“We’re out of control!” yelled my father, grabbing the wheel.
“No we’re not.” I replied, grabbing it back.
Ignoring my father wasn’t easy, as he’d been a pilot since before I was born.
He bought his first airplane in 1949, a tiny Aeronca Chief. Soon afterward he traded for an Ercoupe, which he landed in a Missouri farm field to wait out thunderstorms. Pilots don’t do that sort of thing anymore.
“We’re in trouble! I’m taking over!”
“Dad! Please believe me. We’ll be okay…”
Next came a triple-tailed Bellanca Cruisair. “Most efficient airplane I ever owned,” he claimed, “150 mph on 150 hp.”
He earned his instrument rating in that Bellanca, using just a headset, compass, and turn-and-bank indicator. In those days pilots flew airways defined by Morse code — “a” indicated one side of course, and “n,” the other. On course aviators were treated to a steady tone. No frilly moving maps, back then.
My dad’s one metal bender occurred in that Bellanca, which had retractable landing gear manually extended by many turns of a crank…
**Read Greg’s complete legacy Father’s Day column, “Best Landing Anyone Ever Made“** (Mobile-friendly version here.)
Photo 1: “Harold Brown kisses his Cessna 310’s good engine in the Azores Islands, after losing the other engine 250 miles from land.”
Photo 2: “Cessna 310C similar to the one flown by Harold Brown and Eddie Hayes ‘the long way’ across the Atlantic, in 1962.”
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine. **Read an expanded version of this story in my book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane.)
©2019 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!
4 thoughts on ““Best Landing Anyone Ever Made,” Greg’s Father’s Day legacy Flying Carpet column”
Sad but poignant!
Thank you, Rick!
You are a beautiful writer and continue to inspire me as a pilot.
Thank you so much!