The Earl E. Myers Story
Page 3 of 3 Pages
Editor's Note: Here is
I am Kipp, Earl’s youngest son. I am a half brother to Steve, Ann, and Chris mentioned in the earlier chapters. I would like to contribute a bit about growing up with My Father who is my major inspiration in my life path and the pursuit of my dreams.
I was born In July Of 1974 in Geneva Switzerland. My Father was in Europe flying Learjets and my Mother was also accompanying him. My Father always said I saw the beauty of the Swiss Alps and sprung to life. I would have to agree since I was 4 weeks premature and barely survived. But thanks to the good doctors and the incubator and my parent’s prayers I am here today. I have a picture of myself in the first few days of my life my father is standing there with a smile holding me in the palm of his hand. I only weighed about 4 pounds.
I feel with that touch and the hereditary gumption it takes to want to fly airplanes is what sparked me to pursue a career in flying now. The dream was there but remained dormant until 1996 when I traveled to Alaska to work for the summer loading bags onto the arriving aircraft and turning them around for the next leg of their journey. I also worked helping out with the C-130 Hercules for a cargo airline. I received an opportunity to take a flight to a Gold mine in the interior of the Alaska wilderness. Here we landed on a dirt strip carved into the top of a plateau. I had been granted a few minutes in the Left Seat and that was the catalyst that gave me the desire to pursue a private pilots license. This would allow me to make an educated decision whether or not flying was for me. However this wasn’t my first experience at the controls of an airplane, I had been in the Left seat of a Learjet on my Dads lap (see attachment in short stories page of the RB-29 website) and I had the bug then but I was only seven years old at the time. 14 years passed until I once again was reunited with the passion at a point in my life where I could act upon it.
Some of my earliest memories were walking around the Learjet factory with my Father in Wichita, Kansas. I was there many times from the ages of 5-10. I would remember holding my fathers hand as we walked across the glossy white hangar floors meeting all of his friends, coworkers and acquaintances. He always had a great charisma and would make people laugh. Every time we walked into a new area I would remember my father saying his greetings and then a burst of joy and laughter would erupt. I had also observed him in serious business manner at times, addressing his copilots and giving them fueling or flight planning instructions. I remember looking at these awesome pieces of machinery all polished and shiny with sheer perfection in the curves of its fuselage. To this day the Learjet is my favorite style of civilian aircraft out there. My Father would take me inside and the smell of new leather would permeate the cabin. I remember how crisp and clean the carpets and seats were. I would look in the front inside the cockpit and be amazed and overwhelmed at the same time at all of the gauges, knobs and instruments that he would make sure were set just right. He would even turn on the tower frequency for me every now and then and let me listen to the transmissions of daily operations. I will never forget when he took me outside and around the front of the aircraft about 10 feet back from the black tipped nose (the weather radar). He would say to me “Now do you see the nose, now look back at the engines, those are the ears, and the windshield panels are the eyes. What does that look like to you,” and he said, “It looks like Mickey Mouse.” And he was right. I instantly saw the resemblance of my favorite cartoon character. To this day I still see those little ears and the nose on Learjets. I even purposefully walk around the front of a Lear parked on the ramp just to catch a glimpse of this image sometimes.
My Dad always knew what my favorite things were and found ways to make me smile. My last visit to him in December 2003 he made me my lifetime favorite Mickey Mouse pancakes comprised of a big circle with two little crispy circles for ears. Some things you just never get tired of. My Dad has always been a magnificent chef. He always did the cooking. He took great pride in his preparations. He made stews, meat loaf, the best biscuits and sausage gravy ever. Sometimes he would make a honey glazed Ham, and then made it into ham and bean soup a few days later. That of which became tastier everyday as the juices soaked in more. My favorite Dessert that he made were his cherry, or apple pies with the eyes and nose cut out lined with a cinnamon red hot smile topped with a scoop of vanilla Ice cream. I also have been inspired to do the cooking and take pleasure in making some of the recipes he has passed down to me.
