He Walks Among us, but who…?

Your newsletter editor gathers, organizes, and publishes items of interest to the Aeroclub’s membership. All of us need to know the dates of upcoming meetings and programs, but we miss an opportunity by not taking advantage of this medium to tell some our inspiring stories–perhaps this is the beginning of something new.

There is a story behind every Aeroclub member, many untold stories, some worthy of Ripley’s. How we came to fly, why some don’t fly, and why others never quit flying, may grace our obituaries; but why wait?. These are not simply human-interest stories, but they help us know each other better, and that makes for a happy and cohesive Aeroclub.

Ours is a diverse group with a narrow interest: Aviation. Some fly multi-thousand-pound fire breathing behemoths, while others fly Champs, Cubs, ultralights, and even helicopters. Some members have exciting military experiences, and others have exciting civilian backgrounds. Persuading some of you to tell your story publicly is challenging and sometimes frustrating. Our guest this month is a case in point.

Out of modesty, either false or genuine, this pilot always defers to those he calls “more interesting people.” However, I was up against a deadline, so after finally agreeing to his terms, I present to you: The Unknown Pilot. He agreed to the story under the condition of strict anonymity.

He did not grow up in an aviation family, and his hometown’s so-called airport was a solitary cinder strip with a big hill on one end. There were a couple of those once-ubiquitous Quonset hangars and a ragged windsock. Not much to intrigue, but looking back, it was somewhat charming. He remembers his first airplane ride: They bribed me actually. Polio was scaring the bejesus out of all the grownups in those days, so I had to have a polio shot.