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Pioneer Air Museum invites Urban Rahoi to share flying tales

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Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 11:59 pm | Updated: 12:10 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Pete Haggland, the curator of the Pioneer Air Museum, expects to hear plenty of good material today at

7 p.m. when Urban Rahoi starts talking about his 78 years in aviation.

At 94, Rahoi has far more seniority than most senior citizens and he is still flying. He has been an active Bush pilot and guide, covering much of Interior Alaska, since before statehood.

It’s safe to say that people half his age have a hard time matching his energy level. Get him started on the Susitna Dam, for instance, and you’ll see what I mean.

He started flying in 1934 in Michigan and soloed that year as a 15-year-old. He flew B-17s during World War II and came to Alaska in 1947 at the controls of a Piper Super Cruiser.

“He has used his skill as an aviator to train airmen, fight a war and maintain the safety standard in commercial aviation,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in 2006 when he received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. “He has rescued people in trouble and supplied people in the bush with the necessities of life.”

The presentation at the museum in Pioneer Park is free and open to the public. It is part of the ongoing series of history sessions in which veteran pilots speak about their time in the air. The meetings are being recorded for posterity.

By the way, the Pioneer Air Museum has no temperature cutoff, so chilly temperatures are not an issue.

•••

SAFE DRIVING: A safe driving class sponsored by the AARP begins at 5 p.m. Monday in the Tanana Valley Clinic, room 410.

If you complete the four-hour course, you may qualify for insurance discounts. The discounts are mandatory if the driver is 55 or older, under a little-known provision in state law.

All veterans, spouses and dependents can take the class for free. The charge for AARP is $12 and $14 for non-members. All drivers are welcome.

Call Ida Rhines at

385-0660 to sign up. Marcella Hill is the instructor.

•••

CHANGE OF PACE: The Lathrop cross-country ski team booster club is hosting its annual turkey day spaghetti feed and silent auction fundraiser from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday in the Lathrop High School cafeteria.

The cost is $8 per person or $30 for a family of four or more.

The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks Turkey Day Relay Race Awards will start at

7 p.m.

•••

CLOSING COMMENTS: I remember the last time I was on “Closing Comments” on KJNP-TV. This was years ago, but I was getting worried when it was about two minutes before air time and Dick Olson, the host, was nowhere in sight.

But not to worry. He breezed in with about 20 seconds to spare, sat down and began with all the urgency of someone relaxing at home with friends in his living room. I think he began with one of his typical ice-breakers: “Tell us where you’re from?” or “How long have you been in Alaska?”

I mention this because I am scheduled to be on “Closing Commments” with Olson tonight at 9 on Channel 4. I plan to be there to talk about the Santa’s Clearing House campaign sponsored by the News-Miner and the annual Gingerbread House contest, another seasonal tradition sponsored by the newspaper.

“Closing Comments” is the longest running community events program on local TV. It’s on twice a week, at 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

•••

SALVATION ARMY: The annual kettle drive for the Salvation Army will start at 10 a.m. Friday at Fred Meyer West. Firefighters from the department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks will man the kettles there that day.

If you would like to help with the kettle collection, call Maj. Kevin Bottjen at 452-3103.

•••

GIVING THANKS: The Tanana Valley Christian Conference is not having its usual Thanksgiving service, but the group is encouraging people to attend one of the services at member churches.

Among the gatherings on Thanksgiving Day, both Fairbanks Lutheran Church and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church are holding worship services at 11 a.m.

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