|Curtiss Robin, introduced in 1928. (Photo source Airliners.net)|
In the morning, I shall be heading back to Oklahoma for the first time in close to three decades, and changing planes at O'Hare.
Oklahoma is not only one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's all time great Broadway musicals. Oklahoma is also a state that used to be Indian Territory (that was its name), a major source of wheat and fossilized energy, and the home of some 3.8 million fine residents of America's Heartland.
Back in 1975 and '76, I worked about half of my year in Tulsa and in southeastern Oklahoma, when I was with the ICM Corporation's subsidiaries called Coal Reclamation Company and Arkoma Coal. We had projects going in Pennsylvania and in the region around Poteau, OK. As it happened, I took my flying lessons at both ends of that axis.
Ground school I took at Allegheny County Community College in Pittsburgh, and I did my primary flight training in an all-metal Cessna 140A with CFI Stan Siggins at Finleyville Airport, a leveled hilltop on his farm south of Pittsburgh.
|1950 Cessna 140A|
Then, while working in Oklahoma, I started spending my evenings taking lessons in a Cessna 152 at the Cessna Pilot Center at Tulsa International Airport.
Then came that evening in Tulsa when, having logged the required 50+ hours as a student pilot, I took my FAA check ride, and got my private license. After we landed, as I walked out to my car, I looked up at a darkening Oklahoma sky, where a thunderstorm was starting to roil the sunset-edged cumulous clouds, and told Carol Brueggeman McDougall, "Mom, I made it!"