What a trip it’s been


In reading your article, “A trip back in time,” my mind went back to 1960 when I traded for a 1939 Taylorcraft. I had only been up in a small airplane a couple of times. The T-craft was a little airport bum and little did I know of the maintenance problems I had traded for. In an effort to get the annual signed off, I found out. Three months later I had a lot more experience with log books of the aircraft type. The AI, incidentally, charged me $15, which covered two trips to the airport for the inspector. My, how times have changed.

Now we get to the pilots log. The man that I got the plane from included instructions through solo and the dual cross country in the original deal. The man was hard to find when I was ready for dual, so I went to the Westheimer Airport in Norman, Oklahoma, and hung out until someone came by who admitted they had T-craft time. They became my instructor for the day. Finally one fine day the instructor came by. After about 45 minutes he said, “If y-y-you w-w-w-ill stop at the intersection I w-w-w-ill get out, I t-think I’m making you nervous.” He got out and, WOW, what a feeling! I can relive it right now. There was a nice breeze right down the runway everything and went just right. I made the required three takeoff and landings, he signed my logbook and I was legal to fly and my education started in earnest. That is when I found out about the thrill of Oklahoma winds and crosswind landings.

After my dual cross country I flew every time I could afford the gas, which cost about 32 cents then. After about 70 hours of fun, I bought time with a real instructor. It took him about 10 hours to work out all the bad habits I had. I took my checkride at what was then Riverside Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965.

Looking at my log book lets me stroll, or maybe I should say glide, back through the years and the 10 different aircraft that I have owned, plus probably a dozen or so more that I was privileged to fly. It also brings back the good times at Oshkosh, and the Swift Fly-Ins in Athens, Tennessee, and the many, many friends, many who have gone West. What a trip it has been since I first swung the prop in that old T-craft!

Thanks for you and your article that guided me back. Who says you can’t go back?

CLARENCE “MUTT” WAY, Farmersville, Texas


  1. Doug Rodrigues says

    In today’s climate of “formal” training, especially the “tailwheel transition” courses, I’ve come to realize how technical flight training has become. I soloed off in a Tri-Champ 7Fc back in 1964. At the 31 hour mark, I decided to get checked out in the tail dragger Champ 7Ec. Both planes were identical except for the landing gear. The instructor and I went around the pattern seven times. First he demonstrated a wheel landing in the slight cross wind. Next he demonstrated a full stall landing. He then had me do five takeoffs and landings, after which he jumped out of the plane and said, “You’re doing great. Just keep doing as many takeoffs and landings as you want to do. When you get tired, taxi in.” That was my “tailwheel transition” course. My question is, does the FAA require a certain amount of hours to transition to tailwheel, or are the flight schools finding “reasons” or “excuses” to sell a 10 hour course that I’ve see advertised. Just curious?

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