Rotary Club takes to the sky with aviation program

August 30, 2000
Santa Paula News
All you ever wanted to know about aviation was the topic for members of the Santa Paula Rotary Club when two meetings featured flyers and their experiences. The meetings, held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport, were a confirmation of how important aviation is to the area as well as those flyers who utilize the airport, famous as the Antique Aircraft Capital of the World.Mitch Stone, a newly licensed pilot, was the moderator of the talks that featured the novice to the seasoned pilot.“Seventy-five percent of the population at one time or another has wanted to learn to fly,” said Stone, who confessed that although he first flew at age 16, he found he still had “aviation disease. . .you always look up when you hear a plane.”When Rotary meetings were moved to Logsdon’s about two years ago, Stone said spent a lot of time looking out the window at the airport; now he owns a Cessna 172.Stone had a list of aviation related jokes, sayings and facts that were suitable for introducing the next speaker, an “aviation living legend,” Herb Gould, who flew during World War II as an instructor and later became an airline pilot.Gould said he did things backwards: “I first bought an airplane and then learned to fly,” a 40 horsepower 1937 Taylor Craft that required hand cranking and lacked brakes.“I’d take off at 60 mph, fly at 60 mph and land at 60 mph,” said Gould, who got his pilot’s license at age 38.
Santa Paula native Henry Vega used to ride a bike to the airport and “sit there gawking” at the airplanes, and finally last year started to learn to fly. “I remember certain days. . .I started Aug. 23 and soloed Jan. 31st,” said Vega.Vega said his first solo landing was proving harrowing, but “my training kicked in and I thought, stupid, go around,” and try again.Ramsey Jay told of his experiences as a student pilot and what prompted him to learn. “I wish I had some great revelation, but it was simply a fun thing to do, an adventure to try something new and different.”In addition, flying can be a practical and superior form of transportation, as well as awe-inspiring: “One of my most memorable moments was my first night flight when I landed solo with lights on each side of me. . .it was really a beautiful sight,” said Jay.William Greene has been flying for decades after starting over the “frozen hills and rivers” of Minnesota. “As a kid I always had an interest. . .I’ve watched planes my whole life,” he noted. The desire was cemented in the 9th grade when Greene first started lessons.Eventually, Greene and a fellow student purchased a plane and in 1971 he upgraded to a Cessna 172: “I still have it,” and he enjoys flying cross-country.

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