“Flying the Mists of Time,” Greg’s March column

4-GregBrownFT313_5604eSmw800Remembering a despicable piloting feat

Usually the skies between Flagstaff and Palm Springs are brutally blue. But this would be no normal journey. En route to AOPA Summit, Jean and I launched our Flying Carpet over a dense silvery blanket of prescribed-forest-fire smoke.

When rare swirling clouds cloaked the primeval and sunbaked Mojave Desert it seemed we were treading not mere miles, but the surreal mists of time. And in a sense we were. For at Summit I met someone connected to my hazy beginnings as a pilot.

Wandering the exhibits, I discovered Morey’s West Coast Adventures. Longtime instructor and pilot examiner Field Morey is legendary for his cross-country instrument-training courses. Field is now based in Medford, Oregon.

But when I was a young University of Wisconsin student he operated family-owned Morey Field, just across Lake Mendota from Madison’s Truax Field where I learned to fly. Introducing myself, I explained how as a newly minted pilot, I’d often flown over Morey Field. We reminisced about examiner Claude Frickelton, who delivered my private pilot check ride.

416px-Sterling_Hall_bombing_after_explosion_1“Greg, were you at Madison in 1970 when UW’s Sterling Hall Army Math Center was bombed? asked Field. Forgotten memories of that turbulent era flooded back.

“I arrived a year later Field, but well remember seeing blue sky through windows of the bombed-out building when walking to class. And the bombing’s ringleader, Karleton Armstrong, still dominated both the local news and anti-war T-shirts.”

“Then I have a story you’ll appreciate…” said Field…

Read Greg’s entire March Flying Carpet column, “Flying the Mists of Time.”

Top photo: Rare clouds cloak California’s Mojave Desert. Upper right: Sterling Hall after the August, 1970 bombing (Wikipedia). See more photos here.

41qY7ieHTqL._SL500_AA300_PS: I’ve been reading a fascinating book about the UW bombing and surrounding events. “Rads,” by Tom Bates, is out of print, but available used. Highly recommended.

©2013 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!

2 thoughts on ““Flying the Mists of Time,” Greg’s March column

  1. Wow, and I thought the 9/11 hijackers were the first to get flight training for nefarious purposes!

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