Five feet, two inches tall and weighing less than 110 pounds fully clothed, Dick traded work for flying time and became known as the ‘boy pilot’ at Rogers and Clover Fields in the early 1920s. His warm personality and sparkling sense of humor endeared him to all he met – well, maybe not all. Amelia Earhart, Assistant to the Traffic Manager of TAT at the time, asked Dick to retrieve her Lockheed Vega from Kansas City. Aware of his reputation for downing a few drinks before and during a flight, she cornered him and asked with apprehension, “I know you won’t take a single drink on this flight, will you Dick?”
Dick, eyes growing round in innocent amazement, provided an affirmation of sorts. “God no, Amelia. It’s at least a two quart job.” The remark left Amelia speechless.
When the airlines began blossoming in the late 1920s and 1930s, Dick flew trimotors for Maddux, TAT, and Century Pacific Airlines. In addition, Metro-Golden-Mayer Studios, United Air Service, and Lineas Aereas Occidentales hired Dick as a pilot. There were many other flying jobs until the 1940s when he became a test pilot for Northrop. His boss was Moye Stephens, then chief test pilot for the company.
Flying Carpets, Flying Wings has many more stories about Dick.