Bill O. Bailey sent in his dad's short snorter and a news article from around 1941 on how the Short Snorters came to be
(or one version of the tale). His dad, J. L. Bailey, was a pilot for Pan American Airways from 1941 to 1948 and flew out of
Miami to points South. He was not a line Captain, but a Check Pilot for the Caribbean and South American Divisions.
One of the names, Ed Wynn, was his room mate and an aerobatic pilot. Another, Helena Mack (his girl friend at the time),
was a Miss America contestant from Boston who was the 2nd runner up in the 1943 Miss America Pageant.
|J. L. Bailey Short Snorter
The Short Snorter Project
J. L. Bailey earned his pilots' licence in the mid 1930s and flew for a local outfit in New Orleans for the next couple of
years. In about 1938 he got a job with the J.D. Reed company in Houston and moved there. In 1939 he won the Texas
State Aerobatic Championship flying a Ryan ST-A owned by Reed. In 1940 he moved back to New Orleans and went to
work for J. Ray McDermott, an oil field contractor, receiving his water rating in a Grumman Goose and went to work as a
seaplane pilot flying a Fleetwing Seabird. He stayed there until he was hired by Pan American Airways in late 1941.
During the war he originally flew Sikorsky S-40s and Consolidated Commodores, then went on to DC-3s and later DC-4s.
As an instructor he had to be rated in all the company aircraft even though he didn't fly some of them regularly. So he
was also checked out on the Martin 130, S-42, Boeing 314, Convair 240, DC-6 and several lesser types including the
Cessna T-50 and Grumman Widgeon. He left Pan Am in late 1948 to return to New Orleans and McDermott and began
flying Grumman Widgeons for them. He continued in this job until his semi-retirement in January of 1962. He was also an
instructor for the company, training field engineers how to fly Cessna 180s on floats so they could go out to the job sites
on their own. He stayed on in that position until age 65 (in 1966) then fully retired from the company and started free-
lancing as an instructor until just before he died in April of 1969. He spent most of the war years as an instructor out of
Dinner Key and the P.A.A. airport in Miami. Post war, he made frequent trips to South America to check pilots down there.
TOP: In the front seat of the Ryan ST-A.
MIDDLE: Cockpit of an S-40.
BOTTOM: From the early 50's, in the cockpit
of one of McDermotts' Widgeons.
(Photos courtesy of Bill O. Bailey)
|Post-war shot of J. L. Bailey in his PAA uniform in front of a PANAGRA DC-4.