Photo courtesy of Nancy Frankel Pierce
My mother (Betty Jane Frankel) told me about a million times with great pride that she had once soloed a plane but had to quit lessons because gas was scarce during World War II. My father (Don Frankel) was a pilot but ended his flying shortly after I was born because it was difficult for pilots to get life insurance in those days.
When I was little, any time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up received an enthusiastic response of "a glider pilot." Frankly, I have no idea where that came from.
There came a time when I was able to take lessons, and flying was everything I had ever hoped or dreamed it would be. A very long time after I got my private license I was offered the chance of a lifetime to buy the most amazing plane I had ever laid my eyes on. It is an EAA Grand Champion, and I have been its very proud owner for more than 30 years. But, when the offer was made, I did not have enough money to complete the purchase on my own. I called my parents, and my mother immediately suggested that she would loan me the majority of the shortage. My father and brother joined in, and I was able to complete the transaction. It took several years to pay off that debt, but I cheerfully made monthly payments until N14LB was 100% mine. Mom kept up with my flying and was always interested to hear about it.
My parents lived in southern Wisconsin, so I was able to visit them and Oshkosh (for EAA's annual convention) for years. Mom only flew with me once (in a Swift; my plane is a single-seater), but she supported my flying passion wholeheartedly.
Nancy Frankel Pierce