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Kay HarmonKay Ackerman Harmon
In the beginning...Ron Harmon

Not far down the road from the farm on Fairview Rd. in Hollister was a small ranch with dirt strip near the Ackerman's farm on Fairview Road. In 1945 Kay would walk to the airport after school and met Ron Harmon. Ron's father owned Harmon Flying Service, where Ron worked to earn enough money to pay for flying lessons. After WW II, Ron's father was able to transition to the Hollister Airport, and was the first civilian operator at the Hollister Airport. He trained many pilots under the G.I. bill, and was the first Airport Manager there. Ron got his pilots license at age 16.

In 1950 at the age of 18, Ron and Kay were married. They had four (4) children all born in Hollister. Ron worked for PG&E at Moss Landing Power Plant for 24 years as a Control Operator, and took an early retirement to own and operate House of Hard Tops Used Cars in Salinas. He later developed Trans Plus Rent-a-Car that he and Kay operated for 35 years.

In 1971 Ron made an appointment for Kay's first flight lesson, which she reluctantly did.. and 90 days later earned her pilot's license.

Kay joined the Ninety-Nines in 1972, serving as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary, as well as many committees over the years. She was also the Chapter "Pilot of the Year" in 1973.

Kay also flew many Direct Relief Foundation (DRF) flights, ferrying medicines and pharmaceuticals to Santa Barbara to be distributed to needy free world countries. Often to Santa Ynez because of fog in SBA... (Dell Hinn was the organizer of this 99 project.)

Kay conducted many tours of the Salinas Airport for Lyceum of Monterey, as well as scout troops and school groups for The Ninety-Nines, Inc.

Over the years Ron and Kay owned five airplanes; 1958 Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee, Cessna 182, and a Piper Warrior, and lastly a Cessna Hawk X-P which they purchased new and flew back from the factory in Wichita KS. In 1977. Kay has logged over 2500 hours.

They made many cross country flights, including Victoria, BC, Whidbey Island, Banff, BC and many trips to visit relatives in Utah, Arizona and Texas. One outstanding cross country was ferrying two aircraft from San Marcos, TX to Salinas. Although Kay has flown over thirty different airplanes, she says some of her favorites were the Corbin Baby Ace and a Taylorcraft L2 World War II reconnaissance aircraft. The 1958 Cessna is the most favored, fondly dubbd The Super Chicken' after they installed droop-tips on the wings.

Youngest daughter Dianne earned her pilot's license while a senior at North Salinas High School.

As a side note: when daughter Dianne got her license, Ron made the statement: "Now I have my choice of right or left seat, as long as it's in the back".

When Pope John visited the US, one stop was at Laguna Seca's Mazda Raceway... Kay was asked to fly the official photographer over the site, being the only fixed wing aircraft in the restricted air space. There were many calls at different times of day and night from Secret Service to verify who I was and my qualifications, etc.

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