Serving the Loup Valley for 140 Years

"Evelyn Sharp" Returns To Ord Airport

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The 1946 Luscombe 8E plane named for Evelyn Sharp and piloted by Mehrdad Zarifkar of Mount Vernon, IA paid a visit to Ord last week.

By Kate Wolf

   On Wed., June 15, “Evelyn Sharp” landed at the airport in Ord which now bears her name. Well, not Evelyn Sharp, but a 1946 Luscombe 8E plane flown by pilot Mehrdad Zarifkar of Mount Vernon, IA. When he bought the classic plane, Zarifkar, his wife, Tiffany, and eight year-old daughter, Ava, decided to give it an old-fashioned kind of name. Once “Evelyn” was decided upon, a little research revealed Evelyn Sharp’s connection to aviation and the rest was history.

   “Why not use it to tell the story of Evelyn Sharp?” Zarifkar remarked. The plane not only has her name, it is also emblazoned with her image. “I was amazed by the book, Sharpie, Diane Bartels wrote about her,” he continued. “The research was very impressive. She did such a wonderful job.”

   Zarifkar set out on a mission to visit the places important in the life of Ord’s own heroine, Evelyn Sharp. Upon landing at Evelyn Sharp Field, he was met by Valley County Museum Curator Jane John and Katie Wamsley of the Ord Chamber of Commerce. They toured the airport where many Evelyn Sharp artifacts are housed, visited the gravesite at the Ord Cemetery and enjoyed the Evelyn Sharp exhibit at the Valley County Museum.

   When not flying, Zarifkar gets around by hoverboard and he especially enjoyed the hike/bike trail around Auble’s Pond during his brief visit. He would like to make a kind of pilgrimage to the site of Sharp’s fatal crash at a Pennsylvania airport in 1944 and he informed The Ord Quiz that the plane in which she died has been acquired by an Ohio firm, currently slated for restoration. “It’s a 1938 aircraft and it will be airworthy,” he explained.

When he’s not serving as unofficial ambassador for Evelyn Sharp, in his “real life”, Zarifkar was formerly in bio-technology and now utilizes his skills to detail aircraft all over the country. He typically flies commercial to connect with clients in up to 120 flights per year. Why doesn’t he fly his own plane? He tried it….exhausting! It gave him a new appreciation for the stamina Evelyn Sharp must have had in transporting repaired aircraft from the east coast to the west. He earned his pilot’s license 10 years ago and has a tremendous passion for flying which Evelyn Sharp would have truly appreciated, as he pays homage to her pioneering spirit and contributions to aviation history.  

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