Early Aviation Activities

My father brought me a copy of Flying Magazine, a very thick special issue with photos and articles of U. S. Army Air Force airplanes and operations- January 1942,  actually on the news stands at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.   I was four years old, learned to identify every airplane before I learned to read.  I started building models, and my mother had to read the instructions to me. That was before die stamping, and I had to cut out each wing rib and body former with an Xacto knife.  Amazingly, I still have all my fingers.

In 1958, when I was in college, I began flying gliders, at Arlington Airport north of Seattle.  My instructor was the famous aviation historian Peter Bowers.

For five summers, 1954 to 1958, I spent my summers on Guam, where my father worked for the Air Force, as Planning Engineer for Anderson AFB.  I saw Anderson evolve from B-50, to B-36 and B-47 bombers.  Unfortunately it was a SAC base and I could not take photos.   The last thing my father did before he died was the facilities for the B-52s that bombed Vietnam.  One summer a friend of his in Honolulu took me on a tour of Oahu in his Stinson L-5.

In 1960 I graduated in Aero Engineering, was commissioned in the Air Force and went to Tuscon, where I was in a group overseeing the Titan II missile base construction.  I flew with the base Aero Club, got my license and about 200 hours of power flying.   One of the fighter pilots on the base taught me aerobatics in the Beech T-34, basically a Bonanza converted to a military trainer.


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