Ready for take off

LIHUE — Anahola resident Franklin Manoiki Contrades always had a love for airplanes and travel.

Having originally grown up in Honolulu, Contrades said he enjoyed going to the John Rodgers Airport, now known as Honolulu International Airport, after school hours where he developed a love for aircrafts. When he moved to California in 1957, he never abandoned his passion. 

“I wanted to really get into the airlines, I had an opportunity,” Franklin Contrades said. “So, I signed up and I went to school up there.”

He took a job as a ticket agent in the mid 1960s with Pacific Airlines in Oakland. Over the years, he raised nine kids who had to endure his love of planes and the skies.

His oldest son, Randy, grew up bonding with his father over the flying machines. He continued the Contrades family tradition, which has amounting to 182 years in the aviation business through three generations on each side of Randy’s marriage.

Though not pilots, the family used the field to travel extensively.

“Flying, mostly to see the world,” said Randy about why he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. “I learned it from high school and living on Kauai for a period of time. My teacher, Tanaka, told me, ‘You need to travel, to see the world.’ When my dad worked for the airlines in California, I kind of got that idea and then when I went into the Navy, I traveled a little bit. So from there on, I just loved traveling.” 

During his travels, Contrades visited Japan and all over the United States. 

Growing up in Kauai after his father moved his family there from the Bay Area, Randy decided to move away in 1976 to pursue a career in his father’s field, where he attended McConnell Travel School in Minnesota.

“I had roommates so we used to fly to Boston to have dinner or fly to New York, go shopping,” Randy said. “That’s when I was young. We did a lot of stuff people can’t do. If we wanted to go swimming, we flew to Miami.” 

After he graduated from the school, Randy journeyed to multiple cities over the 38 years as he worked in the aviation business as the “jack of all trades” in positions such as counter, weight and balance, V.I.P, communications and lost and found.  

“I loved it,” Randy said about his travels. “I like the history. I like everything, things that I never did know by living on this island and the traveling was fantastic.” 

Japan, Taiwan, Java, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, Europe, Sweden and Scotland are a few of the countries he’s visited.

His wife Linda comes from a flying family — and here’s where the families merge. Her father, Karsten Haram, was a pilot for Northwest Orient Airlines where he worked for 44 years. 

“I love it,” Linda said. “I’ve been traveling since I was little.”  

Linda has currently worked for FedEx Express for 27 years, and through their positions, the couple was able introduce their three daughters to the joys of traveling at young ages. All told, three generations from both sides of the family — half of which started in Hawaii and Kauai — have ties to the flying world.

“We got places we gotta go,” Randy said. “There’s all kinds of places I want to go.”


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