1940 Air Terminal Museum blog

Captain A.J. High gone west

Friday, April 5, 2013
Filed under: News by Blair

We are saddened to tell you that one of our very own, a WWII hero and commercial aviation pioneer, Captain AJ High, has gone west.

Following is a brief bio from the webpage about his book, “Meant To Fly.”

AJ High became a pilot for the Army when he was just 18 years old and flew B-17, B-25 and B-29 aircraft. He served in a combat unit in the Aleutians during the war and later served as an instructor pilot. His story of rolling a B-29 is the stuff legends are made of. He became a commercial airline pilot for Trans-Texas Airways in 1947 at the age of 24, flying as a First Officer until he could legally be designated as a Captain on his 25th birthday.

In 1947 he was one of the first sixteen pilots hired by Trans-Texas Airways, and became the last living TTA pilot. His career spanned the evolution of commercial airline passenger service in Texas from its beginnings to the modern era, and he flew every aircraft from converted Army C-47 prop planes to jet engined DC-9s.

Captain High recalls…..

“I was one of the luckiest men to have been put on the earth at a time when flying was still a great adventure. I am one of the last of the “treetoppers,” or pilots of the early commercial aviation era. When we started Trans-Texas Airways in 1947, there were just sixteen pilots. In our way, we were pioneers. We had to teach ourselves how to fly new aircraft. There were no classes. We learned how to fly by flying. I lived to be the last of the original sixteen Trans Texas Airlines pilots. I feel I have a legacy to leave, because I am the only one left who knows the stories.

I loved my airplanes. They each had a different feel and a distinct personality. Most pilots of my era wouldn’t have flown if they didn’t truly love it. I’m thankful. I’ve been given the gift of doing the only thing I ever wanted to do since I was eight years old – fly! I hope this book will inspire each of you to reach for your own dream, and know that everything is possible if you just give it your best effort. I honestly believe I was meant to fly.”