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Thread: What's your "I've always wanted to fly" story?

  1. #1
    EAA Staff / Moderator Hal Bryan's Avatar
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    What's your "I've always wanted to fly" story?

    As we've been talking about the launch of the new Eagle Flights program, a lot of us with differing aviation backgrounds have found ourselves swapping stories about how we'd "always wanted to fly" and what it took to get us to that first flight.

    For me, I took my first airplane ride when I was 6 months old, and started holding the wheel of the family "Bamboo Bomber" when I was 4. My dad was a pilot for United from DC-3s to 747s, and I lived on a private airstrip from age 8 - 18. I've always been one of the stupidly lucky ones - for all practical purposes, there never was a time in my life when I'd wanted to fly, but hadn't yet.

    But what about you? How many of you grew up with flight? And how many more of you had to find your own way - and how did you get there?

    Hal Bryan
    EAA #638979
    Online Community Manager
    EAA—The Spirit of Aviation

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    When I was a kid, all I could think about was airplanes. Model airplanes. Movies. Soloed at 16, but then went to college and couldn’t afford to fly during my student days. In my early 30s my wife got me an intro flight as a birthday joke gift. Six months later I had my private pilot certificate and a Cherokee 180. She had no idea what she had started that day!”


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    Chad Jensen's Avatar
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    Mine is an "I always knew I would fly" story, but want was the driving factor. My mom and dad both took flying lessons in the 70's (in a Tomahawk!), but neither of them finished because I came along. My dad took me to the airport frequently as a kid, and my actual first memory that I can see clearly, is a ride in our friends Piper Seneca. An evening flight over the West Palm Beach skyline. He would take me to the airport nearly every weekend to watch the new Grumman's come out of the factory at Stuart at the time. As a kid I drew airplanes constantly and built many models; and finally when I transferred to Illinois State University, I got a job at the FBO, and began taking flight lessons in 1999.
    Last edited by Chad Jensen; 12-06-2011 at 09:35 AM.
    Chad Jensen
    EAA #755575

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    I did all those kid things with all kinds models, this started in 1950 at age 7, after a $2 Cub ride. I needed glasses by 14, and discovered that the military only wanted guys with 20/20 vision, my Mom was thrilled, and I was shattered. Thanks to a recruiting Sarge , I missed the draft and got into the Air Force Reserve in 1966. One year as a truck driver then managed to move into flying crew as a load master. I have over 500 hours of flight time logged in C-119G' s and C-130A's in about 4 years. Fast forward to 1988, I'm sitting on my patio in Hartland,WI watching all the homebuilts flying to OSH, when a B-24 flies over my house below 500 ft! I start buying flying magazines and drive up to EAA HQ in the spring of 89 to watch old biplanes fly around the pioneer patch. I become a member of EAA in 1990 after my first trip to AirVenture, then begin hanging around local airports, mainly Crites Field, Waukesha (UES). I finally decide to take the plunge by joining "Wisconsin Fox River Flyers", the former GE Flying Club, I solo Oct. 24th, 1992 and get my
    "passed" checkride on May 10, 1993! I've been at it now for 18 years, my only regret is that I should have started sooner, it's a wonderful hobby and a healthy stress reliever!

    Joe

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    When I was a boy in the late 30's there was a radio show (no tv yet) called, I believe, "Wings," that gave away a Piper Cub with a drawing. I always sent in a penny post card (yes, post cards were 1-cent then) and anxiously awaited the show every Friday evening, knowing that someday I would win the Cub. I had an advertising pamphlet from Piper with pictures of "my" airplane. It never happened but even now at 81+ years I vividly recall those nights waiting for my name to be called as a winner. Happy memories.

