|John and Shirley Purchase and Roy in England.
Airplanes and gliders run in the family! John and Shirley Purchase, my English cousins, are power plane pilots, and glider
pilots too! They are the moving spirits at Hurn Airport, which houses their Cessna tow plane and several gliders. On a visit
to England, coached by them, I was able to stay up for 20 minutes in that flat country, slightly differen fromour British
Columbia mountain terrain!
(Above)- cousins John and Shirley Purchase ready for flight.
(Above)-Cousin John at the controls, Roy cringing behind!
Towing gliders among the Rocky Mountains
|The author and Cessna towing plane.
For quite a few years, with sons Glen and Ken, we flew advertising banners all over British Columbia and Washington State.
The 130-foot red signs were laid on the ground before pick up, and "snatched" into the air with a hook trailed behind
the planes. It took very fine timing! A few times things didn't quite go according to plan. Once at an airshow, I couldn't
realease the banner for landing, so had to land far down the runway dragging it behind me. An inspector of the air regulaions
was there, so I approached him. apologising for the landing, expecting a repremand. Graciously, he said, "oh, I thought
that was the way you were supposed to do it."
Another time, son Glen had the same mishap, and the control tower ordered him to circle for another approach, turning
out the emergency vehicles meanwhile. Glen spotted the flashing lights below, and asked the reason for he activity. "That's
for YOU Glen," the tower replied. But the landing, dragging the sign went OK.
Above- An Avro Avian. Each flying club in Canada was provided with a couple of these biplanes to get flying going in Canada.
I learned to fly in Brandon in 1934. It had it's exciting moments! When I had only a few hours solo, my instructor took me
up for a "check" on the club's Avro Avian, a two seat, open cockpit biplane, with dual controls, but removeable,
when not required. The instructor brought his along for the checkride, casually inserting it into its socket. I took off OK,
but the controls froze, and I couldn't level off- the plane continued to climb! He looked questiongly at me, and I looked
at him. Each of us blamed the other for "freezing on the controls." He was a big guy, so he heaved on the control
column, restoring a small amount of control. We managed a bumpy landing in spite of the seized controls. (We found then that
the instructor's control column wasn't fastened properly, causing the difficulty.) But, he kindly ignored the checkride in
Our Cessna 170B in flight.
For some years I towed gliders for the Soaring Club. Their meets were held around, Hope, British Columbia, in the Rocky Mountains.
I would tow them to about 2,000 feet, and they would cast off, and glide for hours on updrafts. We had a few exciting moments!
At one meet, a member brought along a new, rather heavy, wooden glider. It took a good run to get him into the air! But- off
he went into the wide, blue yonder. But not for long. The heavy machine didn't soar like the ones he was used to fly! Unfortunatly
he "ran out of lift" near the trees, and one tall spar tree
sheared off a wing and spun him and the glider into the swifly flowing river. Although with a broken leg, he clung to
the wreckage, thankful that he had bought a WOODEN glider! Fortunatly it was cattle country, and a wrangler spotted him and
galloped ahead to the only clearing for miles, and threw him a rope and hauled him ashore. The wrecked glider sailed on, soon
unpatrically crossing he U.S. border nearby! (Fortunatly covered by insurance!)
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