How I Became Interested In Aviation

As a young child in the 1960s my dad would take me to small airports to watch the planes.  He loved aviation and boating.  My dad always wanted a son that was a captain on a boat or plane. On weekends I remember hanging out at the Glenn L Martin Airport (now called Martin State Airport), Frederick Municipal Airport, Essex Skypark, the Bay Bridge Airport, and many others.  During one of our visits to the Bay Bridge Airport in the late 1960s, I got my first plane ride.  I remember my dad paid a penny a pound for me to get my plane ride.  I was 9 or 10 at the time.

Here I am with my dad at the Frederick Municipal Airport in the 1960s. I am on the right side of the picture. Click on the image for a larger view.

Here I am on the day of my first plane ride at the Bay Bridge Airport sometime in the 1960s. I am in the blue shirt. Click on the image for a larger view.

When I was about 13 years old a close friend of our family was dating a girl (Doreen) that was in the Civil Air Patrol.  Doreen was about 16 or 17 at the time.  My dad was so impressed with her, for weeks after meeting her, Doreen was all he talked about.  Dad tried very hard to get me interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol after meeting Doreen.  For some unknown reason I had no interest in the Civil Air Patrol.  My dad did send me to sailing school where I learned to sail.  I went on to join the Sea Scouts and sailed on a 42 foot Ketch. After trying for a long time, dad gave up on the notion that I would join the Civil Air Patrol and become a pilot.

Fast forward a few years, I was about 15 years old, dad tried very hard to get me interested in taking flying lessons.  By now, I was hanging out with guys a little older than me that had their own cars and I thought that was the coolest thing.  My answer to flying lessons was “Dad, I will be driving soon and getting my own car”. 

My dad died when I was 23 years old.  A few months after he died, I was out riding around feeling lonely.  I remember being near Martin State Airport.  I said to myself “Let’s stop in and see what that flying thing was all about”.   I took a lesson that day and loved it.  Nearly 40 years later, I am still flying and it has been my livelihood for the better part of that 40 years.  I am now a Designated Pilot Examiner and issuing pilot certificates to the folks my dad and I would watch in the 1960s. 

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