naval aviator. Five years later, he entered an Army aviation program and eventually established a distinguished career flying during World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Venable described his experiences flying aircraft from a J2Cub to a P-80 Shooting Star during a presentation to the Sun Lakes Country Club (SLAC) meeting December 20. Highlighting his career was a tour of duty flying the Hump from India to China during WWII.
“I graduated from flight training in 1943 with orders to Hamilton Field in California for P-38 fighter aircraft training,” he told his audience. “When we arrived there, there wasn’t a P-38 on the field and we were told we were the chosen few to pioneer the new Air Transport Command flying C-46, the largest twin-engine aircraft of its time.”
Flying out of Homestead, Florida, Venable and his flying mates spent hours each day seeking thunderstorms to fly through. “I learned all about carburetor ice and to be sure to keep enough power on to create enough carburetor heat on to keep the engines running so when you got spit out at the top and started down you had engine power to stop the decent.”
Venable went to Nashville to pick up a fully loaded brand new C-46 and flew it to India, arriving in September, 1943. He was 20 years old at the time. He went on to fly 104 trips over The Hump (Himalayan Mountains) without an engine failure or aborted mission.
Following the war, he was assigned to the 412th Fighter Group flying P-51 Mustangs and eventually P-80 Shooting Star jet aircraft, seeing duty during the Korean Conflict.
Cal Venable flew 104 successful missions over the Hump at age 20-21 during World War II (left photo). He described his flying experiences to the Sun Lakes Aero Club.
Cal Venable WWII
SLAC meets the third Monday of the month from October through May in the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room beginning with refreshments and camaraderie at 6:30 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. The public is invited to all meetings. Additional information is available at the club’s web site, www.SunLakesAeroClub.org or by calling Bob Walch at 895-8869 or Al Galvi at 802-0104.