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    MickYoumans's Avatar
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    As a child I always loved airplanes. *When I would go to stores with my Mother I would go see what kind of molded plastic or model airplanes they would have. *I even got one of the old gas airplanes that you flew on a string one Christmas. *It was such a pain to crank, but it was still fun until you got so dizzy from spinning in circles waiting for the engine to run out of gas. * When I was 15, one of our neighbors gave me a ride in their Cessna. *I was hooked and wanted to learn to fly. *I figured the only way I would be able to get into aviation would be through the Air Force. *I talked with a recruiter and they would sign you up for flight school, but would not guarantee your acceptance once in the service because of the physical and other tests you would have to pass. *I knew I had the aptitude and coordination, but since I was a skinny kid, I was afraid I might not pass the physical. *Instead I wound up going on to college and marrying a girl I met there. *My wife’s family owned airplanes and her brother continued to fuel my desire to fly when I would go flying with him. *He is currently a 777 pilot for American Airlines. *My wife’s uncle was the retired Adjutant General over the Georgia Air Force Guard and had flown a wide variety of military aircraft over his Air Force career. *He told me one night that if I bought a plane he would teach me how to fly it. *We found a Cessna 150 at a nearby airport and I was finally on my way. *I flew the 150 until we had our second child and were building a new house. *Since I could no longer get my family in the 150, I felt that the money I had in my airplane would be better spent on my house and family, so I sold the 150. *It was so sad seeing my airplane, that I loved, fly off in the distance for the last time. *My in-laws were kind enough to allow me to keep current in their plane. *My mother-in-law passed away two years ago and their planes were sold by the estate. *I started looking for an affordable four seater and wound up with the Piper Cherokee I’m currently flying. *As much as I love experimental aircraft, life has never afforded me the opportunity to be able to build one. *Since my time is limited I have to go the ‘spam can’ route. *I do have plans to refurbish my Cherokee’s interior and get her painted as time and money allows.*Funny side story: *My Dad never would fly with me. *He didn’t care much for planes. *He always kidded me saying the Bible says “And lo(w) I am with you always”. *The same neighbor I mentioned above that gave me my first plane ride, asked my father to go with him to a Braves baseball game. *At the time we lived in Macon which is about an hour south of the Braves stadium. * They would go to games on a fairly regular basis. *He didn’t bother to tell my Dad the game that night was in Houston Texas. *As they are headed up the interstate to Atlanta, our neighbor took the Atlanta airport exit. *At that point my father didn’t think too much about it since our neighbor owned a large plumbing company that did government contracts around the state. *He just figured they were swinging by the airport to pick up a package or check on something business related….that was until they were in the terminal getting their tickets punched. *At that point he knew he was had! *To my knowledge that was the only time my father ever flew. *Everyone in both families knew what was up except for my Dad. *We’ve had so many laughs over that through the years.

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    MickYoumans's Avatar
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    Sorry about the asterics in my post. I cut the text from a word document on my iPad and pasted it here and it threw all those asterics in for some reason. I have no idea why.

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    Flying was probably in my blood from day 1. Both of my Grandfathers and my Father worked at Lockheed, GA. They worked in a number of areas over the years - flightline, production, production supervision, management, administration, whatever. My maternal Grandfather used to love showing me off to his friends. By the time I was about 3, he could point out an airplane in the sky, and ask me what kind of airplane it was. "C-130", of course. His friends were very impressed. They didn't know that to me, all airplanes were C-130's. When I was 4, we (most of the family) sat at the end of the runway at Dobbins AFB all day one Saturday waiting on the first flight of the C-5. I remember being very bored. They scratched that flight, but about the time we arrived to watch the next morning, the C-5 made its first flight, right over our heads. Hmm, safety zone, anyone? If you look at the YouTube videos of the C-5's first flight, I'm one of the dots visible at the end of the runway.

    About that time, my cousin and his dad invited me flying. My first airplane ride was in my cousin's A-65 powered Champ. I remember how loud it was and that at my age, I couldn't recognize anything on the ground. Once that flight was over, my uncle took me up in his C-170. A few years later, the family vacation was to the Grand Canyon. We took a sightseeing flight, probably in a Cherokee 6. I remember it being extremely turbulent (binoculars bouning violently from floor to ceiling). Dad says I grinned the entire flight.

    From then on, it was a blur of plastic models, wind up airplanes (I went through enough "Sleek Streaks" to keep Pacific Northwest's production line running.), books, magazines, etc. In college, I studied Industrial Engineering, but helped some of my AE friends with their Senior Project - designing a Mach 2 Business Jet. Only theirs was a Mach 3 Bizjet because I'd read up on the B-70 and compressability lift. They got an "A".

    And then one day I had a job, a house, money in the bank, and it was time for flying lessons, then a Piper Tomahawk. A year later I started on the RV-6, made its maden flight 6+ years later, and have flown it here there and the other place for 11 years.

    Now, I'm trying to recreate my youth, so I'm restoring an A-65 powered Champ. Maybe I'll have it done in time to give my little boy a ride in it when he's about 4.

