A Personal History of RHV


Vern and I quickly became friends. Shortly after that he asked if I would like to take a flight with him, something I couldn't say yes to fast enough. When the big day arrived, we met at Reid Hill view airport. It was there that his dad based his Aeronca Champ.

Vern knew his way around the airport very well. Eventually through that friendship I was able to work as a “line boy” for Spartan Aviation, the only flight school operating out of a "real building" at the time. Harold "Mac" Mcmurdo was the owner, and his fleet consisted mainly of Cessna aircraft. He was a Brantly Helicopter dealer, and had one on the line which he used for training. Mary Lail was his secretary, and her husband was a San Jose Police officer.

Mac's school was located near where the Civil Air Patrol offices are now. Those offices were at one time the County Airport Operations office, and were used until the main terminal was built in 1970.

Reid-Hillview just before the new main terminal was built (1970)

Mac's mechanic at the time was Norm Derks. Norm had his own maintenance shop located in one of the hangars in the main line of hangars shown here. Norm later went on to get his flight engineer rating for B-727’s (when there was such a thing, remember that 3rd seat in the cockpit?) and flew for non-scheduled airlines for some years.

   About this time I started taking flying lessons at Spartan Aero. My instructor was Mr. Bob Haney. Bob had flown P-38's during WW-2. I managed to get to solo that summer before starting back to high school for my final year. I finished up my Private ticket by the next summer.

Amelia Reid worked out of a trailer parked a short distance away from Spartan Aero.