Kenneth Arnold's Biography



      I was born March 29, 1915 in Subeka, Minnesota. My father's name was Edward Erb Arnold; my mother's maiden name was Bertha E. Barden. I was a resident of Minnesota until I was six years old when my family moved to Scobey, Montana, where they homesteaded. My grandfather, Roland. C. Arnold also homesteaded in Scobey, Montana, and became quite prominent in political circles along with Burton K. Wheeler, the famous Montana senator.

      I went to grade school and high school at Minot, North Dakota. I entered scouting at twelve years of age and achieved the rank of Eagle scout before I was fourteen. My former scout executive was H. H. Prescott, now a regional commissioner for the Boy Scouts in Kansas City, Kansas.

      As a boy, I was interested in athletics and was selected as an all-state end in 1932 and 1933 in the state of North Dakota. I entered the U. S. Olympic trials in fancy diving in 1932; I was a Red Cross Life Saving Examiner during the years of 1932, '33 and '34. I taught swimming and diving at scout camps and the municipal pool in Minot, North Dakota. I went to the University of Minnesota, where I swam and did fancy diving under Neils Thorpe, and also played football under Bernie Bierman, but upon entering College I was unable to continue my football career because of an injured knee. My high school football coach was Glenn L. Jarrett, who is now the head football coach of the University of North Dakota. I had little or no finances, and my ambition in furthering my education in college was through my athletics. As a boy in Minot, North Dakota, I did a good deal of dog sled racing, placed first with my dog in 1930 in the Lions Club Dog Derby.

      In 1938 I went to work for Red Comet, Inc. of Littleton, Colorado, manufacturer of automatic fire fighting apparatus. In 1939 I was made district manager for them over a part of the western states, and in 1940 I


established my own fire control supply known as the Great Western Fire Control Supply. I have been working as an independent fire control engineer since, and I handle, distribute, sell and install all types of automatic and manual fire fighting equipment in the rural areas over five western states.

      My flying experience started as a boy in Minot, North Dakota, where I took my first flying lesson from Earl T. Vance, who was originally from Great Falls, Montana. Due to the high cost at that time, I was unable to continue my flying and did not fly of any great consequence until 1943. I was given my pilot certificate by Ed Leach, a senior CAA inspector of Portland, Oregon, and for the last three years have owned my own airplane covering my territory with same and flying from forty to one hundred hours per month since. Due to the fact that I use an airplane entirely in my work, in January of this year I purchased a new Callair airplane, which is an airplane designed for high altitude take-offs and short rough field use.

      In the type of flying that I do, it takes a great deal of practice and judgment to be able to land in most any cow pasture and get out without injuring your airplane; the runways are very limited and the altitude is very high in some of the fields and places I have to go in my work. To date, I have landed in 823 cow pastures in mountain meadows, and in over a thousand hours a flat tire has been my greatest mishap.


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