Dick Hunt's Blog

July 8, 2010

Flying in Light Planes

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 3:53 pm

Flying in Light Planes. by Dick Hunt, July 8th, 2010

Some flights I remember from the past. One was two summers ago when we had a family reunion on the old ranch in Endiang Alberta , south east of Stettler. My niece’s husband took me for a flip all around the area where I grew up, in his Cessna 150 and I shot a lot of pictures. It was a real treat.

I also recalled this morning a friend, George Allen who owned a Aeronca Champ and took me for a flip at the ranch shortly after I learned to fly in the early 50’s. He was not a very safe pilot. He took off on a muggy morning in July across the narrow field and heading for a road allowance with fences on each side and a hill straight ahead. Noticing he was losing power I quickly reached ahead and quickly put on carb heat and we just cleared the first fence by inches.

On another flight he told my brother Bill who had an air strip well marked with a number of red gasoline barrels on his ranch 18 miles east of Cessford Alberta, that he wanted to visit him, as he told Bil on the phone when he was planning his flight. Bill had a Aeronca Sedan and I used to fly a lot with him. It was in late winter and George had ski’s on the plane as there was considerable snow on the ground. He missed seeing the gas barrels and landed between two red Hereford cows in the feed lot, adjacent to the air strip. He had to ground loop to miss some cows. He was so rattled Bill had to taxi the Champ out of the feed lot and to the landing strip.

In 1952 I went from Endiang to Hanna on the mixed freight/passenger local on March 22nd intending to catch the through passenger to Calgary late that evening. But a violent blizzard blew in at 9 PM and by midnight all roads and railroads were completely blocked and all traffic at a standstill. I was snowed in, in Hanna for four days. Then I learned that George was in town, having flown in for some reason from his farm about 20 miles away. I asked him if he could fly me to Drumheller as buses were running from there to Calgary. He said, yes and I could help him to find a line break on the powerline for Hydro. We took off in the afternoon and spotted the problem, then he landed near the Hydro crew to report. When I left to get to the town in a Hydro truck, George was bogged down in loose snow and waiting for a crawler tractor to pack him a take off strip, helped by Hydro with their truck radio.

Although the Aeronca was not considered capable of aerobatics, Bill was observed high over his ranch one afternoon as he executed nine inside loops without a break. On another occasion he was flying from the Ranch at Endiang to his ranch at Cessford facing a head wind of around sixty knots and when he was just about past the town he throttled back and his plane backed up again. He did that a number to times and the people on the ground were trying discover how they might bring him safely to earth. He had a great sense of humour. I have lot’s of other memories of Bill’s flying career

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