A little about me !

Lewiston, Maine is my home town and that is where I grew up so, that makes me a genuine “Maniac! At the ripe old age of 18yrs a slick talking recruiter using statements like “you’ll get to see the world” and once you finish boot camp you’ll be one the few and proud Marines and nobody will be able to take that away from you. I became a part of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, USMC for short. That was an exciting and very interesting four years for me and was also my initial exposure to aviation. I served as crew on transport helicopters.

After my discharge I settled in South central Pennsylvania (Altoona) and as soon as I got a job I started taking flying lessons with an Instructor by the name of George Donnelly. George was an ex Army Air Corps WWII vet and after that an airshow pilot. George was a free lance instructor owned a J3 Cub which he kept at a grass strip in Williamsburg, Pa. Quite often we flew to an airport in Mt Union for training because of clear approaches to the cinder runway there. My first solo was at Mt Union on July 22, 1962 after 12 hrs of dual. I went on to get my Private license and flew the J3 and a Stinson for a while. For about 13 years I went without flying due to the responsibilities of having a young family and a lack of funds for such frivolous activity. When I got back into flying there was still a little time left for me to take advantage of the GI bill to work on a commercial/instrument license so I put your tax dollars to work while I did that. My cost was 10% you guys paid the 90%. Thanks! Due to some personal problems I didn’t finish that course. In 1990 after a long struggle and many dollars taking lessons from another free lancer for a long time, I passed my instrument checkride. Between that time and 1993 I completed my commercial and flight instructor ratings. Many more dollars! As an instructor I worked at Blue Knob Valley Airport in Duncansville, Pa. This was a wonderful gravel strip with rising terrain on one end of the runway and falling terrain on the other end. I soloed 8 people there and five of them went on to get their license. I also did some instructing for an FBO at the Altoona airport in Martinsburg, Pa and soloed one student there. Since 1999 when my wife, Loretta and I moved to Titusville I’ve been doing mostly flight reviews and some recurrency type training. Recently I took on a private pilot student who owns a C152. Also I’ve done one Pinch Hitter type course with the wife of one of the pilots at Dunn.

In 1984 I bought a 1966 Cessna Skyhawk, N3652L, and have owned it ever since. The Skyhawk is hangared at Dunn Airpark in Titusville, Fl. When ever I can come up with enough money to buy some motion lotion (avgas) for her we fly to pancake breakfasts and punch holes in the sky just for fun!

In the 90s I was president of chapter 400 in Pennsylvania for a couple of terms. Since then, since about 1996 I was newsletter editor for that chapter and since 1999 when Loretta and I moved to Titusville I’ve been the newsletter editor for the chapter’s Smilin ‘Jack monthly newsletter.

That’s my story and I’m stickin to it. Ayep!

Larry Gilbert