He has also taught me through his own enthusiasm for life a passion to be a stronger person. He would do the little things that a Father does that mean so much. He would put me on his lap and we would drive around on a tractor or in his truck and he would let me steer with a watchful eye and quick reflexes. He instilled in me a confidence in my own coordination abilities. Even if I wasn’t really driving I thought I was and I did have a certain degree of control. When the circus came to town he would take me out early in the morning to watch the elephants pull up the tents with ropes strapped to their backs. Later in life when I wanted to learn how to surf he would drive me 35 minutes to the beach and wait for me for a couple of hours and even drive down the beach to keep up with me as I would drift with the current for several miles. I would not be as well rounded as I am today without his dedication to my progression in everything that I did.
Through my Fathers passion and dedication to his career I have been afforded the opportunity to see many parts of the world and accumulate many adventurous stories. From bouncing around in a baby chair in Kuwait city, or riding my Big Wheel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to boating on the Amazon River. We all saw large Anacondas, Toucans and even hiked in to visit a real Witch Doctor with an entire collection of Jars of herbal remedies for many common ailments. I even learned to speak Spanish when my mother and I lived with him in Culiacan, Mexico. Once we took a trip to Hawaii by Military Transport. He took me to the back to watch an F4 being refueled in midair over the Great Pacific Ocean. I even had the privilege to meet other aviation heroes and pioneers that he knew. One of them being Fred E Weick, an aviation engineer who invented the tricycle landing gear, and the ercoupe, among hundreds of other accomplishments. And even modern day pioneers such as the astronauts, as my father would organize bus tours to see the shuttle launches and landings. But the details of those stories are too many and a tangent to the true agenda I have set forth in this installment.
Getting back on track I remember another great aviation moment when we were living in Culiacan, Mexico. We all went out to the edge of town to an airstrip awaiting my Fathers arrival. I caught a glimpse of the Learjet and I pointed it out to my mom. I was so happy to see that little white plane with red stripes in the distance. My Father had been away for a few days on a routine maintenance mission to Tucson, Arizona and I missed him greatly. I remember he came in real low and then the engines roared louder and the gear came up and he started accelerating very rapidly but he stayed low over the runway until the last 1000 feet of runway he pulled up very rapidly and at the time from my angle it looked near vertical but it was probably 20-30 degrees of pitch, he then went into a hard banked turn went way out, nearly out of sight. The roar of the engines and the whoosh of wind that was created got everyone excited and they started clapping and cheering. I wasn’t very happy and nearly started crying. I asked my Mom what happened, where is he going? I was worried I wanted to see my Daddy. She wasn’t too sure but she thought he was doing an aerobatic maneuver for the town to see. Well after she answered that I saw the sleek little jet turning in the pattern back to final approach and the gear was down this time and he remained slow until the moment of touchdown, I knew he touched down when I saw some dust and smoke kicked up in a whirlwind vortex. He slowly rolled to a stop taxied over to us and I heard the engines spool down. The door opened, the owners stepped out, then the copilot and I was eagerly awaiting my father’s appearance. I could see him in the front flipping switches putting the sunshades on and finishing a few logs and other activities pertaining to paperwork. Just a few minutes later he came out and greeted us. He gave my Mom and I a Big hug and then I asked him “Daddy was that a trick you pulled”. He laughed and said “Yes it was, but it was useful because I had to scare some cows off the end of the runway”. I just replied “Oh” with acknowledgement. Little did I know he was executing a grandiose go around.
I have always been amazed by all of his Flying adventures, some of them that are so outrageous no imagination could even fabricate them. I remember my Father telling me of flying through a solar eclipse where the darkness looked like a myopic wall that traveled so fast across the sky and they flew right through the shadow of the eclipse and it put such a chill on the airplane that it was hard to keep the aircraft warm on the remainder of their flight from Florida to the Midwest. After hearing that story many times I actually got to see a newspaper article printed about the eclipse which also included my fathers statement of that experience. I remember another time when he explained to me he was flying over central Florida on a clear night, pointing out the light of the cities below to his passengers and crew, the very moment a satellite carrying rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral that lit up the night sky and provided quite a show. I too have had a similar experience when I was flying over Prescott, Arizona teaching an instrument student when the controllers came on the radio and stated “Attention all aircraft A 747 heavy carrying the space shuttle is transiting the airspace. Use caution wake turbulence and maintain visual separation.” I told my student to take the view-limiting device off and look outside. We were less than 2 miles from one of the last piggyback space shuttle ferry flights ever. I usually bring a camera along and I reached into the back seat pulled out my video camera and began documenting this awesome spectacle. They were only 10,000 MSL and 5000 AGL. The timing of that moment was impeccable.
