Wednesday, February 6, 2013

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 242: My First Airplane Flight

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family photograph collection passed to me by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This is a photograph of the airplane in which I took my first airplane ride and vacation in 1956 as a 12-year old.  One of my best friends was my neighbor, Butch Craver.  They lived across the street in a corner house with a big back yard, his father had a jukebox business (Wurlitzer's I believe, which was fun), and both of his parents were pilots (his mother was a Powder Puff Derby winner in 1972), and they owned this airplane.  The airplane seated four as I recall.

Butch's family took flying vacations, and they had an extra seat in 1956, so they invited me to go with them to Vancouver, B.C. to visit family members.  I ran home all excited to ask my mother if I could go, and she immediately said "yes" for some reason (she told me when I was older that she and my father had real reservations about it!).  

Off we went on our two-week jaunt to the Pacific Northwest in late August 1956.  It was great watching the earth go by from 10,000 feet.  Butch's father explained and demonstrated the basics of flight (weight, lift, thrust, drag, stability, control) during the flight.  This aircraft only went about 120 miles/hour, so we had a lot of air time.  We stopped in Sacramento, California, Medford, Oregon and Bellingham, Washington on the way north.  In Bellingham, they rented a car and drove into Vancouver, B.C.  On the trip back, we stopped in Medford again, then San Francisco (we actually saw President Eisenhower arriving for the 1956 Republican Convention) and home to San Diego.  I also saw the absolute power of weather on this trip - in the Pacific Northwest, you cannot avoid flying into and through clouds, and we were caught in a thunderstorm one night in Medford (this plane was already tied down) that destroyed several other light planes on the ground.  

This trip sparked an interest in aircraft in this 12-year old boy, and led to a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a 40-year career in engineering in the aircraft industry.  

I have forgotten what the airplane model is, but I think it's a Piper PA-22 since it is four seats, tricycle fixed landing gear, dual strut, single engine and high-wing airplane.

Hey Butch - are you reading this?  Let's talk!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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