Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Memorial Flight

On this date, 41 years ago, Dick Fraser was at the controls of a Beech H-18 airplane during final approach into Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin. The weather was harsh, but that was not news. The forecast he received before departing Cleveland called for freezing temps and mixed precipitation, but the boss had an important engagement that evening, and Dick was going to do his level best to get him there. Tragically, the forecast came true and got the best of the plane and pilot, which crashed into Lake Monona and killing all aboard except for one. Dick Fraser was my father, and he was one of the fatalities. The crash also changed the course of music history.

A couple of years ago I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with master story teller P.W. Fenton, and I'm quite proud of the result. You can listen to my story as an episode of his podcast Digital Flotsam.

Over the years I've found ways to commemorate my father's memory, but today was the first time I had the chance to actually complete the flight by landing at Dane County Regional Airport - Truax Field. The weather was perfect and there was the added training benefit of flying and landing at a Class C airspace facility. The funny thing was that as a pilot maneuvering in controlled airspace, you're too focused on the task at hand to think about why it was you were flying in the first place. But as I completed my landing and takeoff and was climbing out, I looked over to Lake Monona off to my front right and gave a wave.

Mission complete.

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