Flying With Dad: Bob's Memories

Bob's story as told to AOPA.


Photo courtesy of Bob Ibanez (Bob and his Dad Henry in a TWA Boeing 747 taken on a father son trip to Paris, France)

My Dad started flying in the late 1930's in Cubs and later was a dispatcher and weatherman with Pan Am in Alaska and South America during WW II. His last job with the airlines was in the mid-1950s flying right seat in DC-3's for Mohawk Airlines, which remains in American Airlines with after all the many mergers over the years. license

I have fond memories of flying with him, out of the Bayport Aerodrome on Long Island NY, when he would put me in the back seat of his J-2 40hp Cub so he could fly from the front seat in the late 1940's. A few years later he introduced me to sailplanes out of that same airport. 

His love for flying was passed onto me when I was young. I got my first job at the age14 as a line boy during my summers and weekends in my high school years at the Deer Park Airport on Long Island NY. They paid
me $1.00 per hour which I banked with the flight school for flight instruction. I soloed on my 16th birthday and kept acquiring my advanced licenses as my age and money would allow, eventually working my way through college as a flight instructor and tow pilot at the Bayport Aerodrome on Long Island. 

My dad had been overseas when I soloed, so I couldn't wait to fly him when he returned that next winter. It had snowed the night before we were going to fly. Except for the snow on the runway it was a beautiful day to fly.  My dad was somewhat hesitant to fly with the snow on the runway. I told him that I had been waiting to take him flying since I soloed last June. He said, "son, there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old bold pilots". My response was, ah come on dad it's a beautiful day for me to take you flying. 

I was surprised how long our take off run was and even more surprised at the lack of height we had clearing the tree tops at the end of the runway. I thought to myself, what was it that dad said about, "old pilots and bold pilots"! I never forgot those words of wisdom and many others he taught me over the years and I used them many times to guide me to have an accident free 50 plus years of a flying career and still fly today. 

Thanks for the memories Dad! I love you!

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