Sunday, May 8, 2011


I've been a flying advocate for as long as I can remember.  My Uncle Bill Baughman was a pilot in World War II and returned to Salt Lake to start a flying school.  I got to fly with him when I was about 4 or 5 years old and it was habit forming. 

I joined the Civil Air Patrol when I was 14 and got to fly in an old L-1 observation plane and in a Steerman Biplane.  Duane Smith was the pilot in the L-1 and he let me take the controls.  I was flying higher than the plane!

Swept out a hangar and washed airplanes for flying lessons to get time to get a private license at 16.  Begged, borrowed and stole flying time whenever I could. 

Went in the Air Force and flew several different aircraft.  Did some time in the Great Southeastern Air and Land War.  That was exciting at times.  Moved up to staff jobs in the 1980s and flew less and less.

Retired from the Air Force in 1986 and sort of lost interest in flying.  However, met another afficianado in 1980s and we have flow together, in his 1969 Cessna 150 quite a few times since.  We split the gas charges and always fly somewhere nice to have lunch.  It's great fun for a couple of old farts and between the two of us, we have one good set of eyes and ears. 

As soon as you takeoff, you are separated from the Earth and all its problems.  You have to think in three dimensions.  You have to stay sharp, watch out for other aircraft, and listen to the radio.  You also have to pay attention to navigation, fuel and other instruments.  Although the 150 is forgiving, you can still get it out of the envelope and buy the farm.  It's an entirely different skill set than other daily chores.

Gayland is great company and we enjoy the drill.  One of these days, either one of us or 51084 (aircraft number) will age out of the program.  That's going to be a sad day.

No comments:

Post a Comment