About the time I graduated from kindergarten, my Uncle Leland returned from his enlistment in the newly created United States Air Force. Hanging out and making model airplanes with him ignited a passion that would burn in my heart for the rest of my years. About a decade later in Air Force ROTC I had my first flight – in the back seat of a four-place single-engine airplane. We hadn’t even cleared the runway when I was hooked. In these posts, I’ll share some of the highlights of the next sixty plus years of learning, flying and teaching in numerous planes.

  • Aviation Statistics

    Nearly sixty years ago I realized that simply because I was pretty good at math and science . . .  and my father and grandfather were engineers . . . and engineering was the gold ticket for young men (and a few very independent women) . . . didn’t mean I had to be an ...
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  • 1962 The Student Pilot

    1962 The Student Pilot
    In Aviation Statistics I described how I became a student pilot. But once started, the journey was nothing like I ever expected. Learning to be a pilot was as much academic study as it was practical skills. At the University of Illinois, this meant a three-hour lecture course combined with semi-weekly “lab” sessions at ...
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  • Rookies in a Bonanza

    1963-1967  The first hurdle in a lifetime of flying was now behind me. I was a pilot – a newbie – but a pilot none-the-less. But what lay before me? Would I, like many with a goal of becoming a pilot, punch the ticket, take a few trips, then move on to new ambitions? Would time ...
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  • A Brush with History

    A Brush with History
    Crystal Lake Airport (now Lake in the Hills) was a sleepy airport serving local pilots about 30 miles northwest of O’Hare. It housed a flight school with three trainers and a couple flight instructors.  Hangars on the field included one for my dad’s brand new Beechcraft Bonanza – the ultimate single-engine airplane of the time. Even ...
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  • Non-Flying Years … With One Exception

    Non-Flying Years ... With One Exception
    1968-82 When Dad sold his Bonanza, I was compelled to face the classic dilemma of a young married aviator wannabe. Flying takes a concurrent supply of time and money – and I was limited on both fronts. These years were filled with life and upheaval – children, marriage issues, job changes, and six moves. With one ...
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