|As an old, and I do mean old, ex Superior Airways pilot, working for O. J. from 1968 through 1972, I can attest to what has been said about the company and the man. I flew 180's for $300 per month plus 4 cents per mile, Beavers for $400 per month and 6 cents per mile, and Beech 18s for $400 per month and 10 cents per mile.
Every spring you had to threaten to quit before you would get an increase in monthly pay and possibly a larger airplane.
Maintenance was iffy at best with inspections being done on paper but in reality usually done by the pilot or possibly a dock hand with some mechanical expertise.
I flew a 180 out of Pays Plat at the lodge on short trips to the surrounding lakes and St Ignace Island hauling fishermen and moose hunters.
I was based in Nakina and became base manager there while flying to points north with Beavers and Beech 18s delivering freight to mining camps, settlements such as Fort Hope, Ogoki Post, Landsdown House and Attawapiskat. We also did our own and other outfitters fishing and hunting camps along with a lot of goverment work flying in both federal and provincial crews to stream guaging sites on rivers throughout all parts of NWO.
I spent one winter based at Wiebenville flying an 18 on freight and fuel oil hauls to Big Trout Lake, Fort Severn and other communities. Wiebenville was as bad as it gets. Old trailers with barely liveable heat, no running water, two-holer toilets and a mess haul that left alot to be desired. It was an experience that would not be forgotten.
I was working for Superior when Howard, OJ's son, was killed in a beaver returning to Port Arthur from Heaven Lake. He got into weather and spiralled in and burned on the outskirts of town. Although only about 100 yards from a home, it took over a week to find the wreck site
after an extensive search. I was the one who had to let his mother Roberta know the bad news. I don't think Orville ever forgave himself for letting Howard bite off more than he could chew. Too young and inexperienced to be flying what he was flying in those conditions.
Looking back on it now it was quite a learning experience. Would I do it again? Probably if I was young and foolish and searching for adventure.
Bob Ostrom, Corpus Christi, Texas