Logbook - Volume 1
The 1960's were full of firsts ... my first flight as a passenger in 1963, my first flying
lesson also in 1963, first solo in 1967, private license in 1968 and the first tentative
steps at cross-country flying in 1969. Throughout this time the bulk my flying was
based out of Fullerton, California. Trips did not go far afield, the farthest being
Lakeport, in Northern California.
Background this page: 1963 Los Angeles WAC chart
First flight! Lincoln's Birthday was a school holiday, and my parents gave me a sightseeing ride
with an instructor at Fullerton Flying Service. There were two more such sightseeing rides (Cessna
182D N9977T, and 182D N109Y) before I took my first real flying lesson on 24 Nov. 1963, in
Cessna 150A N7208X, also at Fullerton. N9304X and N7208X are now registered in northern
California; N9977T in Arizona, and N109Y in Michigan.
|Click on thumbnails
for full-size images
Flying lessons came few and far between in the early stages. I began taking lessons from
instructor James G. Gelder, who used a taildragger Champ for primary training. I never got as far
as soloing this or any other taildragger, but it was valuable experience. N8905R still flies in the
Los Angeles area.
On a car trip with my grandparents to Banff, Alberta, Canada, we stopped in Coeur d'Alene, where
I wangled a flying lesson. This was my introduction to basic, rural flying, in a 1946 Champ in its
original fabric and paint ("NC" numbers on wings and tail, and stenciled "Aeronca" logo), and no
electrical system. Today it is still based at Coeur d'Alene.
In addition to the yellow 150F N8188S shown here, Jim Gelder had a fleet of blue 150G's and
H's, all with registration numbers ending in "JG". Unfortunately I have no photographs of
N733JG, the 150G in which I had my first solo flight.
Perhaps I didn't appreciate it at the time, but in retrospect I have to admire the courage of my
grandparents, for riding along in the back seat for one of my very early flying lessons. They
were always supportive of my flying ambitions.
On a Washington's birthday holiday, a friend's dad took several of us teenagers to a soaring
center in the high desert. We took turns flying in the sailplane, towed by a Cessna 305 (L-19),
and I logged 3/10 of an hour of dual instruction. Thirty years later I discovered N5728S still at
work at North Plains, Oregon.
My first long solo cross-country was to the then-quiet desert resort town of Bermuda Dunes (top
left). By this time my father started taking flying lessons as well, and we joined Fullerton Pilots
Association, a flying club with a good variety of airplanes on the line, some of which are shown
I passed my private pilot checkride on my 17th birthday, the first day I was old enough to take the
test. Abe Paster was the examiner. My dad passed his checkride three weeks later in N22589, a
blue 150H which has since been converted to tailwheel configuration and now operates in Missouri.
N22639 is still registered in Southern California.
With the ink still drying on my new temporary private pilot license, the next order of business was to
get checked out in a four-seat airplane. This was done in one of the club's brand new Cessna
Cardinals. Many pilots had trouble with the handling of the early Cardinals, but I never had any
problem with it. After a few short trips in FPA's two Cardinals (N3120T and N3340T) in 1968, I did
not fly a Cardinal again until 1994.
The next summer, my dad I decided to take a "long" trip together to Northern California. It was a
wonderful adventure for the two of us, the longest trip either of us had flown to date as licensed
pilots. Shown at left is a refueling stop at Livermore, CA.
Late in 1968, my dad bought a three-year-old Cessna 150 for $3600. It turned out to need an
engine overhaul and a paint job, but once these were done it was a fine airplane. On the
next-to-last day of 1968 I flew the airplane to Lake Havasu City AZ, for my first interstate flight.