Alaskan aviation legend Warren Carl Metzger, 89, died Sunday, May 10, 2009, at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, Washington.
Warren was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, on October 15, 1919. After graduating from Tri-State University with a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1941, Warren joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in August that year, qualifying as a bomber pilot. Test-flying experimental aircraft, he suffered a catastrophic crash, breaking his back and resulting in a medical discharge. After the war, he ferried rebuilt aircraft around the world and piloted relief planes in the Berlin Airlift. Hired by a fledgling Alaska Airlines in 1947 to perform stress analysis on C46’s, he ended up captaining them during Operation Magic Carpet in 1949. The “Jewish airlift” moved tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews to the newly created state of Israel. He topped off the adventure by marrying Marian Liscomb, a Hostess with Alaska Airlines, in Asmara, Eritrea, Africa, in January 1949.
Captain Metzger accumulated nearly 30,000 hours with Alaska Airlines; his illustrious 32 year career included the first gravel runway landing of a 727 and the first landing of a commercial jet (also the 727) in Valdez. He served as Chief Pilot from 1970 and as Vice President of Flight Operations from 1977, until his retirement in 1979. Known for his competence, sense of humor, and easy-going temperament, he was an enormously well-liked and respected officer with the company.
Warren loved Hudson automobiles; a member of the national Hudson-Essex-Terraplane club, he owned several Hudsons over the years. He was a Mason and member of the Quiet Birdmen, among other fraternal associations.
He is survived by his wife, Marian, of Seattle, son Warren Carl II., (“Chip”), of Anchorage, daughter Darragh, of Lynnwood, WA. and son Timothy, also of Anchorage, daughters-in-law Kimberly and Christa and son-in-law Dameon Willich, as well as six grandchildren, Peter, Ava, Raymond, Warren David, Kenan, and Elise.
The family will host a celebration of his life later this month. Please contact Chip at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com, Darragh at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com, or Tim at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com, or contact Alaska Airlines for details.
Published May 27, 2009 in the Ballard News Tribune.