Besides his wife, Jean, three daughters and a trio of grandkids, Hugh Scott, 64, has three loves: aviation, astronomy and art.
After graduating from Texas A&M in 1956, Hugh entered the United States Air Force as a second lieutenant, became a pilot in the Strategic Air Command and flew KC135 jet tankers on combat support missions during the Vietnam War.
Bored with military life after returning stateside, Hugh resigned his regular commission in 1966 and joined Continental Airlines where he served as a first officer on Boeing 707s, 747s, and DC10s, then captain on 727s.
When the carrier declared bankruptcy in 1983, he went on a protest strike with 90% of the other CAL pilots. The next year, he joined Western Airlines and became a Boeing 737 flight simulator instructor. Because of continued labor unrest at Continental, he did not return when the strike ended in 1985.
After Western merged with Delta Airlines, Hugh accepted a management position in Atlanta where he designed and developed computer-based training programs for DAL pilots and mechanics. Weary of commuting from Los Angeles International each week for five years, he took early retirement in November 1993 to live full-time at his Newbury Park residence in Ventura County.
Stargazing became an instant love in high school when a neighbor let him look at Saturn and Jupiter through a homemade 6" reflector telescope. Bitten by the astronomy bug, Hugh built his own 3" reflector that year with scrap metal and mail-order parts.
In 1998 during a private tour of Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, he saw the moon up close through the same 24" Clark refractor Percival Lowell utilized one hundred years ago to draw an intricate network of Martian "canals." For backyard viewing, Hugh uses a 4.5" Meade reflector and plans on buying a much larger telescope in the near future.
The third love affair began in kindergarten when Hugh discovered for some unknown reason he could draw better than other kids his age. In grade school, he created comic strips and was the art editor of his six-grade newspaper.
In high school, he wanted to be an artist, but his father, Ed Scott, a successful Union Oil geologist, said the profession didn't pay enough. Following his dad's advice and footsteps, Hugh majored in geology at A&M, then worked as an ARCO seismologist in Southern Utah before entering the Air Force.
Years later at Continental, with extra time on his hands while flying DC10s, Hugh enrolled at Moorpark College and took every art course the school offered. He settled on abstract painting and had several shows in Thousand Oaks. With more to say than pigment on canvas would allow, Hugh switched to fiction writing which quickly became a dominant creative obsession.
In 1982, he shopped a book proposal for an airline thriller titled "Extreme Turbulence." After reading the synopsis and first five chapters, an editor at Zebra Books wanted to see the manuscript but by the time it was finished, he had left New York for parts unknown. When his replacement and other editors expressed no interest in the novel, Hugh shelved it and took up cartooning again, this time during the Continental strike. Published by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), he produced 48 by-monthly comic strips that poked fun at CAL management and their strikebreakers.
During that same period, Hugh started a greeting card company with his younger brother, Doug, also a cartoonist. Still in business 15 years later, the creations of Scott Cards Inc. are sold by nationwide by Recycled Paper Greetings, headquartered in Chicago.
Three years ago, Hugh began writing a second novel. Originally titled "The Masters of Space," it features sex, romance, aviation, astronomy, Lowell Observatory, NASA space probes, flying saucers and extraterrestrials. Now called "The Last UFO," the completed 125,000-word manuscript is being rewritten with expert help from an enthusiastic editor/agent in Tucson.
Hugh recently started a nonfiction book with his brother titled, "How To Create Greeting Cards and Get Them PUBLISHED!"