“Captain Midnight,” Greg’s August Flying Carpet column & photos

“Hi, Men!” Most of us remember someone we idolized as a kid, someone we aspired to be when we grew up. For my brother Alan and me, it was Frank Rosenstein, corporate pilot.

Back then, we joined my dad every Saturday at Chicago’s DuPage County Airport to fly, polish his airplane, and jaw with his pilot buddies over lunch. Prominent among them was Frank Rosenstein. As a pro pilot among pleasure flyers, when he talked flying everyone else listened. Although not a big man, Frank projected quiet power with his large presence and mischievous grin. Gentlemanly and reserved, he personified “speak softly and carry a big stick.” But what captivated Alan and me was how he treated two impressionable young kids…

Read my August column, “Captain Midnight,” here. (Please allow a moment after clicking for the story to load.) Mobile-optimized version here.

Above: Frank Rosenstein in his favorite Learjet, “Sugar-Whiskey,” in 1970. See more Captain Midnight photos here.

©2010, 2022 Gregory N. Brown 

If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

7 thoughts on ““Captain Midnight,” Greg’s August Flying Carpet column & photos

  1. Hey Greg- Really liked the article on Mr. Rosentien. He was certainly one pilot that I looked up to. A little sad to see his photos from when he was a boy through the years until old age. But life does go quickly as we touched on the other day. Your Dad will always be my number 1 pilot that impressed me the most.
    See Ya

  2. Just read your article and felt like I had to respond about my heroes (I was lucky I had 2). The first Bill Newnham- my middle/high school industrial tech teacher. I walked in his office in 7th grade and stared in awe at all the airplane pictures- these were the ones he flew being a retired Major in the USAF. I found out about his project schoolflight program and became part of it. In high school, we built a Long-Ez which is on display at a museum at the airport in Lancaster, OH (KLHQ). Through 4 bouts of cancer he is still alive 25 years later and is on my speed dial. We’re supposed to be meeting in Oshkosh this year.
    My second hero is Dick Wharton, what you might call a farm boy from southern Ohio. However he was a pilot in Vietnam and flew under the command of Check Yeager. I know him as the man who hired me to wash airplanes and forced me to finish my Instrument rating before graduating high school. In fact for as long as I knew that he owned the FBO at KCYO he had a kid there who wanted to fly- and had some clean airplanes. He sums it up to me when we fly these days- if you’ve got something to give, you might as well. Both of my kids got their first airplane ride “with Grandpa Dick” and my 3 yr old girl will not let anything pass overhead without making sure you know about it. I’ve realized over time that these two gentlemen have given me more than I could repay, however I can pay it forward to our next generation and I try my best to do just that.

    1. Jared, Thanks for sharing these inspiring stories of your own flying heroes! Sincerely,

  3. Hi Greg,

    I owe my flying career to Frank. I started working for Frank at a time I thought my flying career had ended, Frank’s advice and guidance helped me to live my life long dream, whenever my self confidence needed a boost, I’d give Frank a call and it always gave me a new outlook. Frank was a special person in so many ways. I will miss him.

    1. Thanks, Bruce, for sharing your memories of Frank. Nancy mentioned remembering you fondly from ConAgra. Very cool!

  4. Believe it or not, Frank was an inspiration to me when I was in my late teens. He used to fly an Aero Commander from Chicago to Santa Monica every once in a while, and he shared his time and wisdom with us newbie pilots during his Santa Monica, CA layovers. He truly was a wonderful man, and it saddens me that I lost contact with him after the late 1950s. I have a photo of him taken in (about) 1957. Let me know if and where you’d like me to upload it. It’s no big deal, but it is the only photo that I have of him.

    1. Hi Barry,
      What a kick that our paths should cross in this manner! I have added your marvelous F. R. photos to the online gallery associated with this post. Thanks for making my day, ol’ buddy! I’ve been enjoying your columns,

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