A high flying birthday for one RiverWoods resident
RiverWoods resident Bill Romaine celebrated his 94th birthday by going out to Hampton Airfield to make a flight where he has been flying a light plane since he moved to RiverWoods. Bill is no longer allowed to solo, so he flies with an instructor, Bob, as co-pilot. However Bill does do all the flying from takeoff to landing.
Bill told me that he learned to fly sometime in the 80s when he built an ultralight with a one cylinder engine. To hear Bill tell it he learned to fly at the Minute Man Airfield in Stow Mass. by “Crow Hopping” his ultralight down the runway, much to the consternation of the man who sold him the kit, until he got the hang of it and finally made a flight around the airport, and in his words, somehow landed. Later he purchased an ultralight with a bigger engine and flew it a great deal.
A pilot’s license was not required to fly the ultralight. However, Bill wanted to fly a regular airplane, so he took lessons there at the airport to obtain his pilot’s license. Then he bought a single engine high wing plane with a friend. In one of their adventures they flew across the US taking the southern route out. Once out west after visiting friends they flew up the west coast, turned east up the Columbia Valley and flew across the Rockies just under the cloud cover. This required flying in between the mountains up the valleys until they reached Missoula, Montana.. They would land every two to four hours to refuel and reinvigorate for the onward journey. I gather the flight across the Rockies was a bit longer than normal and a bit "hairy". He still has his pilot's license.
On this day, Bill flew a German built CTLS manufactured by Flight Design GMBH. The CTLS is the newest evolutionary model of the Flight Design CT line of aircraft. Longer, lower and sleeker, the CTLS was designed specifically for the Light-Sport category. It is classified as a Light Sport/Acrobatic airplane.
The plane is a single engine airplane; a two seater plane where the pilot and instructor sit side by side. The plane has a stick control like early aircraft that Bill says he likes much better than the now more common yoke with a control wheel.
What a thrill it was to see Bill take off, and fly off into the yonder.
You can get a Bill point of view in the video below. This is a video of a Flight Design CLTS taking off and making touch and go landings.
The photos I took are of Bill, Bob, his instructor co-pilot, and the take off in a sequence of photos until he flies off on his Birthday jaunt in the sky. In some of the photos during and after take off I have further cropped the photos to enlarge the image so you can see Bill at the controls in flight.