Holder of the ONA Super Wings Award for magnificent contributions to the ONA Crew Web
Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways Authored by cockpit and cabin crews of Overseas National Airways
Featuring great pilots of Overseas National Airways
1951 headlines - ONA crew perform emergency landing in a Beech 18, all survive








Nettie Miller, Pamela Greene McClune and Ras Nielsen

Ras crossing the Atlantic!

Ras´ Beech 18 Travelog!

Jim Hamilton In Memoriam

Left - to- Right,
The gentleman with the necktie
is Captain Bill Rakowski,
AirCal/American pilot,
Ron Hart (ONA)
Ron Wilson (ONA)
Carl Von Doymi (ONA)
Tom Kennan (ONA)


Captain Ras Nielsen

For the last several years I have been the 
owner of an antique Beech 18 airplane, 
the Beech 18 is a small all metal, two engine 
airplane, it has 5 seats in the cabin, 
in addition to it's two pilot seats. 

My airplane was manufactured in October 1959, 
however the production run of the Beech 18 
started in 1937, and lasted until 1969, a 
total of 8,980 were manufactured. 

The Beech 18 is one of the most important 
airplanes ever, it's full story has been told 
by Robert K. Parmerter in his book,
Beech 18 - A Civil & Military History 

This book is a 567 page masterpiece, that 
includes about 730 photos.


Ras at ONA´s New York
October 25, 2003 reunion

Ras Nielsen on ONA and Vietnam


Ras, Britt Herland-Silverthorn
and Pat Kineen-Van Dekamp

D18C-T NX80184 of Texas Airlines before 
certification. While this airplane was 
flying for Overseas National Airways in 
1951 the starboard engine fell off, and 
it made an emergency landing in 
San Francisco Bay.
All 4 aboard were rescued.

On page 214 of this book I found the above picture, take a look at the caption below the picture.

We are all seniors by now, but if any of you senior seniors recall anything that relates to the story about this airplane, then please let us all know.
Robert Parmerter was good enough to provide the following additional information:

  • This airplane, (Registration No. NC80184) was manufactured in 1946.
  • Delivered June 07, 1946 to J.D. Reed Co., Houston, TX.
  • Purchased by Texas Airlines, Houston, TX some time 1946 - 1947.
  • Purchased by Klamath Basin Pine Mills, Seattle, WA, December 1947.
  • Purchased by Lawrence Warehouse Co., San Francisco, CA, November 1948.
  • Purchased by Overseas National Airways (ONA), Oakland, CA, date not known.

    ONA used this aircraft for flight training and crew positioning. Aircraft was destroyed March 23, 1951 when it sank after an emergency landing in San Francisco Bay, CA, after the starboard (Right hand) engine shook loose and fell off into the bay. The 4 ONA employees aboard were rescued by a USCG helicopter and a USCG JRF. Captain Ras Nielsen

  • San Mateo Times March 23, 1951
    Front Page

    Woman, 3 Men In Plane Fall Into S.F. Bay

    Quartet Pulled Alive
    From Water Near S.M.
    A woman and three men were rescued 
    from the waters of San Francisco bay 
    this afternoon by the coast guard, 
    after a twin-engined Beechcraft 
    plane in which they were flying 
    plunged into the water between 
    Coyote Point and the San Mateo 
    The operators of the plane, which bore 
    the number NC80184 were not identified 
    up to a late hour this afternoon.
    According to Edward Watson, manager of 
    the San Mateo airport, he saw the plane 
    circle for about 15 minutes attempting to 
    land at Oakland airport and then Mills 
    field. Finally, he said, it straightened 
    out as if to start its approach to Mills 
    field and then suddenly plunged into 
    the water.

    San Carlos airport, San Mateo community
    A coast guard helicopter was dispatched by 
    the Mills field tower and was able to pick 
    up the woman passenger and take her to Mills 
    field where she was given treatment for
    exposure and shock.  
    A coast guard crash boat sent from Mills
    field picked up the three men and were 
    returning them to the coast guard base.
    The Oakland airport control tower told 
    the plane which reported it was running out 
    of gas to make a try at an emergency runway, 
    but instead it made a pass and then circled 
    out into the bay and by radio said it would 
    try to land at Mills field.
    Names of those picked up from the water were: 
    Van Buren Nixon, Douglas Larsen, Ivan 
    Landfather and Miss Betty McGuire, all 
    employees of the Overseas National Airways, 
    Oakland airport. 
    Home addresses and ages of the four rescued 
    persons were not yet known, according to the 
    officials of the coast guard station.

    Roy Sloan, harbormaster at the Coyote Point yacht harbor, said he saw the plane in the water but thought at first it was a boat. When he realized a plane was down, he said, he notified the coast guard. The plane remained afloat at least 10 minutes, Sloan said, before it sank under the water.

    Pilot Praised In Bay Crash
    San Mateo Times March 24, 1951

    A woman and two men today praised their 
    luck they happened to be flying with an 
    experienced pilot, and that the United 
    States coast guard were Johnny on the 
    spot yesterday afternoon when their 
    twin-engine Beechcraft dropped the 
    starboard engine over San Francisco bay, 
    forcing them to make a watery landing 
    off Coyote Point.
    The four aboard the plane, all employees 
    of the Overseas Airlines, were:
    Douglas P. Larsen, 38, pilot, and 
    vice-president of the airline, in charge 
    of operations, of 833 Ano Avenue, San 
    Van Buren Nixon, 33, 6821 Habsam way, 
    Ivan L. Landfather, 34, 17355 Los Banos 
    avenue, Hayward.
    Mrs. Betty O’Neill, 33, 17583 Reamer 
    road, Castro Valley, secretary to Larsen.
    The plane in which the four were flying
    made the landing in the bay north of San 
    Mateo bridge, while on a radio check 
    flight from Oakland airport.

    Coyote Point yacht harbor
    Oakland airport
    Quick action on the part of the coast guard 
    guardsmen at Mills field, after receiving 
    simultaneous phone calls of the landing 
    from William G. Rothrock, general manager of 
    San Mateo bridge, and Roy Sloane, harbor 
    master at Coyote Point, was credited with 
    saving the quartet.
    A helicopter flown by  Lt. (j.g.) Thomas W. 
    Hynes, 1450 Lincoln, Burlingame, and a JRF 
    amphibious plane flown by CPO Glenn Kellogg 
    Jr. of Millbrae, arrived at the scene within 
    minutes after the messages were received, and 
    found the four swimming.
    Changing planes at the scene the helicopter 
    pilot Hynes flew the Grumman Duck, and Kellogg 
    the rotor-winged ship. The woman passenger, 
    Mrs. O’Neill was returned in the helicopter, 
    while the other three men were returned in 
    the JRF.
    All four were treated for exposure and shock 
    at the coast guard base. They were later 
    interviewed by Deputy Sheriff Paul Jensen on 
    circumstances of the crash-landing. Nixon 
    lauded Larsen’s skill in landing. 
    The craft sank a few minutes after the quartet 
    had swam clear.

    Grumman JRF-2/3/5 G "Goose"

    ONA photo archives supplied by Ed Kaye

    Left to right Al Wintermyer,
    Frank Schooley and Ras Nielsen -
    and who are the girls?

    Al Wintermyer and Ras Nielsen