People with connections to the August 13, 1965, Beatles flight to JFK International Airport continue to e-mail me, and I enjoy every remembrance. The following arrived on a March morning from Cameron Lorentz, Pleasanton, California. It's about his uncle, a TWA pilot who learned to fly during World War II.
Nephew Recalls Uncle's Memorable Flight
"It was with great interest that I read 'Beatles Encounters 1965: Planned and Unplanned.'
"I found your article Googling about that flight while writing the obituary for my uncle, Art Lorentz (1922--2015), who was in the cockpit. He was a pilot for TWA from 1951 to 1982. I thought he was the captain on The Beatles flight, but perhaps not as you name a different captain (Jack Hulburd).
"I was born in 1956 so was just a bit too young to understand the excitement.
"My uncle spoke about how nice The Beatles were. Although I hadn't asked about that trip for many, many years, here's what I remember him saying:
"'The Beatles joined in a navigation game (the article mentions Paul won). Those in first class who wanted to play were given a slip of paper, and the object of the game was to guess (my memory is vague here), but I don't think it was the arrival time in New York; instead it was the time the flight would cross a navigation point above Maine.
"Regardless, Art showed us slips of paper signed by each Beatle with his guess. I'm sure my sister and I promptly lost them.
"He described many times how they taxied past the normal gate full of screaming fans upon arrival to let The Beatles deplane in a remote area.
Minor hero"He was a minor hero in his New York town when it became known that 'Art flew The Beatles.' He too had a couple of 45s signed by each Beatle that he 'gave to a neighborhood kid.' My sister and I were like his kids, and I thought many times as I grew up and looked back: 'Damn, I missed out on some historic souvenirs!' I just wasn't into rock and roll at nine years old, so whatever Art got signed, he gave to his neighbors. Art is my Dad's identical twin brother. He never married and died on February 10, 2015. (Pilot Lorentz' obituary.)
"I found a file of letters written to TWA from passengers who were on his flights praising the 'humorous but very reassuring captain on the microphone.'
"As happens all too often, it's unfortunate I didn't find your article when it first appeared. You would have enjoyed talking with Art about that flight. He loved flying and he enjoyed telling the story of 'When I flew The Beatles on their 1965 trip to the US.'
"Thanks for giving me more detail on a story I have heard for 50 years!"
TWA Pilot Art Lorentz, circa early 1970s.
Courtesy of Cameron Lorentz