Flying With Dad: Patricia's Memories

Patricia's story as told to AOPA.

Patricia Smart
Photo courtesy of Patricia Smart

Dad, Ernest Daniel Boudreau born in Rhode Island served as WW2 infantry scout in Italy and France. A quiet gentle man came to visit me in Michigan in 1972. 

As a young married girl in 1969, I left for Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Ohio, with a naval officer and taught elementary children in each state finally settling in Mt Clemens, Michigan. The then husband had hit his head in the Mooney cabin on an instrument approach on a rainy night into Buffalo and I was urged to know how to put the plane down. Dad knew I was learning but didn't know I had finished primary training and drove out to see me. I bought a 7000$ American Yankee AA1, a 2 seater bubble canopied 107 hsp plastic honeycombed aircraft for instrument training. 

Dad was my First Passenger in it other than an instructor and we just flew around locally until I couldn't stand the silence. Finally I asked ," How is it, Dad?" "Oh, I am I proud of you!" he said. Well, small words spoken softly were so greatly appreciated. Down on the ground we hugged.  

Being an elementary teacher I wrote a book for a sample about Proud Moments. Dad was my example for all the 3rd grade class that year who wrote wonderful stories for Their Dads. The little books were all handmade of cloth, paper and cardboard. I still have mine. 

Dad passed at 91 years old. But I have my photo of me at age 3 plunked on the wing of the T 6 trainer at Quonset Naval Air Station Providence Rhode Island with his image behind me. My hand is pointed toward the sky when I recognized that what I was sitting on was what was making that wonderful roaring sound in the sky above. It was Airport Days and Uncle Fred was a mechanic on the Mustangs. He and my Dad were both there with me that day.

Thanks for the memories Dad!

AOPA Member Products staff
AOPA Member Benefits Staff members takes great care to ensure every product we provide is valuable, relevant, and in the best interests of our members.

Related Articles