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Memory Lane

Robert's Memoirs
Stories as told by my Father (1) (2)

Stories as told by my Mother

My personal memories
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
(7) (8) (9)

My childhood memories
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Lettie's Memoirs

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Robert's Memoirs Page 7 (1937 to 40)

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    Prior to Bob being born, I got interested in learning to fly an airplane.  I remember Mr. W.F. Moss owned a new Piper Cub 75 hp. I think it was the most horse power Piper used in their planes at the time. He employed Haskel Deaton, an acquaintance of mine from driving a truck for Charlie Reid. Charlie also held an interest in a trucking company that hauled chemicals for us at Cyanamid. Mr. Moss was the owner of Moss Trucking Co.. They specialized in Heavy Hauling such as steel for Southern Engineering Co., transformers for Duke Power and other loads that took special equipment to move.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    Haskel had learned to fly and had his private license that allowed him to fly a passenger if not for hire. I asked Haskel if he would teach me to fly and he agreed to teach me and get my solo license for $35.00. We would meet out at Douglas Airport and we would fly around the airport and practice taking off and landing. It seemed easy for me to learn to take off and land without any problem.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    After 3 or 4 hours of flying with Haskel in the 75 hp. Piper, taking an eye exam and passing the written exam, Haskel told me he could not pass me on the solo because he did not have a commercial license, but he had a friend that was going to solo me in his 65 hp. Piper. This pilot worked out of Brokenborough Air Service. After having me take off and cutting the power for me to pick out a place to make an emergency landing, we returned to Douglas Airport and landed. He got out and set the stabilizer to compensate for his weight. I was to take off, climb to 500 ft., make 4 90 turns while maintaining 500 ft altitude and land. The stabilizer was set to climb instead of for level flight. I had to keep pressure on the stick until I had time to adjust the stabilizer. When I landed I was only a few yards from the instructor. When we taxied to the hanger, Haskel met us and was relieved when I received my solo license.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    Woodrow Faulkner and I helped form a flying club. Woodrow was a friend of mine that had went to school with Lettie. We all put up $50.00 each and bought a used 40 hp. J-3 Piper with no brakes and a drag instead of a wheel at the tail. While on the ground, you steered the plane with the rudder instead of the brakes. We kept the plane at the Cannon Airport. After I got a pilot to check me out in the J-3 Piper, I flew It several hours without any close calls. It was hard to land if there was any breeze due to the light weight and low power.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    Lettie went with me carrying Bob in March 1941 to Cannon Field and waited for me to fly during the lunch hour. I flew around towards Berryhill School and by the plant and circled the water tank a few times showing off for the workers pitching horseshoes near the tank. When circling the tank I let the wing get a little close for comfort and had to level the plane just missing the smoke stack on the boiler. I almost lost flying speed and had to fly down the branch toward the golf course until I gained enough speed to pull up before flying into the trees. I gained enough altitude to gather my wits.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    The wind had started to blow and I experienced for the first time what real flying was in a 40 hp. airplane in a 20 to 25 mph. wind. When flying into the wind it seemed as though I was flying backwards. When I banked to make a turn I would find that It had taken some distance and travelling with the wind was so much faster. I flew back towards Cannon Airport and as I passed the airport I banked the plane and headed towards the runway. I was over Johnson C. Smith University and headed in the right direction but was only flying a few miles per hour.I increased the rpm almost to the maximum and flew the plane onto the end of the runway. I was only a hundred or so feet from the start of the runway when I landed.

bowtie_sm.gif (400 bytes)    Once on the ground I kicked right rudder and taxied off the runway into broom sage. I walked to the hanger and asked the attendant if he would taxi the plane to the hanger and fuel and check it. I signed the flight sheet and gave up my membership in the club. Bob was six months old and I felt that I didn't need to fly. I have taken over the flying of several planes since then , but just to make a few turns, dives, straight and level flight. All the planes that I played with had in excess of 175 hp. and one was a twin engine. Nothing can match the feeling of freedom as piloting your own plane or boat, large or small.

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