Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Allied Pilots Association co-founder passes away

Allied Pilots AssociationCaptain Richard "J.R." Lyons, one of the founders of the Allied Pilots Association (APA), passed away recently at the age of 86. APA is the union that represents pilots at American Airlines. Captain Lyons retired from American Airlines in 1980 at age 60.

Quoting from a notice about Captain Lyons' death on the APA website:
Every airline pilot today is indebted to Captain Lyons for his many years of dedicated service. The next time you’re at APA, be sure to take a look at the historical materials on display in the pilots’ lounge just off the main lobby, which is affectionately named the “The Lyons Den” in honor of Captain Lyons. Many of the items on display are from Captain Lyons’ personal collection.

Captain Lyons learned to fly in 1940 while attending the University of Michigan. He later taught acrobat programs and was a test pilot on B-24s at Willow Run.

Hired by American Airlines in late 1943, he was given company seniority in January 1944. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from American Airlines in March 1945. The Award stated: “Radioed circumstances and then landed aircraft practically out of control after being damaged in a mid-air collision over Saline, Michigan—December 24, 1944.” Captain Lyons began his union work the next year.

For many years after his retirement, Captain Lyons attended all APA Board of Directors meetings and served as a valued advisor to the union. He was a familiar and welcome sight at APA headquarters and will be remembered fondly by everyone who worked with him.
Condolences to Captain Lyons' family.