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I inherited my love of all things aeronautical from my Dad. The hills of West Virginia during the depression didn't offer a young lad like my dad much more than the occasional glimpse of some wondrous machine slipping through the skies on a sunny day. But that didn't lessen his fascination with the marvelously innovative and militarily awesome P-38 Lightning when it was introduced. Joining the Army near the end of WWII, he spent his time doping the wings of trainers in Waco, Texas. He never even got a chance to go up in one. But he did hitch the occasional ride on a B-17 (as many did back then) to get home on leave. After the war he was able to take a few lessons, soloed, got lost, and landed on a farm which unfortunately for him turned out to be a test area for this new-fangled radar technology. Then life happened. My first flight was at less than two weeks old in 1951 on a DC-3 to an aunt's wedding (as I've been told). My heart has been in the air ever since. As a kid, my bedroom ceiling was littered with plastic models of all types suspended in all kinds of different attitudes. My dad and I spent many a Sunday afternoon flying several different control-line models, and even unsuccessfully tried radio-control once or twice. A trip to the local airport was always an adventure. This was back when terminals had "observation decks", that were an unending source of free entertainment for non-flying locals. Then life happened again. After college I was able to pull together the time and money to actually get my private license. Not to be outdone, a couple years later my dad went through the training and got his license. We had some wonderful (and scary) trips together. He eventually let his lapse (wisely). Then one Thanksgiving a few years ago we were both at my sister's house in Kentucky. I had my club plane there that weekend and suggested to him that we take a little trip. We flew down to the Middlesboro airport where they were re-building Glacier Girl, the P-38 that had been recovered from beneath 200 feet of ice in Greenland. They allowed us full and open access to their shop. We both wandered about in slow and respectful silence in awe at the power and presence of it all. To touch her was to touch history. My Dad is a pretty articulate guy but his face said more than his words ever could. I will never, ever forget that day.
Common sense should always come first.
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