He had at one time or another almost every license that one could have. He was a civilian instructor during World War Two. He was the one that took the raw recruits for the Army Air Corps and taught them to fly. He said that most country kids were naturals because they were around machinery and drove tractors from an early age.
There is a memorial plaque at the end of the runway at the Butler County Airport in Nixon, Pennsylvania honoring him for his service.
He was quite a guy. In his lifetime he owned 28 different airplanes, 12 motorcycles, and put in a vineyard of European grape vines grafted to American root stalks and made some of the best wines and champagnes you ever tasted. In 1949 or 1950 he purchase land beside the airport and built a nice house. That way, he could taxi his plane over to the house and wash it, fiddle with it, or work on it. He taught his son to fly, and he soloed and got his license at age 14. The boy could fly before he could drive, and he was a good pilot.
Here is picture of my brother-in-law with a Cessna 180 parked in their driveway just outside the front door:
And another picture of him at the airport:
And my wife’s family getting ready for a trip:
And a picture of one of his planes in the air above the house:
And a picture of the Tri-Pacer from the air:
And this is a picture of my Father-in law in his favorite position doing what he loved to do the best:
I was lucky enough to get lots of rides in many different aircraft, from twins like the Twin Comanche, the Aztec, and the Apache and single engine planes like the Cub, Colt, Cherokee, and many others.
My Father-in-law and brother-in-law did have one bad accident in a single engine when the motor froze up. With no power they knew they were going to go in for an emergency landing. Being that it was night time didn’t make matters any better. He tried to make a corn field but could not quite get there. Instead, he had to put it down in the woods. He picked out two trees and stuck the nose between them thus ripping off the wings and slowing the plane before it hit the ground. He walked out carrying his full grown son who was unconscious. Only spent one day in the hospital, but the plane didn’t fair so well.