Dick and a friend of his were there to pick up a new Hughes 269B helicopter and fly it back to Griffith, IN. This would be in the northwest corner of the state, just south of Gary, IN. It was a long flight over some pretty desolate areas of the country and I was able to share a few ideas with him on what would be the best route to take. Meanwhile I was waiting for another assignment from the company I worked for. Several cities were in the works for purchasing helicopters for their police departments. Getting government funding sometimes takes forever. On all the previous training programs, I was just winging the training and I tried to stay ahead a day or two without a written plan of action for training. So with all this time on my hands, I decided to write a helicopter pilot training syllabus specifically for police departments. This would include the selection of pilots, training and implementation of helicopter operations into each cities police department. Later on, this became a feather in my hat.
It was late in the summer the day I got the phone call from Dick Caldwell and he was offering me a position with his company. So shortly after, a plane ticket arrived and I was off to Chicago. Dick picked me up at the airport and I spent a couple days checking out their operation. The company was called G & N Aircraft. They were a reputable aircraft engine rebuilder and service center. They had recently made a bid to do the pilot training for the Gary, IN police department and also do the maintenance support. A good friend of mine Arnold Heckendorn, who I had worked with at Comet Aviation in Kansas City, MO, was now a Hughes Helicopter sales representative and was living nearby, just outside of Chicago. So he and Dick were encouraging me to come on board and do the training. I must say, that looking at the Midwest landscapes again, really swayed my decision. Also the company was owned by Paul Goldsmith a former Indy car driver and Ray Nichols who had been involved in NASCAR for many years. These two men were still heading up the Chrysler program for NASCAR and they were active in racing in both Winston Cup and Busch NASCAR racing. I had always had an interest in automobile racing and this would be a chance to be involved with something new. I returned to California to discuss the offer with my wife. I would be doing the same kind of work, but in a different part of the country. So, here I go again. These relocation's were not just a suitcase and few extra things, I was moving a whole house full of furniture and all our belongings, every time. I had an old player piano that we bought in Little Rock, AR that had more miles on it than my car.
We arrived back in Indiana in November and the first snow began to fall to the ground. They always say, you should never relocate in the winter months. Now I know why. Again, finding a place to live was next to impossible. My wife, daughter(age 2) and I were living at the Holiday Inn and we were going on a couple weeks, with no hope of an apartment or house for rent. I was checking the papers everyday and phoning every ad, only to find out that it was going to be more difficult than I thought. Meanwhile I am trying to get established with my new job and also keeping my family secure at the hotel. One night I was asked to attend a company meeting over at the hanger. This was usually done after working hours, so after dinner I drove over to the hangar at the Griffith airport. During the course of the meeting a phone call from the Cessna Dealer at Valparaiso, IN came in, asking if there were any pilots available to ferry several new airplanes to an airport over in Illinois. It seems that earlier in the day, these aircraft had been flown from Wichita, KS on their way to the dealer just north of Chicago, but weather forced them to put down at Valparaiso. The ferry pilots elected to leave the aircraft and return to the Cessna plant in Kansas. There were about ten aircraft in all and I was asked to ferry one of the new airplanes over to a small airport north of Chicago. Because I was not current in fixed wing aircraft (no recent flight time within the past 90 days) I respectfully asked that I not fly one of the airplanes. This was okay and I decided to at least ride along with one of the pilots. I
think in all there were seven pilots and ten aircraft, which meant a couple of guys would make two or
|CESSNA 182 SKYLANE|
|INSTRUMENT PANEL FOR CESSNA 182 SKYLANE|
|THIS IS HOW AN AIRPORT LOOKS AT NIGHT TO THE PILOT|
|SAFE ON THE GROUND, AT LAST!|