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Thread: Runway Dust: Airport Adventures during the Fabulous Fifties

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    619

    Default Runway Dust: Airport Adventures during the Fabulous Fifties

    I would like to pass on a great book for members to read about Piper Cub J-3 adventures from the Utah Central airport. Back in 2011 I had a great phone conversation with the author Charles, Ron, Furden. Charles sent me a copy when it was still a manuscript, (before publishing) and really enjoyed reading this book. Charles makes the reader feel that you are right beside him. Anyone that enjoys aviation stories will love this book.

    One can purchase this book on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Runway-Dust-Ai...ds=runway+dust

    Dozens of interesting stories that should have been told are slowly being lost in the dust of hundreds of small airports that once dotted the country. Thousands of aspiring young airmen lived an adventure while learning to fly from these little dirt fields of yesterday. Once their stories were exchanged at gatherings, bragged about between friends and just fondly remembered. But aginst the backdrop of big concrete airports and the power and technology of the new generations of aircraft, the stories seemed to have drifted into the shadows. A new book, "Runway Dust, Airport Adventures During the Fabulous Fifties," by Charles R. Furden sheds some light on those memorable years. During the era of small Ma and Pa airports, one young teen, Charles R, or "Ron" as he is known in the book, hired on as a Line Boy at a small flying school based at Utah Central airport that was then located a few miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The runways were dirt and the aircraft parking areas were covered with weeds. Most of the aircraft were the older models dragging around little tail wheels. But for whatever reasons, the airport seemed to have more than its fair share of customers and flying activities. The story follows Ron through the various aspects of his duties while he meets and pals with a variety of people who worked at or occasioned the airport. The instructors, they had dreams of landing a job with some big airline. His fellow workers, the people in the shop and line workers, they were also hoping to find their wings. They all had their dreams, some would go on and others would find directions not then seen. The weekend gentleman pilots who came from all walks of life were there just to satisfy their love of aviation. Then there were the old timers, most had been in aviation since almost it's beginning and thurning their back on what they loved was something they never considered. Their chest grew an inch whenever they heard themselves being referred to as airport bums. Ron came to know all of these people as they spent time working, joking and hanging around together. He also had the oportunity to fly the now legendary Piper Cub. An aircraft, like its contemporary, Ford's Model A, was the subject of many humorous stories. Ron would add a few memorable lines to the list. The airport's runways were narrow, often muddy and occasionally covered with snow. For green student pilots, there were adventures at every turn. There was the hangar's old wood stove where Ron and fellow workers spent time telling jokes and laughing their way into the evening. Sometimes a teen thinks the present will also be part of the future and nothing will really change, but times do change. After a time, Ron could see that aviation was progressing all around his little airport while his was holding in time. It was also obvious that small airports like his and the type of flying he was enjoying was coming to an end. There was a sadness to see it go, but he felt some comfort in the fact that he was deeply involved in the tail end of an historic era. "Runway Dust" is a collection of stories, happenings and everyday activities at Ron's and probably many similar airports during those years. The author has a rare ability to pass on to his readers the feelings, sights and sounds of those days of long ago. "Runway Dust, Airport Adventures During the Fabulous Fifties" is a reading experience that goes way beyond the scanning of a page. It is unique, it stands alone and it's a story never before told. If you have ever wondered why people love aircraft and flight, "Runway Dust" will tell you why.

    This for reading this, Peter Lubig
    Previous SW President 2011-2013

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Petal
    Posts
    9

    Default Lost in the Dust II

    Why don't we all write our own "Lost In The Dust"? I've got a million stories of when I was an airport bum back in the late forties and early fifties.

    A good example: Right about the time the Vagabond came out, my boss, Cecil Boone of Sandrock Airport, Fayetteville, NC, bought one. One day he says to me, "Hey kid, you've been hanging around here long enough, it's about time you learned to fly. Go out and get Pat to give you an hour dual in the Vagabond." Pat was one of the mechanics, but a good pilot. I don't know if he had a CFI or not, but what the heck, who cared? We gaet the Vagabond out and I clammer aboard. Pat props me off and hops in too and off we go to the end of the runway. Now you talk about dirt fields, we didn't know what sod was, it was just sand.

    We get to the end of the runway and Pat says, " Well are we going to burn this thing up or are we going flying?" I lined up with the runway and poured the chili to her and away we go. Things at the very on-sought weren't going very well, I could keep 'er straight down the runway. She'd take off to the left, and I'd cob all the right rudder into her I could to straighten her out, then she'd head to the right. We were doing a great job of making "S" turns down the runway. Well it finally got so bad and I was so mortified with fear I yanked the throttle off and bring her to a juddering stop, and all this time, Pat's sitting over there laughing so hard I thought he would lose his breath.

    I was dumbfounded. I had no idea why this thing had acted that way. I had taxied all the planes on the field, Cubs, Clippers, Fairchield 24, a Stereman, BT-13's and T-6's and a Waco cabin or two. I had never had an airplane react the way this little critter did.

    I taxied back down to the end of the runway again, meanwhile, Pat managed to regain his composure and we lined up once again. This time I decided to add throttle very slowly and at the same time pay more attention to directional control. Well it seemed like a good plan and things were progressing very nicely. I continued to add power at the same time keeping her straight. But as luck (or ignorance) would have it, things started to diverge once again and I could not keep her straight, but this time I said to myself, maybe I can get this thing in the air before I wreck it, so I continued. We were up on one wheel and then the next. It was getting to be pretty wild, and just like before in stark terror, I yanked the throttle closed and came juddering to a stop, sideways. While Pat's going through his laughing routine, I realized something was wrong, I couldn't steer the airplane. We shut her done and got out only to discover I had broken the tail wheel spring slam off the airplane. We had to pick the tail up and carry it all the way back across the field.

    So much for my first hour of dual. I never got off the ground and I broke the airplane in the process.

    Cheers, Y'all
    Chuck Gruby

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Shanty Bay, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    619

    Default

    Great story Chuck

    Stories like this are great to read, adventures of others.

    Peter
    Previous SW President 2011-2013

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Grain Valley, MO
    Posts
    143

    Default

    Thank you, Peter, for the heads up on a great book. I'm going to try and get it. It sounds like a good read.
    Dan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Grain Valley, MO
    Posts
    143

    Default

    Received the book today. I've already read a fourth of it. Very entertaining.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Henry, TN 38231
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Found that book on Kindle a while back -- an excellent reminiscence of flying in the high desert country in the '60's. Some of my earliest flying was out of the old KLGU airport (Logan, UT) in '62. At the time we could rent a J-3 there for $7.50/hr - wet. For two bucks each we could get a .6/hr rental; enough to each make either a coupl'a T&Gs or one stall/spin recovery - pilot's choice. That was a weekend's entertainment twice a month for two broke college kids. The other two weekends were devoted to gurls - much more expensive and usually a lot less exciting.

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