- About Us
Michael Paul BialkaAugust 15, 1952 ~ November 28, 2017 (age 65)
Captain Michael Paul Bialka, 65, passed suddenly on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017.
As the son of a career Air Force pilot who flew B-24s off Guadalcanal during WW2, Mike was born with aviation in his blood. With his dad's last duty station being Lowry AFB, Mike attended high school in Aurora, Colorado, then went on to earn a business degree from the University of Colorado, before joining the U.S. Navy. Following flight training at NAS Pensacola, Mike flew the T-34, T-28 and TS-2, before being assigned to fleet squadron VP-40 to fly the newly introduced P-3C Orion for the next 3 years on missions all over the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Mike rejoined the civilian world and in 1982 landed his dream job as a pilot for Southwest Airlines, where he remained for 35 years, retiring on his 65th birthday on August 15, 2017.
While Mike was one of Southwest Airline's most senior captains, he was perhaps better known for his passion of restoring and flying Grumman Albatross seaplanes. Lake Conroe residents and visitors have regularly been thrilled to watch Mike and his team land “Zeus” and “Pegasus” on the lake and parade in front of Walden Marina for fans who follow Everything Albatross’ Facebook page. Mike also served as President of Seaplane Crossings Inc., a Texas non-profit that primarily educates people about the many contributions of seaplanes in the advancement of modern aviation, but which also flew Pegasus on three relief missions to the U.S. Virgin islands recently to deliver critically needed medical supplies, generators and other emergency equipment following this year’s back-to-back devastating hurricanes.
Capt. Mike was a true American patriot and a dear friend to countless people from all walks of life who deeply morn his passing. He leaves behind his sister Charlotte Bialka and brothers Robert and Peter Bialka, as well as countless friends including his Albatross business partners Stewart Lawrence and Capt. Pat Deegan, and his very special lady Bridgette Jakob.
An internment will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Friday, December 15, 2017, at 1:30 PM, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, friends are welcome to further Mike’s passion by contributing at www.SeaplaneCrossings.org.