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ON TO PAGE 4.... SOME PICTURES OF MY "SPECIALTY" AIRPLANE...MITSUBISHI MU 2.
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I was born in CUBA, lived there until Fidel Castro deleted my dad's profession (and life), bullet holed our house, and later claimed it as his. We fortunately had the chance, and (with my dad's ingenuity) fled to the US.
Due to my father's line of work (Sales Engineer), we lived in Miami Florida, New London Ohio, back to Miami, then to Panama City Panama (Canal Zone), back to Miami again, and finally ended up in Los Angeles in 1966.
I spent my teens in LA. Attended Don Bosco Technical Institute, and Whittier High School. Later attended Rio Hondo College majoring in Electronics, then later transferred to Mount San Antonio College earning my degree in Commercial Aviation.
Began developing my aviation career by pumping avgas, and washing airplanes to pay for flight training. Later worked at the same airport for the City of Fullerton Airport Operations Dept. Concurrently attained my aeronautical ratings, and accumulated flight experience by flying suicidal banners over the beaches, and electric advertising signs at night over "bowl" and stadium games.
SO WHY AVIATION?
Well..Ever since I was an "itty bitty thang" I remember having a fascination and awe of shiny silvery man made machines that took to the air at high rates of speed. I recall that as a child, I only wanted toys that had either wings, or propellers on them, except for one other time that I wanted a horse. Around 6 years of age, on a balmy tropical night in the beautiful resort town of Varadero, Cuba. My family was out for a Sunday outing and we ended up at the local Marina where all the wealthy Americans kept their beautiful Megayachts (Back then, Cuba was "THE" hot spot for the wealthy to play). The Veradero International Airport (Only 3 planes per day traffic) was across the highway from the meticulously maintained marina. My dad was carrying me in his arms. I remember glancing up in the crimson sunset and seeing the beam of the airport rotating beacon spinning in the salt air haze and beckoning me. Shortly after, an incredibly fast loud and modern looking aircraft landed (I remember the sound of the new turbine engines.) I just had to see this new and unknown technologly up close. At my infantile request (yelling, kicking, and screaming), my father carried me across the highway to the small terminal. As the arriving flight neared the only gate, we approached the chain link fence. I will never forget the intense sound levels and 4 brilliant landing lights pointed right at me and blinding me. That moment still seems surreal. Once all the running gear stopped, in all it's glory, was this now antique Vickers Viscount 4 engine turboprop. I've never forgotten that moment. I threw another tantrum cuz I wanted my dad to carry me over to the aircraft so I could touch this incredible beast! After the passengers disembarked and the four Rolls Royce Engines and large propellers halted their spinning, my dad called the pilot over and humbly asked if his screaming and wailing little boy could approach and touch the aircraft. The pilot said "sure!" My dad carried me to the apparently new and glistening machine, and held me up to touch the mirror polished underbelly of the bird. It felt as if I had kissed the Blarney stone!. I doubt if my father remembered that moment, but I sure do!
That memory has never escaped me. Now, after having been in Aviation for over 35 years (8 yrs. in Airport Operations- 30 yrs. as a Professional Pilot), I still think of that experience, and, as I now strap myself into a variety of brightly lit and incredibly loud beasts, I feel the serenity and joy of being one of the lucky few who truly love their profession. There is nothing better.
Below is a picture of the ole gal that sparked my interest in Aviation, the Brittish built turboprop with Rolls Royce engines, a (now antique) Vickers Viscount.
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