Dover’s First Aero Club

by Harry Heist

This story is from a firsthand account. It is not copyrighted unless noted but we request anyone using this for other than personal use to credit the author and the museum.
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I am the Son of Lt. Col. John R. Tracy. In 1954, I was six years old when my family arrived at Dover AFB from Kadena AFB on Okinawa. My Dad was flying C-54’s but quickly transitioned to C-124’s and then C-133’s retiring in 1966. My love for aircraft and flying has never declined from my days as a young boy sitting in the family car at the end of the road next to the old MARS station watching my Father taxi to the active for his departure! I can still hear the screeching of the brakes on “Old Shaky” that did so no matter how gently they were applied. A quick wave to the crew member scanning from the bubble and with a mighty roar, he was gone! As the 1950’s soon became the 1960’s I had still never been off the ground! That was until a certain day in, (as best as I can recall), the fall of 1962 or early 1963, when my Dad asked, “Hey Mikey! Wanna go FLYING?” I was already airborne! We expeditiously drove to the base and worked our way out around or behind the old 95th area to a small hanger that held the aircraft born to let me fly! The Ryan Navion! The pre-flight, engine start, and taxiing to the active was a massive sensory overload for me! That was until he turned onto the active and applied max power! Instantly we were off the ground and climbing to regions never… Read more »