People would ask my Father if I was going to be a pilot and he would reply jokingly “I hope not. He should be a doctor or a lawyer.” Looking back at that comment today I prefer not to have a typical office. I enjoy flying airplanes. I get an opportunity to use my mental aptitude and combine that with my physical coordination to create a service to all sorts of people from all over the world. One reason is to impart my knowledge of flying to others so that they may enjoy the same thrills and responsibilities at the highest levels of safety. Another is to bring people together from point to point and to create a lasting impression on them that they will never forget. I will never forget what my father says why he enjoys flying so much. He states that “Every sunrise and every sunset every moonrise and moonset and cloud formation along with the dynamic winds and weather patterns are always creating new experiences and challenges that will never be exactly repeated.” The ephemeral nature of the environment we work in is what brings him such great pleasure.
I am currently a Multiengine and Instrument flight instructor in Van Nuys, California. I have just over 1500 hours flying experience and I am preparing for the Airline Transport Pilot Checkride. It is a mere sliver of time compared to the 41,000+ hours of experience that my father has but I am proud to follow along in his contrails. I love my job and the opportunities it presents, along with the really good people I meet. Subconsciously I may have in part taken up flying to find a bounteous connection with my Father. To learn more about how he lived his life and about all of the knowledge and skill that he holds. But consciously I know that the stories of great adventure and the journey to far away lands that seem to make the world a smaller place are just too exciting to resist. I look forward to a rewarding career ahead and I owe it to my father for being my mentor and hero.
Editor's Note: Since his Father's death, Kipp sent along this note with an attchment which reads:
Sung to the music of “Itazuke Tower”
Heavens Gates Tower - this is RB-29,
Editor's Note: For our viewers, as we close out this extended biography of the life of Earl and his family, I would like to offer the comments relating to Earl that were offered by his neighbors Roger, Cindy and Christina as he celebrated his 80th birthday. They read as follows:
We hope this Birthday Greeting finds you well and happy. We are so proud to count you among our acquaintance, and we hope you know that we consider you family. Especially during this time of international conflict, we want you to know how grateful we are for the commitment and sacrifice made by you and your comrades so that we may enjoy the life we lead in this great country. We are forever in your debt, and thankful for your leadership. We love you very much, Happy Birthday!
Roger, Cindy, and Christina”
Do you miss flying? Answer: I sure do!
Would you do it again if you had a chance? Answer: Without hesitation!
Closing Remarks from Earl:
“Life is like a journey taken on a plane with a pair of travellers at each window pane; I may sit beside you all the journey through, or I may sit elswhere, never knowing you; but if fate should mark me to sit by your side, let's be pleasant travellers - it's so short a ride.”
My sincere appreciation to Earl Myers for his patience in helping me document his remarkable life experience over a lifetime.
Can you imagine what sacrifices were made by Earl, and his family, that would permit him to log more than 41,000 flying hours? Can you imagine how many preflight, in-flight and post flight actions Earl had to perform with precision and accuracy to survive that many hours in the air? Can you imagine the sacrifices and challenges his family faced as they sweated out his departures and extended times away from home, performing his duties, while they pitched in, as a family, to keep the home fires burning?
The e-mails and phone conversations that Earl and I have exchanged in the last few years seem almost endless, but, to me, it was a joy and worthwhile challenge to work this documentation through to this ending, on this page.
Earl and his beloved companion, Winnie, celebrate Earl's 80th birthday at their Vero Beach home.
Earl and I have never met, face-to-face, yet, he, more than any other single person was my inspiration to develop this RB-29.net web site beyond my original plan to share the story of my own RB-29 crew. I sincerely hope that you, as viewers of our collection of stories and related images, find joy and satisfaction in the viewing as I have found joy and satisfaction in the doing.
On January 29, 2004, we received the
Another Brave Warrior has joined the
Steve, Pam, Ann, Chris, Kipp
Peace be with you, Earl, and all those
May the efforts of our Nation to be a constructive force in
Chuck Stone, Web Site Developer and Manager