Friday, January 30, 2009


( This was too long for my regular blog. DAD.)

My friend Becky, who lives in Southern California has been asking me for a long time to tell how I ever decided to learn to fly a plane. There is not very much to tell, but I will see what I can remember about it.

You can see by the picture below that Jim & Mary had already come to live with us. We lived near a small Airport that was on an island in the Tennessee river, the name of the airport was and still is The Island Airport.


This airport is within the city limits of Knoxville, There is the municipal airport here which is about 15 miles south of us.

Well here is the way it all started, in the afternoons when I would get home from work we four would go to the Island and sit there and watch the small planes take off and land. That was a thrill for all of us. I soon got to know the owner of the airport and two of his instructors. One of them Phillip F. offered to take me up for a ride, I accepted and then I was hooked.

dadbyplane Before I knew what was happening I was taking flying lessons, and soon had my license. Before I was allowed to take anyone up with me I had to have so many flying hours by myself, and plan and make a cross country flight. I got all of this done and then I thought that I was important. A inspector came to the airport and gave me my final test.
After all of this happened we did spend more time at the airport. I had to rent a plane from a dealer there to continue my flying to get my required time in so I could take someone up with me. It was not very long until I wanted to own my one plane, so we bought an Ercoupe, it was of course just a two seater. In those days there were not very many instruments in the plane. We did have a compass but no radio. We had to depend a lot on our eyes and and our feelings.

The picture below shows my wife LaVerne beside my airplane.



My instructor, Phillip and I went to the factory and flew the plane back to Knoxville. The factory was near Washington D. C. As we were returning we could see the White House and other land marks near the capitol.
I did have a few close calls on some of my cross country trips, some of them I don't even like to think about, especially the one when I got above an overcast sky and could not find a hole to get back down, I was just about ready to give up when a hole appeared in the overcast, I was smiling that day.

Another little trip that I remember was when I went to Memphis to get Jim, and he and I flew back to Knoxville. We enjoyed the little trip. I remember that we stopped at the Nashville airport for something to eat, nothing was open so we used the vending machines. Can you imagine the Nashville airport being closed in this day. Things have changed in the last 50 years.
I am glad that I stopped flying when I did, if I had kept on you might not be reading my blog today. And thinking of my family was another good reason for me stopping.
I know that I have missed a lot of my experiences in this, but it is about all I can remember, AFTER ALL WHAT DO YOU EXPECT A 96 YEAR OLD MAN TO REMEMBER. This will show you what a silly young man that I was.

Jim found parts of an old brochure about the Ercoupe airplane. If you click on the pictures they should enlarge enough for you to read about the airplane.

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 4

Thanks Becky for asking about this, if she had not ask me to do this I don't guess that I would have done it. Come see me on my blog, I am there every day except Sunday.

Bye Bye DAD.

This link will take you back to my blog.

© 2009 Dad's Tomato Garden Journal...All Rights Reserved.


At 9:08 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

How can you say I wouldnt be missing much? This is a great read, and I loved reading down memory lane with you. You were very daring to learn to fly a plane. I don't think I would have the guts to do it, but you did! What fun it must have been. Thankyou for taking the time to write this down. I enjoyed it very much. :) Love, Kelly

At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

What a beautiful family... and what a beautiful plane. To describe you I would use words like adventurous... brave... free spirited... someone who truly LIVES his life... but I would NEVER think to use the word "silly".

THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this story and thanks to Jim for his part as well!

Keep those stories coming! You are so much more interesting than you think you are.

Hugs, Becky

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Mandy said...

I only wish everyone could hear you tell this story in person like I did on Thanksgiving! But reading it is still such a treat. I hope you will write more about your life. It is fascinating to those of us who weren't there!

Love you!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Carlene Noggle said...

Dad, you were so brave to go up in a plane!!! I once got to fly in a helicopter and I loved it but have never been on a plane. That story about being above the clouds and couldn't find a hole scared the willies out of me!!!

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Ally Lifewithally said...

Thankyou Dad for a lovely read ~ Looking forward to reading more of your memories ~ Ally x

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Pamela said...


Thank you for sharing your memories with us. When I read about your adventures, I know that You have truly lived.


At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dad Nurse Nancy here and had to read as we have talked about your airplane experience recently since my son is in flight school now. I can actually see you up there so close to God and also being able to use the precious tools he lends us. I trust my son will feel the same.


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