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Archive for Thursday, April 26, 2012

25 years ago: Local pilots plan reunion

April 26, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for April 26, 1987:

About 65 local and out-of-town pilots or former pilots had already made reservations for a reunion in the area. The get-together was for pilots who had flown out of Lawrence Municipal Airport during the previous decades. The group, spearheaded by Russ Bartley, Delbert Richardson, Bill Hudson, Jean Murphy, and Lee Zimmerman, was planning to have a social hour followed by a buffet dinner at the Flamingo Club. Richardson, 72, who was acknowledged as the oldest pilot still flying out of Lawrence, recalled having made his first acquaintance with airplanes and fliers as a child, when he would ride his pony to the former site of the airport at what is now 31st and Iowa. Later, he had received his first flying lesson from a fellow teenager in 1936. Russ Bartley remembered his first time in a plane, when as a child he had been given a ride by a pilot. "I couldn't see nothing except straight up," Bartley recalled, "but, oh, I was flying high." After learning to fly in the 1960s, Lee Zimmerman had flown to all out-of-town Kansas University football games and occasionally flew KU coaches on recruiting trips, he recalled. An early Cessna owned by Zimmerman had made local aviation history, in a way: "I think ours was the first airplane stolen from the Lawrence airport. That was back in 1973. It was brand new and we never got it back." The group also recalled that Jean Murphy had been one of the few licensed female pilots flying out of the Lawrence Municipal Airport in the 1960s.

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