General Telephone Company Aircraft Photo Collection

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Narrative provided by Diane Fowler Soloff



In 1956, E.H. Danner was vice-president of the Texas and Oklahoma telephone companies. After many trips to the exchanges and facilities by car, Mr. Danner and President Wright felt there was a need to travel by air. Air travel would allow them to visit and return in one or two days. Some of the many duties for the plane were supervision of the field emergencies to take equipment to patch up service outages. Other duties were for executives to meet in one city for meetings.

They decided to lease an airplane in 1956 and employed a contract pilot. It proved the amount of time saved by personnel using the place was of great value. In 1957 a plane was purchased, and Neal Bradshaw was employed as the first company pilot. The plane was a small, Piper Apache but after a while it did not have the sufficient load capacity that was needed. It was sold, and a used twin-engine Beechcraft which was larger and had more power was purchased. The use of the airplane proved to be valuable in planning for the future.

In 1963, Gus Fowler was employed by General Telephone Company to be the second pilot. A 402 Cessna airplane was bought, and it was used for mail runs, meetings and delivering paychecks throughout the facilities.

As years have passed, the fleet of airplanes increased with the times including a Grumman Gulfstream and several Lear jets. Many pilots, mechanics and support staff were added also. The use of corporate aircraft was necessary to the success of GTE.


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