American pilot. During the WW2 he flew F-4/F-5 Lighting recce
aircraft at India-Burma-China theatre in 1944.
Bill tell about his flying career:
My first solo was in a Luscombe 8A in Tacoma, Washington (state not
D.C.) thanks to a government sponsored Civil Pilot Training program
when I was 18 years. old and in my freshman year of college. That was
way back in 1940.
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor I joined up as an Aviation Cadet in
the US Army. I got to fly Stearman PT-17s in primary training, Vultee
BT-13s in basic, and Curtiss AT-9s in advance, plus about 10 hrs in
P-38s just before graduating Class 43-E in May 1943.
While against the Japanes in the China-Burma-India Theatre, - I was
lucky enough to survive 54 combat missions in F-4s and F-5s. Also got
time in B-25s, P-40s, P-51As and P-51Ds .When I was rotated back to
the USA for rest I also got quite a few hrs in the Douglas A-26 which
was one hell of an airplane! Lots of HP ! (2,000 hp on each side) and
very fast on the deck!..
I never got to fly Jets although I started ground -school for the
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star just before the wars end.
After the war ended, my air force experience qualified me for a
commercial twin engine rating & Licence.. But personal flying was
very expensive which limited me to only occasional light single
engine planes like Cessnas and even an Ercoupe. I added a Glider
rating later on and wished that I had done it sooner! Lots of fun!
I had a long commercial marketing experience with General Motors
Overseas Corporation, mostly in Latin America before getting back into
active flying again with Cessna. I was lucky to fly almost all of
Cessna's piston engine models , - but my favorite week-end fun plane
was the old fashioned tail-dragger Model 180.
Now Bill lives in Wichita, Kansas, USA.
I came here in 1977 to work for Cessna Aircraft doing Latin American
marketing Back then the demand for aircraft was good and the
activities were very satisfying. I traveled a lot working with dealers
throughout Latin America. We did many demonstration tours with
various new models like the the twin engine turbo-prop, Conquest
Model 441. What a wonderful performing plane! We went as far south
as Tierra del Fuego, in Argentina.. And spectacular scenery crossing
The Andes (Mt.Aconcagua peaks at almost 23,000 ft.) to Chile. That
was the most interesting part of my 'job' while living here in
Wichita. I am retired now and miss flying very much. What I am 'doing
here now?' is volunteering twice a week at the Flight and Science
section of a large museum and children training facility named
'Exploration Place' where I demonstrate and guide youngsters in Flight
Simulators. These modern simulators make me wish that we had them for
training as cadets sixty old years ago!