Yours truly had both his son, Eric, and daughter, Catherine, solo on their fourteenth (14) birthdays. It was in a sailplane, making it a legal event. (One must be 16 to solo a powered aircraft.)
I did this, based upon my own experience soloing an airplane (not a glider), back in 1944, when I was 15 (I’d fibbed about my age), and while the comparative social chaos of WWII was still a convenient reality.
That kind of experience one doesn’t readily forget, it’s the kind that can easily etch into one’s mind a great emotional and joyous thrill, one that can also readily render one’s life forever – and beneficially – lifted.
I don’t know anyone who’s been privileged to have had this unique experience help shape their life who hasn’t felt changed for the better – – – from that day forward.
For some reason, one of the greatest and virtually universal personal changes wrought, is that of a significant upsurge in the soloing flight student’s self-image, and self-confidence. That, along with the sheer thrill from the immense sense of freedom in one’s hands, is unforgettable.
At the least, I felt obliged that my own children should have that same exhilarating adventure.
In any event, this (below) TEDx video event features a young lady, Leah Ochs, who was encouraged to make this University of Nevada presentation by one of our Nevada based FASF members, aviation authors, and one of our FASF news scouts, Tiffany Brown.
Tiffany’s own maternal grandmother, Trixie Ann Schubert, was an aviator, acclaimed journalist – and an active member of the 99’s, the International organization of women pilots – – – whose first president was Amelia Earhart.
Before her untimely death in 1965 at only 42, Trixie had been busily writing a new book,”WORLD FLIGHT,” the almost completed rough transcript of which was discovered in Tiffany’s mother’s attic. This unexpected family discovery instigated a new quest for Tiffany.
As she worked to piece together her grandmother’s manuscript, Ms. Brown began the tedious process that led to her own first published book. But, to learn more about that you’ll need to read that recently published work: “Fate on a Folded Wing.”
Surprisingly, I met Tiffany by way of having been a dear friend of that same grandmother, Trixie Ann Schubert, who tragically perished in a 1965 airplane crash, along with the internationally recognized globe-circling aviator, Joan Merriam Smith. This tragic accident that took these extraordinary young women’s lives is very much the topic of Tiffany’s recently published book. It helped her come to know her own grandmother, who had been killed many years before Tiffany was even born.
The extreme care with which Ms. Brown researched not just her own grandmother’s life, but that of Joan Merriam – and the events leading up to, and then after the test flight ended in the crash, is impressive. I read Tiffany’s new book when it was still fresh off the presses, and found it both fascinating – and almost impossible to put down. Like her own grandmother, a principal subject of the book itself, Tiffany is clearly a creative word-crafter in her own right.
The book has already garnered a five star rating on Amazon.
A major focus in Tiffany’s book, her grandmother, Trixie Ann, was an exceptionally gifted woman. Before her death in 1965, she had (and the following is a quote from Tiffany’s book) an amazingly varied career in writing: ” . . . editor of a weekly newspaper, radio announcer, news writer for The Milwaukee Journal, AM, FM and TV stations, an aviation columnist, and as a freelance correspondent in America, Europe, Asia and Africa.” Trixie had also raced internationally and in the famous All Women Transcontinental Air Race (popularly known as the “Powder Puff Derby”) here in the states.
Well over half a century later, thanks to the Internet, and long after Trixie Ann had died, one of Trixie’s three children, Heidi (Schubert) Syslo (who I had last known as only a sub-teenager), and who I had not seen, nor heard anything about, since her mother’s death, suddenly and most serendipitously popped back into my life.
Heidi became an active member of the FASF.
She had grown up, married, and become a mother.
One of Heidi’s children was none other than, Tiffany Brown.
Tiffany’s own life exhibits some of the very traits that made her own grandmother such an extraordinarily talented and accomplished woman.
So, without further ado, let’s see why your daughter should learn to fly and airplane (12:09):
Remember: Audio turned on, and why not go to full screen to enjoy this short presentation?
Thanks for sharing, Ric! I’m so happy to have connected with you via the powers of the Internet.