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Father and Son, Airplane to Airplane

About 40 minutes northwest of Houston is the suburb of Tomball, Texas. In the early 1970s, before Interstate 45 became five lanes, Tomball was a far-flung outpost with a population of fewer than 3,000 residents, a single traffic signal, and an airport named Hooks Field (DWH). ( More...

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Bob Kamman 30
If you read only one story here this month, make it this one.
Tim Reynolds 3
Michael Wise 14
What a good son you are.
James Simms 5
God Bless you & the memory of your late Father
What a moving well written poetic accounting of the theme we all long for, a bond in aviation with our family. You are a blessed son!
Julie Bossch 7
Great story!
ko25701 7
DWH was my home airport too back in the late 70s. Same story as the writer with my Dad being a pilot and inspired me to learn.
Such a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it with those who "fly" vicariously. I love everything about flying, planes, flight history, etc. Just never had the time or money to pursue a pilot's license. Now too old to do that, but do enjoy reading stories like this. Thanks again and "happy flying to all".
James Simms 6
Great story
Yes amazing story.
Many thanks to Mr Havlick for writing such a great story!
This story touched me, often things like for example an airplane play a big role in our life and are connected with deep feelings and emotions.
What a moment for your dad John and you ... thanks for sharing it with us
A really heart-warming story. A beautifhul example of filial piety. Respect to you and your father
These are the stories that truly make aviation a personal and special hobby. For those who have generations of pilots, you know how special it is to see your passion become a passion for your children and beyond and how special the memories are that you
ay have as well. Its why GA is more passion then hobby.
This story really warmed my heart!
My best compliments
david nateghi 4
John, I read this article and was completely blown away by the story. The article also brought back many memories of flying at DWH. I began as a lineboy and starting flying at age 17 (1973)for Seaback Aviation and and received my ATP there 4 years later (yes at 21). Anyway to hear that you were able to locate your fathers aircraft and was able to buy it back surprising him was absolutely amazing. For your dad to have been able to take that flight in 26J with you shortly before his passing will always hold a special place in your heart - such a memory. My condolences go out to you and your family on his passing, but what you were able to accomplish for him will be cherished forever. I am happy that you were able to find the aircraft, buy it, find your dads old logbook with the "special" entry and let him take that last flight. My best to you and your family.

David N.
[email protected]
Eddie Shafer 4
Wow! What a beautiful story and tribute to your Dad! Thanks for sharing this. I drove by Hooks twice a day for 25 years on my way to work. I will now look at it with a whole different lens.
Thank you very much for this beautiful story, full of emotions, that we now share with you.
Jason Kepler 7
My dad and I have been flying together since I was six days old over forty-two years ago. We have hundreds of hours together, mostly in his 182 and my Champ, and a fair amount of time flying next to each other in separate airplanes. Now Dad has a lot of brain issues and is in a wheelchair and doesn't think straight. He last flew himself three or four years ago. He probably shouldn't have been flying then, but we didn't realize the extent of what was going on. He still loves flying more than about anything else, but he has to rely on me to take him, and of course I don't have enough time to do it as often as I should. But we are planning to go this weekend. Probably just up to Knik Glacier, which we've done literally thousands of times before. But we'll get to do it together. Not sure when the last flight together will be, but I hope to have a lot of good ones before then. I do remember my last flights with both of my grandfathers, and they were special. My one grandfather that wasn't a pilot would go riding with Dad and me and we'd get back and he would say "That was the best flight I've ever been on." The thing is, he was right every time. Each of the times he flew with us, something really amazing happened or we saw something incredible, like when he and I were riding in the back of the 182 and both fell asleep as we were taking off, not knowing where we were headed. We both woke up over the Ruth Glacier on Mt. McKinley during a beautiful Spring evening. We looked at each other and laughed, realizing that we'd both been sleeping and woke up at the same time. It was a spectacular place to wake up. Dad flew around the bowl there for about 20 minutes and then pointed for Palmer and we both fell asleep again and didn't wake up until the wheels touched the pavement. It was the best nap ever.
Lindsay Laird 3
Tears in my eyes!
Mike Cates 3
I went to A&P school at DWH back in ‘91/‘92. I remember they had an old Convair that had been abandoned and it sat on the ramp over by our school.
Tim Reynolds 3
The story is inspirational to say the least. I’m in a similar position with my dad’s former C180. Would like to make it happen as you’ve described. Glad you were able to complete the circle with 26J. Thanks for sharing.
Harry Thomas 3
Best story I have read in a very long time!
Luis Montanez 3
I really connected with the story but, where's the Father and Son picture?! Was I the only one expecting one? :)

I learned to fly late in life (47), I never got a chance to take my Dad up. He was always adamant (OK, scared poopless!) of planes and heights but, he would have found the courage (not wanting to disappoint me) and he would have climbed on the right seat. (I often think about this while flying) We did share a similar connection as the mentioned over a boat.

This story goes to show people that, yes...a boat is a boat, a plane is a plane, a house is a house but, there are times, when they harvest memories, they are more than that! A lot more.
tam nelson 2
Thank you for a nostalgic story that had me thinking of my own Dad, a long time gone but not forgotten, and his Cessna.
Goneracin 2
What a great story!
Great story and memories last a lifetime, especially with your connection.
Jonathan Huls 2
I second, third, and umpteenth all the wonderful comments below. Thank you for sharing.
WhiteKnight77 2
This is a great story. Thanks for posting it.
What a great story! Made my eyes well up a bit. Thanks for sharing, Bryce!
Nice story Dave.
I really enjoyed the high-def photos of the airplane, especially given that the word "Airplane: is mentioned twice in the HEADLINE. Wow! Those photos of that 1966 Piper Cherokee are FANTASTIC!
Gotta luv that 1966 Piper PA–28-180C Cherokee... It looks gorgeous!
Oh what a wonder story! Heartfelt.
Bryan Samson 2
Fantastic and uplifting bitter-sweet story! Thanks for sharing
Great story!
John Oas 2
A moving account about how the love of aviation binds us together. I lived on Galveston Island for years during the 80’s and wished I had known Matagorda Island had an airstrip (how awesome). A warm and loving tribute to your dad.
That's a great and inspiring story. I'm based in Sydney, to which the writer refers. I was fortunate to be able to purchase a 1964 model PA30 just last year, with which my father had a personal connection.
A Great Story filled with fond memories...
Well, that was just a speck of dust that blew right into my eye there...


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