League, Archie W. #1168H, October 1, 1986 at Annandale, VA. Age 79.
It is believed that Archie
was the nation's very first historically authenticated air traffic
controller. Archie was an airplane mechanic at St. Louis, when in 1929 he
was hired by the city to organize the traffic at the "busy" Lambert Field.
His 'control tower' was a wheelbarrow on which, in summer, he mounted a
beach umbrella. In the wheelbarrow he carried a beach chair, his lunch,
water, a note pad, and a pair flags to go or hold. In winter he wore a
padded flying suit.
He Joined the Bureau of
Air Commerce, the predecessor of the CAA, in 1937. He served at Pittsburg
and St. Louis Centers. His entry into the yet-unknown field of air traffic
control followed a study of aeronautical engineering, becoming a licensed
airplane and engine mechanic, barnstormer, and operator of a flying circus.
All this preceded his 36 year career with CAA/FAA.
In World War II he served
as a pilot with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific rising from 1st lieutenant
to colonel. After the war he returned to the CAA Kansas City Regional
office where in 1955 he became Chief, Airports Division and In 1956
Assistant, Regional Administrator. In 1958 he moved to Washington
Headquarters as Chief, Planning Division and in 1959 became Assistant
Director, Bureau of National Capital Airports. In May, 1960 he was selected
as Director of the Southwest Region. In 1965 he was appointed Director of
the Air Traffic Service, and in 1968 became Assistant Administrator for
Appraisal. The position he held at retirement in 1973. After retiring,
Archie worked as a consultant on air traffic control issues and safety. He
was a member of the Daedalians, an organization of military pilots; and the
Quiet Birdmen, a group of retired aviators. Archie was a real pioneer, and
all of us who worked with and for him will miss him.
Survivors include his wife
of 40 years, Margaret, daughter, Patricia and a brother, Claude. Margaret
said "He (we) had an interesting career. Crossing the Bar, God cares for
Archie now.” Reported by Margaret League and many others.
Archie League Photos
Class photos Home