Runabouts to Rockets
Runabouts to Rockets
Volume 39 #1
2020 it is! Never thought I’d see the year appear. Waiting anxiously for February 20th- then it will be 2-20-2020. 20/20 for most people refers to vision; of course my vision has not been 20/20 since I was in high school. That stopped being important when I realized I did not want to be an Air Force pilot. The decision was easier when my vision had deteriorated to 20/30 while in military college but it was a major decision for me to reach during the Vietnam era. Since pilots were needed so badly for the Vietnam conflict I had to go to a Colonel’s waiver board; they gave me up to 5 years to go to pilot training if my other plans did not work out (they did). My dad had been a B-17 pilot over Germany in the 8th Air Force in WW2. Of course I respected the fact that he had been willing to do that (the greatest generation- surviving the depression, WW2, Korea and me). The mortality rate for B-17 pilots was staggering; I did not appreciate how much until recently. The mortality risk did not play into my decision then since at that age we think we are all indestructible anyway.
Naturally in our hobby the most important visual issue has to do with passing the driver’s test for our driver’s license. The first one was always the most important one, too. While my father was in the Air Force we were stationed in Massachusetts and the driver’s age was 17 when I was 16. You could get a driver’s permit at 16 ½ with driver’s education. I had pleaded with no avail to get my driver’s license at 14 in Texas using my aunt’s address but I was just whistling Dixie. I had learned to drive on my uncle’s farm in Illinois on his “field cars”; I really liked the standard transmissions with three on the tree. My uncle would buy cars for 10-25 dollars and never license them or insure them and use them in the fields or farm roads. Was a great time to be alive; things were so much simpler. Nowadays for me the major problem is finding the eye machine to look into (not a good sign). Used to be so easy to just memorize the eye chart to pass. Some clever person figured that one out though and here we are. Seeing is believing. The other down side is that now my driver’s license has to be renewed more often due to age. So much for age just being a number and what about “you are only as old as you feel”?
The Holidays are over and we have entered into the dark days of winter with nothing to look forward to until President’s day (really)? I really live for that one. Liked it better when it was just for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln but time marches on. Hard to believe I am supposed to be celebrating Warren Harding or Andrew Johnson! Actually there is Martin Luther King Day and Valentine’s Day before President’s Day which does put a positive spin on the early year. Here’s hoping you have received all your wishes from the Holidays and that your new year’s resolutions include a trip to Lansing this summer for the NAOC Meet.
—Rick Winn (#914)