Capt. Jim Blackburn, EAL, Ret.
It was in early winter of 1983 when I first met Norman Riddell. Eastern Air Lines had taken over the South American routes of Braniff Airways in 1982, and as a Captain with Eastern, I was flying to our newly acquired destinations. This was my first flight to Santiago, Chile, however. Norman’s daughter, Helen, was now one of our flight attendants, having previously flown for Braniff. As a courtesy to her crewmates, she told us about the British Pub “Cross Keys”, that her parents owned and operated in Santiago. She assured us that we would find a warm welcome there. Her parents would give us advice on where to find the best restaurants, shops and even give us the best exchange rate for our dollars. It was on this visit to Santiago, that I first met Norman and Edna Riddell. Over the next five years, I bid flights to Santiago as much as my seniority allowed, as it was my favorite, layover spot in South America. A great deal of my attraction to this large metropolitan city was a wonderful friendship that developed between Norman and me. In our earlier flying days, we had both been bomber and transport pilots, and the great fraternity of aviation, with its many shared experiences, provided us with topics of discussion to last a lifetime.
Let me tell you a bit about the life of this great man.