Kathy, a non-pilot navigator from Texas, asks: Who founded the “Mile High Club?”
Embarrassing true story (but probably not the one you’re expecting): When I was first learning to fly at age 17, I really, really, really wanted a set of pilot’s wings. All pilots have wings, right?
Of course, then as now, most wings are military issue. There are no official GA Pilot wings. Anyway, looking through the latest issue of the Sporty’s Pilot Shop catalog at the flight school, I found a handsome set of pilot’s wings that said “Mile High Club” on them.
The accompanying descriptive text in the catalog was somewhat vague. It said something like “show your membership in this exclusive club.” Remember, this was before the Internet, so getting the real skinny on something mysterious wasn’t as easy as it is now.
Even though the pin said “club” on it, there was no membership requirement to buy the wings, so I assumed any pilot who flew more than a mile high above sea level was eligible to wear the wings. Easy for me, training in Colorado. I ordered a pair at once and wore them proudly on my new flight jacket.
Thank God my mother didn’t know what the Mile High Club really was. [Read more…]