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John Werner, Scarsdale, NY, is the winner!

Clearwater Flying Service is the answer for Trivia 544 a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Monday: 1977

Tuesday: An enterprise that still goes on

Wednesday: Three principal people

Thursday: At one time taught the skill they used

Friday: Transportation

Saturday: Fire patrol

Monday: Special charters

Tuesday: Orofino

Nick Chenoweth and Vic Walters founded Clearwater Flying Service (now Empire Air) in 1977 after Ron Vanderwall was killed in a plane crash near Bungalow. He had provided the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) service including fuel at the Orofino Airport.

According to Julie Chenoweth Nick and Vic were both pilots with planes at the airport and were concerned that the facility would be shut down. They were concerned that they would not be able to get fuel they needed in Orofino, so they took over and founded CFS in April. About a month and a half later, Mel Spelde joined the business as manager because both Nick and Vic had businesses to run. Mel did fire patrol for the Forest Service, taught flying lessons, did charter backcountry flights, air pollution monitoring and air ambulance.

They had an opportunity to buy the FBO in Missoula, MT, and owned it for awhile with employees to run it, but found the distance a problem for managing it. They sold it and later purchased the one in Coeur d'Alene. It was there they started doing commercial scheduled flights. About that time they reconfigured a plane to do cloud seeding and did some supply flying to Grenada.

Then Empire got involved with FedEx and taking care of their feeder routes in the Northwest. From there, they became more involved in cargo and maintenance.

Julie is still one of the major stockholders in the company as they celebrate 40 years since CFS was founded in Orofino.

For more info and a timeline of the business, see the Empire web site:

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Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Fax: 208-476-4140