With the current glut of “Alaska Oriented’ programming on a multitude of cable networks, the idea of THE LAST FRONTIER (actually the name of one of the shows!) strikes a chord of adventure in all of us, making us ponder if we should seek feats of “daring do,” to carve our names on the canvas of Alaska’s wilderness! The one thing you will note on many of these shows is the impact that aviation, particularly General Aviation, has on Alaska even to this day!
“When you think of Aviation Pioneers,” Jason Wolcott, Vice President of TURBINE TRAINING in Manhattan, Kansas, shared somewhat philosophically, “many of the more prominent ones may very well be some of the Alaska Aviation Legends that brought Alaskan Aviation to where it is now.”
And, one of those “Alaskan Legends” is Bill Diehl. Born in Sacramento, California in 1931, Diehl was responsible for fifty plus aircraft being created in Anchorage. Further, he went on to take an existing airframe and then designed, manufactured, and serviced the Arctic Tern.
“I guess the reason Diehl is kind of near and dear to our hearts,” Dale Wolcott, TURBINE TRAINING’s President shared, “is because he also went on to develop a flight director simulator for twin-engine jets. In fact,” Dale continued, “at one point in the late ‘60’s, early ‘70’s Diehl was training the vast majority of FAA pilots in the United States on a Saberliner-Collins FD 108 flight director training system, one of the earlier simulator systems.”