Byron Cramblet

Byron at an Old Bold Pilots breakfast in OceansideByron was born March 25, 1921, in Plattsburgh, New York. After graduating from Port Washington High School in New York. While attending Clarkson College he started flying. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, he responded to the call of duty and left college to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He was selected for pilot training and upon earning his wings, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and went on to fly bomber and transport aircraft.

After the war, in November 1945, he joined the fledgling Scandinavian Airlines and moved to Stockholm with his wife, Carol and their two daughters.  Blessed with a "can do" attitude, in 1946, he captained their inaugural flight from Stockholm to New York City.  The flight across the Atlantic in the Douglas DC-4 "Dan Viking" took 25 hours with stops at Copenhagen, Prestwick and Gander.

C-54 off-loading at BerlinWhen the Cold War heated up in 1948, Byron was recalled to active duty by the Air Force. During the Berlin Airlift he  flew a total of 169 missions.   He always felt honored to be able to serve his country and  after his release from active duty he continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of Major.

In 1950, he joined American Airlines. Captain Cramblet was based in New York and lived in Huntington on Long Island, where a third daughter was born. He was made Assistant Director of Training for American in 1960. Byron, always active and competitive, taught his children to sail by racing the Thistle sailboat 393 from Huntington Yacht Club. In 1967, he relocated to Texas to be at  American's new training facilities at Dallas/Fort Worth.  While there he enthusiastically started to fly sailplanes.

In 1972, Byron transferred to American's San Diego domicile and moved his family  to Vista, California. Reaching the FAA mandated retirement age of 60* in 1981, he retired from the airline. Byron remained active in aviation until well into his eighties. He flew his own Beechcraft Debonair, which he volunteered to fly for the Civil Air Patrol and Angel Flight. His gregarious nature and ability to teach, led him to serve as a docent at the Air and Space Museum. He was also active with a new Thistle sailboat 3442 and raced at the Mission Bay Yacht Club.  In addition he continued to compete with his sailplane.

Sadly, Byron is no longer with us, having Gone West on January 28 2009. At the time of his passing, he was active with the "Old Bold Pilots Association" of Oceanside, California.

Click here for photos taken at Byron's memorial , taken by Byron's sister, Esther Snively.

Reprinted, in-part, from a San Diego Union Tribune article

*  The FAA changed the mandatory retirement age for Airline Pilots from 60 to 65 in 2008