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Airplanes: “Bitten by the bug”


My dad’s passion for aviation emerged, while growing up during World War II. Dad was intrigued by all of the amazing aircraft being flown by the allied air forces during the war. I remember Dad telling me that he used to make balsa models of of some of those aircraft (the P-51 Mustang, F-4 Hellcat, and the B-25) which were some of his favorites. His love of all things aviation never subsided even when he stopped flying. Eventually my father would re-connect with that passion once again, but much later on in life.

in the late 1950’s, my father took his first few flying lessons when we was in hi



Evelyn Bryan Johnson. Evelyn was a petite (a little over 5 feet tall), fiery, confident, 70 year old. Back in those days, she was not the typical (dark sunglasses, silk scarf, leather jacket clad) pilot that we read about in books, and see portrayed in movies. Evelyn Bryan Johnson, even at the age of 70 was an active, engaging, and spit-fired aviation legend. In this little rural town in East Tennessee, we had living, working, and flying among us a legendary flight instructor and pilot, and you know what, she was my Dad’s flight instructor (and later mine). This wonderful teacher of flight would have a positive influence on my life, in ways that would go way beyond merely teaching me “stick and rudder” skills.

In my next post, I will share more about those early days of flying with Evelyn and my Dad. These were special days when aviation was so unspoiled, when “stick and rudder,” “flying by the seat of your pants,” and the basic skills of maneuvering your craft among the lofty heights was so deeply embedded in this sport. Please check back for my next blog post.


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