From childhood, I have always been interested in flying. I also have glasses. Twenty – Two Hundred glasses. Myopia. Because of my eyesight, I always believed that I could not be a pilot.
I went to college and got a biology degree… was going to be a doctor. Well, that didn’t turn out. The medical schools weren’t really interested in me, and by the time I graduated, I wasn’t interested in them. Newly married, I decided to be a teacher, and went to school for an additional year to gain my teaching credentials. I soon found out that teaching was very hard work, and gained a new appreciation of the teaching profession. My romantic vision and the reality of teaching didn’t line up. I lasted two years.
Thankfully, my best friend started flying airplanes, and I was compelled to finally start following my dreams. I had very little money, but I knew how to read, and I devoured the flying texts. My flight lessons averaged six tenths of an hour (that is all I could afford), and on my ninth lesson, with 5.4 hours of dual received, I soloed. My loving wife, an elementary school music teacher, let me steal money from the cookie jar (money we didn’t really have) to continue my flying education. I found an instructor (who was also an examiner) for $20.00 an hour. $5.00 an hour for him, and $15.00 for the airplane (wet). My buddy, now a CFI, signed me off and I took my private pilot airplane check-ride with 47.7 hours in my logbook.
In November of 1978, we purchased a 1946 Aeronca Champ for $4600. There was no tail wheel endorsement required back then, and I just checked myself out. I put 50 hours in my logbook flying it to Florida and back to Erie, PA. 20 hours down, 10 hours flying around Florida, and 20 hours back. No electrical system, all dead reckoning and pilotage. I burned 4 gallons per hour at $1.00 per gallon. Those fifty hours in my logbook cost a mere $200. That airplane really taught me a lot.
Things started to come together for me starting in May 1979. I took my instrument airplane check-ride on May 18th, followed by my commercial airplane check-ride on June 8th. June 14th was my Hot Air Balloon private pilot check-ride (Yes, balloon. We bought a balloon in April of that year. Did I say I had an understanding wife?). I flew my first flight as a commercial pilot on June 19th, flying insect patrol for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and then I took my commercial balloon license ride on June 26th. I took my CFI-airplane single engine on July 11, 1979. I was now earning a (meager) living flying. I could give rides and instruction in my balloon, instruct and do aerial photography in the Champ, and instruct at the local flight school!
Over the next 5 years I instructed, and eventually worked my way into charter flying, a commuter airline (not what you think of today), and pilot services as a co-pilot on a King-Air.
In 1984 we moved to Cincinnati where I have been a corporate pilot flying Gulfstreams worldwide with the same company for 28 years.
I am a glider CFI-G, we still fly balloons, and I have a powered paraglider (PPG). I have dabbled with hang gliders, free flight paragliders, helicopters, and just picked up a weight shift control light sport rating (trikes). I continue to be interested in all things “aviation”.
My wife and I have been singing together in church choirs since high school (42 years). I consider myself an amateur musician. I take piano lessons; sing a contemporary worship service, and a traditional worship service. Music adds immensely to my quality of life.
We have raised two adult daughters, of whom we are very proud. One is a pilot / A&P mechanic, and the other is in Musical Theatre as a singer, actor, dancer.
I am a runner, and a triathlete. My wife raises puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind. We also have an adult dog and cat.