Forty years ago this month I took flight as a private pilot – and never came down. While others have flown longer than me, it’s astonishing to think that a guy in his 50s should have soared over more than a third of the history of powered flight.
I remember little from that autumn day I earned my wings at Madison, Wisconsin’s Truax Field; just that examiner Claude Frickelton was dissatisfied with my sparing use of elevator trim. “Here, I’ll show you,” he said, and demonstrated our final touchdown using just rudder pedals and the trim wheel.
My logbook yields no hint of excitement at passing, nor the decades of joy to follow – only that I earned my certificate the day before Thanksgiving, 1972, with 48 flight hours. More telling entries reveal I treated my girlfriend and best bud to rides within days afterward. When I met my wife-to-be, Jean, two years later, she was stuck with flying as part of the package. Thousands of hours on, the technology has changed, but not the adventure…
Read the entire story in Greg’s November Flying Carpet column, “Forty Years Aloft.”
Photo: Greg & Jean at Lebanon-Warren County Airport, Ohio, on a 1977 day trip to Kings Island Amusement Park. See more photos here.
©2012 Gregory N.Brown
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!