On my 15th birthday, Mom and Dad gave me a two hour flight in a Piper Super Cub. The journey started at Galt Field in Greenwood, Illinois to do a rectangle north to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Lake Michigan, to Waukegan, Illinois and home again. My lessons began in June 1960 to culminate with getting my driver’s license in the morning and soloing in the afternoon of August 22, 1960 the day I turned 16. My life was filled with coursing through the air thereafter. The most special moments were those soaring amongst the clouds years later. The progression began in the Spring of 1976 with an introductory flight in Vacaville, California where Linda and I each began our trip into the sky using mother nature as an energy source.
Linda proved she could fly getting her pilots license in 1978. She is a skilled glider pilot who proved to the male population that the female is Queen of the hill. I kept climbing the skill ladder from a wooden homebuilt Duster, to a metal 15 meter Lark, and then on to the Rolladen-Schneider ships starting with a fibreglas LS3a and then on to the ultimate of the day LS6a. Contest numbers went from Juliet 5 for the Lark, August Moon for the LS3a, and then Uncle Wiggley for the LS6a. Each ship was greater in L/D performance going from 28 to 42 feet per one foot of elevation in the glide ratio…ie. I could travel farther and faster for each foot of altitude that I climbed. I competed in the Nationals and also conducted the races as a Contest Director.
Our first ship was the homebuilt Duster constructed by Ken Gooch in Klamath Falls. We lived in Medford at the time little knowing that we would eventually arrive back here to live.
Our second ship was the IS-28 D2 single place ship made in Romania. It went with us to Cowley, Alberta starting in 1978. This was an annual trip that continued for 20 plus trips over the years.
Our third ship was the LS3a “August Moon” with “Teahouse” as our base radio station. AM joined us in 1981. Brad was off to Germany that year for his Congress-Bundestag Scholarship in Frankfurt. He was gone for 12 months only to return with Christian Jäger in tow for his year with us. More German spoken than English in 1986/87 in our house.
I flew Uncle Wiggley a lot whenever I could until May 27, 1995.