Friday, April 27, 2012

So long Jim...

I'm sorry to have to announce that Captain Jim Baker died just a couple of days ago, 25 April 2012. Jim was a Korean War, Marine veteran who was hired by Northeast Airlines in 1957. Jim was also the BOS Chief Pilot for Delta Airlines when he retired in 1993. Not ready to hang up his flight bag just yet, Jim became the Director of Flight Operations at Lawrence, MA based King Air Charters and later at the New Pan Am based in Portsmouth, NH.

 Jim landing at Plymouth, NH during a recent Northeast Airlines reunion 

Jim was a regular at the Plymouth, NH, Northeast Airlines reunions held twice a year and hosted by retired NEA/DAL captain Bill Grady, where he enjoyed flying low passes in his North American AT6. If you spent any time at retired NEA/DAL captain Mike Harts Hampton Airfield, a magnet for antique, classic and tailwheel airplanes, you'd see Jim regularly in his Husky, enjoying lunch in the company of pilots.

Jim in his Husky (with his NEA cap) at Hampton Airfield in Hampton, NH

My first encounter with Jim was next to the pool at the Miami Skyways Motel just behind the old National Airlines Hanger on LeJeune Road by MIA. I was a ten year old boy with my parents on vacation in Miami and Jim was a DC-6B Flight Engineer on layover. This was the Northeast Airlines MIA layover hotel with DC-6's, DC-3's, Connies and Convairs departing overhead constantly and was just about the most exciting place this 10 year old had ever seen. Jim was an accomplished diver, took me under his wing and taught me the complexities of an inward pike (without hitting my head on the board!)

Years later after Air New England went out of business I approached Jim for advice concerning airline employment. He offered helpful insight but DAL wasn't hiring at that time, in fact few airlines were as the nation wallowed in recession. Does this sound like a familiar scenario? 

As time passed, even though many years separated us, every encounter with Jim always included a big "Hey Rand, what's going on" as he'd enquire about my airline career and tell he how proud my Dad would have been to have seen this. Like almost everyone at Northeast Airlines that I've known, Jim was a genuinely nice guy and a pleasure to have known.

Jim leaving Plymouth, NH at the end of another great "Yellowbird" reunion.
Headed West.

Though Jim retired from a Delta L-1011 he was equally at home flying  antique taildraggers from a small grass airfields in New England. 



  1. Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.

  2. Sorry about Jim's passing Rand, we're all heading toward that portal in time. The current heading photo brought back a flood of memories of the time I spent on both sides of the DC-3 cockpit.

    Tom Helwick

  3. I bet it does Tom. I took this shot when Mike Farrey and I flew the Dakota Aviation Museum's DC-3 from Hampton, NH to an airshow in Buffalo, NY a few summers ago. I can hear that 1830 singing her song and can smell the wonderful fragrance of her cockpit.


  4. Hello Cap. Peck:

    Greetings from Mexico and my condolences for the loss of your friend. It is sad to loose someone that shares the same passion as ours.

    Looking forward to regain more contact with you, let me share that I remembered your posts with your Cub and this is a humble homage to you:

    Hope you like it... Hugs and best wishes.

  5. Sorry to hear of Jims passing. When I was a young man working the ramp for Delta in the early 80s I met him and Bob Francis along with Walt Fieldsa and they gave me a wealth of encouragment and knowledge.....tailwinds and blueskies Jim!!