I was born on February 1, 1946, in Lake Wales, FL as a third generation Polk County native. Most of my early years were spent in Miami, as my father was based there with Eastern Airlines. Airplanes were a part of my life as my dad and most of our friends had instructed for John Paul Riddle at the #5 British Flight Training School in Clewiston, FL during WWII.
The first airplane ride that I can remember was in a J-3 Cub with my father when I was about 5 years old. Having grown up in the environment that I did, I flew many different types of airplanes before I was old enough to be legal. In the 50’s and early 60’s we had a rag wing Cessna 170 and became accustomed to the convenience of having an airplane.
My brother and I started flying model airplanes in the mid-50’s and competed successfully on the national level mostly in control line speed events. I held the AMA Senior C and Jet speed national records at one time. In the mid-60’s I graduated from model airplanes to SCCA sports car racing, starting with a Porsche Speedster. Moving to an MGB, I qualified for the National Championships in both 1973 and 1978.
After working at Citrus World and later Tropicana and raising two beautiful daughters, I got back into flying in 1999, and had various flying jobs from flying paychecks at night, to dropping sterile med-flys over citrus groves as well as normal passenger related flights.
I first flew a seaplane in Alaska in a friend’s Super Cub on Edo 2000’s. I got my ASES rating there in 2014 and 2015. If you haven’t done it, you owe it to yourself to fly in Alaska!!
My longest floatplane trip was bringing the Wag-A-Bond back from Maine to Florida in 2017 (see first picture below). A lot of planning and some really great people made the trip on straight floats a trip to remember!! It is great getting to know the floatplane community.
I have approximately 6500 total hours but only about 40 or so on floats, so I am still learning a lot. My ratings are Commercial ASEL and SES, Multi engine ATP, Citation CE500 type rating, Advanced Ground Instructor, and A&P Mechanic.
I hope to get better acquainted with everyone at future splash-ins and events.
Our old DPE in Sarasota (also an ex-Eastern Captain) gave me my favorite flight saying: When night flying and the engine quits, turn on the landing light. If you don’t like what you see, turn the light off!!