Father: John Petach; mother Helen [Plovajka], both originally from Slovakia
Ed. Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH
prev. Commercial Flying for Riddle Aeronautical Institute, Arcadia;
Flight Cadet in USAAC Aug 1940 - Mar 1941
Address in 1941: 1808 Tacoma Ave, McKeesport, PA
Off sick from 16 Nov 1941 to 18 Mar 1942 after an aircraft crash:
- 15 Nov 1941, he made a forced landing in an Oxford after engine failure; severely injured ("numerous gashes on his forehead and arms"). Responsibility not established.
- 1 Aug 1942, he mishandled the controls and the tail rose too quickly when taking off in a Walrus (pilot blamed)
"A safe pilot, desperately keen and over-anxious to get on. Is very over-confident, which can be said to be his only fault, and requires rather severe handling to be held in restraint."
He met Helen Richey, also from McKeesport, during his training, Later he said of her, "that girl has enough flying ability for three people. She can handle any plane they give her and was flying Spitfires when I left. She asked me to tell her family that she is all right."
1942-44 Joined Pan American C.N.A.C. and flew supplies from India to China, over the Himalayas - see CNAC Captain Julius Petach
(l), with Peter Gouterie and Ray Allen (ex-ATA)
"They don't bother to go to church, these hard-bitten pilots who are flying the Hump, China's life line over the Roof of the World.. 'They don't have to', says cocky, cynical little Captain Julius Petach, all man, every inch of his brief five-foot-two who has followed the adventure trail from his home in comfortable, middle-class Tahoma Street in Port Vue to the sky lanes over Burma and India and China."
He said, "There's been more prayin' in the last year and a half on the route over the Hump than in any other country. In fact, there's plenty of time when all you've got left is a prayer." Pittsburg Post-Gazette
[In the interview, he claimed to have previously delivered planes 'across the Atlantic', so it's possible that he briefly joined RAF Ferry Command between leaving ATA and joining CNAC in November 1942.]
m. 1947 in Winchester, VA, Antoinette Elise [Hach, d.2010] (2 children)
Later a Customer Engineer for IBM
d. 8 Oct 2000 (age 84) - Louisville, KY
Buried Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KY