Random Thoughts

Flying again

 ... short flying experiences.

by Marie Moreland

The day - was good with a fair wind and the sky clear. I rented a plane, a yellow cub to go flying for a half hour.

I took off, flew over to Revere Beach, did a couple figure 8's around the buoys in the ocean, followed by a quick trip to Melrose and circled over our house before coming back to the airport.

I selected my landing spot, cut my motor and made a rectangular downward approach to the field. The wheels would not touch the ground. I could not land! I took off again made another approach and still could not make the plane land. Again I climbed back up in the air. This time I was determine to get the plane down. I selected the end of the runway and made my approach. The wheels hit the end of the runway but the plane kept rolling. The tail would not go down. I knew there was a stone wall at the other end of the field. Determine to stop, I pushed the right rudder hard and moved my stick to the left (no wheels in the early days), the plane turned a sharp right bending the tip of the right wing. Now I could taxi to the line.

Suddenly from out of nowhere my instructor came running and shouting,"Why didn't you look at the wind sock?" The wind had shifted to the east. I was trying to land the plane downwind!

Everyone came bouncing around me as I climbed out of the plane all shouting and scolding,"You could have kill yourself, never mind the damage to the plane." Well, I learned my lesson to be alert to the wind sock when planning a landing and for take-offs, too.

**********


Another lovely day with the weather just right for flying, I rented a plane. I took off and flew over the Revere coastline and decided to go a little further along the coast.

The Boston Airport was in view when suddenly I noticed an American Airline plane bearing down on me. So it seemed. Turning inland and heading toward my own airport, the airliner was gaining on me, as though my plane was being drawn to it. When you are on the ground you can gauge your speed but in the air somehow you cannot. Finally I got away from the airliner as my airport appeared in the distance. I made a rectangular pattern and happily set my wheels down on the ground. This was one time I was glad to get out and pay for my flight time.

**********


The day when I was twenty-one I flew a plane with one of the instructors to Orange, Massachusetts, which was to be our new location for basic training for Tuft College students for the service.  This was during World War II, all small airplanes and private planes had to move inland fifty miles.

On landing at Orange, it was only a bare field with one cabin. The cabin was the office where I was to work. I had the job of keeping the flight schedules and the students flight reports which were sent to Washington. This was to be an interesting job.

This was thrilling to me, flying fifty miles or more, with my suitcase in another plane with office supplies and records.

All of us stayed at the hotel in Athol, the next town to Orange. The students and the staff were registered for all the rooms on the second floor.

While working at the airport, I heard and saw the students with the drill marching between their flying lessons. Every weekend I would go home to Boston by train and come back on Monday. One of the staff members would pick me up at the station.

Sometimes one of the instructors would take me for a flight. The horizons were all trees, few houses. I missed the ocean and our own pretty towns. It was then I felt homesick.

Finally, I had to return home, my mother had pneumonia. Meanwhile when I was taking care of her, the airplanes, students and employees transferred to Concord, New Hampshire. As soon as she was well enough, I was able to take the train to Concord and resume my job at the airport where flight training for the service continued.

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One more story. When it snows in Concord, it stays. All the planes had to have skis instead of wheels. Flight training had to be continued. Also the students had to put in night flying time.

One of the instructors asked me if I would like to take a flight at night, I was delighted! Civilians were not allowed to fly during the war time. However, I could go up as an observer but I could not log the time in my logbook.

It was like a dream, the snow reflected the lights so that they looked like sparkling stars. It was beautiful flying at night especially with the ground covered with snow, and in the distance the mountains loomed up framing the background.

Coming in for a landing, the pilot asked me if I would like to land the plane with his instructions? Oh yes, I would!  We made our pattern, I cut the motor and glided downward. The landing was smooth as we glided along the runway. How nice it was ... much better than wheels. I appreciated having the opportunity to take part in landing on snow with skis.


Below are a few photos taken while Marie was undergoing pilot training Sept 4, 1939 to Nov 7, 1943.
Marie got her Private license Feb 4, 1942 and Radio license Jan 19, 1944.


Click on image for larger view

Pilot training class Concord N.H. Aircraft type used in training - Aeroncar Marie Macguire (Moreland) and Propwash Instructors Ruth Hamilton and Ed Harrigan Students waiting their turn to fly.

Photo #1 -Ladies in front row.
Rita Don - Phyllis Folson - Guila Kenney - Gladys Hamilton - Priscilla Ashton - Marie Macguire - Marion McGrail - Mrs Sandt - Wilnelmina Holmes - Emma Longfellow

May 7, 2004


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