A First Solo Cross-country Not To Be Forgotten

This little story from Ronald OConner is too good not to share and seems kinda timely given his cool pumpkin paint scheme. If you like great flying stories that involve confident, self-assured, strong willed women pilots, you’re going to love this one. Copied from my Facebook wall for all to see!

Ronald OConnor from Circleville, Ohio

Ronald OConner from Circleville, Ohio & his Fisher Classic

Ronald OConner Ever heard of Helen Williams? Many many years ago she signed my log book…Story to follow……..LOL….if asked.
Judy:  I’m asking, I’m asking!!
Ronald OConner Well, sixty plus years ago as a student pilot I was instructed to fly from Circleville Ohio to Sabina Ohio as my first cross country. ( my instructor was a good guy but loved to pull a joke on a student once in awhile) So on a bright sunny day I took off in a J-3 and headed 270 degrees toward Sabina. All I had to do was follow a rail road directly to the Sabina sod airport. Entering what I thought was down wind I proceeded to do what I thought was a pretty nice pattern to final and touchdown. Landing was not bad so I taxied to a Quonset Hut that being the FBO office. As I climbed out of the J-3 a person came storming from near the building screaming obscenities like a dock worker. As this person came closer I could see this was a woman but her demeanor left me wondering. She had on cut off jeans, a sweat shirt with the arms cut out. and tennis shoes that didn’t match. A ball cap that was faded and the bill was twisted and mashed.
Ronald OConner ” You GD idiot” she screamed. “who in the hell taught you how to fly? Nobody I’m guessing.” Get your skinny ass back in that plane and make room for me. we’re going to teach you how to fly a pattern. On my approach to the airport I did check the wind but decided it was light and variable so landed runway of my choice. She on the other hand decided I had landed down wind. More cussing and we took off. We did three touch and go’s with her screaming at me every second of the was. She finally let signed my log book and released me to return to Circleville but had doubts that I could find my way. When I landed my instructor was waiting with the biggest grin on his face. He asked if I had met Helen Williams. I said yes and he burst into laughter. Helen Williams at that time had more flying hours than any woman in the world. She and others were fairy pilots flying single engine aircraft over seas during WW2. She had to leave her aircraft twice and survived. She and Jerry Mock became friends before Jerry set the world record. Helen Williams left a lasting impression on me, enough that I never landed at Sabina airport again. I didn’t tell you, she had flaming red hair and a temper to match. She and my instructor were friends and he sent many of his students to Helen as an initiation/ joke.
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