  9. #9

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    As a child my first aeroplane ride was as a passenger in a Trans-Canada Airlines "North Star" (Canadair-built DC-4 with Rolls Royce engines) with a family friend, Carl Millard (He later formed Millardair in Toronto) as the captain...and I was allowed to visit the cockpit!!!!!!!!! From the first look out an aeroplane window I was a "goner" for life. Eventually I took the ground school when I was in my early 'teens and then when I had to get a medical to become a student pilot I could not pass it due to eye trouble. I really wanted to fly so I ended up with eye surgery on both eyes and the surgeon prounounced me "fit to fly"....but the Department of Transport (D.O.T.) still refused to grant me a medical "pass". As it turned out the sugeon (ophlamologist) was a senior advisor to the D.O.T. on matters of vision and he wrote them a "vigorous" letter and they relented. That same ophlamologist later initiated the wearing of protective masks for hockey players -and became quite famous for doing so.
    My late uncle was a bush pilot and miner in Alaska, The Yukon, and British Columbia (we still have family 16mm movies from the early days with biplanes at early mining camps and paddle wheel steamers along the coast to Alaska...as well as other aviation films from around the San Diego area.) such that I was thereafter always around aircraft. Eventually as a farmboy I mowed lawns and drove tractors (50 cents an hour) on my uncle's farm and eventually had enough money to take my bicycle and ride about 6 miles on back country roads to a little grass runway flying club (Brampton, Ontario) and I learned to fly on Aeronca Champion aircraft...7AC and 7EC. From day one I always liked the little J-3 and my first aircraft was a homebuilt registered J-2 Cub which I obtained in Winnipeg (after completing university) and with a friend, Art Buttle flew back to Toronto. Later came an E-2 Cub which when restored (with the advice and help of EAAers Al Kelch, Dick Hill, Gene Chase, Mac Say, Phil Michmerhuizen, Robert Taylor, C. G. Taylor, Robert "Mr. A-40" Thompson, Ed Kastner, John Barker, Ron Poelstra, Charles Burbank and Buck Hilbert) went to the National Aviation Museum, Ottawa, Canada. Finally came the J-3 (which I still own) and a Marquart Charger biplane (a recent acquisition). One seldom builds and aeroplane or restores an antique (or any other airplane) without a great deal of help from others...and I have been very, very fortunate in this respect. I have numerous great debts of gratitude to many aeroplane people.
    I might mention that all three Cubs were badly damaged in a hangar fire about 1978...and the J-3 is the last one left to be rebuilt. It is an on-going project.
    I have hopes of one day writing (with aeroplanes in just about everything I write).
    I was at one time an appointed director (for both vintage aircraft and government regulations) of the Canadian equivalent to the EAA and as such I initiated and made the first presentation in the presence of Transport Canada (D.O.T.) officials regarding the establishment of an owner maintenance category for older aircraft in Canada. This has since come to pass, and there are many older aircraft in Canada that are now licensed in the Owner Maintenance category.
    I am pleased, always, to note that I obtained my pilot's license before I ever had a driver's license. I will always remember my early days at Rockford, Illinois and later (now) at Oshkosh. "Aeroplane nuts" make a fine family...with members of said family to be found worldwide! EAA started somehing really BIG back in 1953 (?) and had that not happened I shudder to think what might have happened to aviation for the common man.
    I look up to look ahead.

  10. #10

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    Goggles

    I did not come from an aviation orientated family. I did however enjoy reading the 'Biggles' stories. Anyway when I was 15 Mum,Dad and I went for a joy ride in Piper Cherokee 140. I'd never been in a plane before. I really enjoyed the ride once I overcame the initial nerves and it just got in my blood from then on.
    We found a great local airfield with wonderfull atmosphere, it was a flight school but also home to homebuilts or ultralights as they were called back then and many antiques.
    I got a job there earning 50c and hour (this is 1972) refueling, working in the office, helping in the workshop and working out on the field mowing the grass. I worked every weekend and school holidays. I did 3 hrs instruction then had to wait 5 months till I turned 16 to get my student pilots licence, then I was right back into it.. I soloed later that year then again just clocked up hours waiting to be old enough (17) to go for my ppl flight test.

    I did the test on my 17th birthday and for one glorious day I was the youngest licenced pilot in Australia and according to the printed version of the Guiness book of records for that year one of the ten youngest licenenced pilots in the world, I was actually doing the forms and getting the documentation ready to submit for next years book but when it came out it listed the youngest pilot to have flown solo but I would assume not actually licenced at 13yo so that put paid to my plans in that area.
    As soon as I'd aquired my PPL I converted to Tiger Moths and got some hours up on the aero clubs Tiger that was available for hire. Mixing with the antiquers and homebuilders got me passionate about both those areas of aviation.
    I had planned on getting my commercial licence but fate stepped in and a car accident precluded me from being able to hold a commercial grade medical.

    I'd finished school by this time and was working full time at the same airfield but much as I loved it I could not advance there and the salary was only average so I left for a better job and career and relegated flying to being a hobby not a career, a decision I always regreted. For a while aviation took a back seat to other things of interest to a teenager now old enough to have drivers licence and I lost many yrs where I could have kept right in there with the flying crowd, another decision I deeply regret now.

    Life went on though as as an adult with a good income I was able to indulge in more flying and at various times own my own aircraft.
    Now in my 50's and again after a lapse of flying of about 7yrs (with more regret) I'm trying to get back into again. My last aircraft (Luscombe) was sold 7yrs ago so I own no aircraft now but getting back into gliding and recreational flying, hopeing that I might either be in a position to buy an older rag and tube type glider or perhaps a single seat Rotax Powered type aircraft.
    Last edited by Mychael; 01-29-2012 at 01:54 AM.

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