T2DBID (Things 2 Do Before I Die)

T2DBID (Things 2 Do Before I Die)

T2DBID (Things 2 Do Before I Die)

My father moved around a lot. I think I was blessed with that gene. Until I retired I never lived anywhere for more than seven years. My earliest recollections were from the war years – WW2 that is.

After every branch of the military rejected my father he went into defence work building training aircraft. We lived in a couple of houses until he found a bungalow within bicycle distance of the plant. As a result of this I saw many airplanes overhead. Irving Air Chute also had a manufacturing facility in the area and every so often a cargo plane would drone over and parachutes would spill out and drop slowly to the ground.

It was at this time that I started my list of T2DBID, pre dating “Bucket List” by several decades.

The first thing on the list was ‘jump out of an airplane on a parachute’! This I did in 1962, twice! The chutes we jumped back then were nothing like the equipment you see today. Back then we bought military surplus rigs with a panel removed and a couple of cutouts on either side so you could steer. It was alleged that the landing was akin to jumping off a fourteen foot wall.

On the second jump I managed to land on the asphalt runway and went numb from the waist down. When you are indestructible such an event is nothing to get excited about but for three or four years I couldn’t squat down without falling backward. That was the end of my parachuting career and the beginning of my weather forecasting. My right knee reacts to changes in the weather to this day.

The second item on that list was ‘fly an airplane’. On February 10, 1972 I soloed a Cherokee 140 around the patch. The takeoff was uneventful and the landing was great! A good landing is any that you can walk away from, a great landing is one that you can still use the airplane. Six children, multiple transfers and a career put personal flying on the back burner until retirement – but more of that another time.

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