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Robert C. Reeve

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Pioneer Alaska Pilot

Airline Executive

Born Wauankee, Wisconsin

March 27, 1902—August 25, 1980


During 1928-32 Robert Campbell Reeve honed his flying skills by pioneering the airmail routes to South America and across the forbidding Andes Mountains. The operation of aircraft beyond the bounds of civilization, in hostile environment and over rugged terrain, required men of high courage, ingenuity, and skill. "Bob" Reeve was that man.

Reeve moved to the territory of Alaska in 1932. Like the vanguard of aero pioneers he joined, Reeve recognized the potential and importance of air transportation in this land of more than half a million square miles of largely uncharted regions of mountains and ice. The technique of taking his ski-equipped Fairchild 51 off from the mud flats of Valdez at low tide to deliver freight to the gold mines high up on the snow covered mountain earned him the proud title of "Glacier Pilot".

The hurried military fortifications of Alaska and the establishment of a chain of air bases in the Aleutians during World War II placed him in air operations that required the movement of heavy outsize freight in his Boeing 80. When peace came, it was Bob Reeve whom had the experience to establish a viable air service along this storm-tossed, volcano-infested chain. Without subsidy, beginning with a few war surplus transports in 1946, he nurtured Reeve Aleutian Airways into a modem airline, which today serves 22 remote communities over 2,800 route miles.

Invested 1980 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004