The Jamestown Sun It had been more than 20 years since Marvin Franz sat in the pilot's seat with the airplane controls in his hands. Saturday, Franz flew again. And although it was a training airplane and his instructor got the plane off the grou...
The Jamestown Sun
It had been more than 20 years since Marvin Franz sat in the pilot's seat with the airplane controls in his hands.
Saturday, Franz flew again. And although it was a training airplane and his instructor got the plane off the ground and landed it again, Franz was its pilot in the air.
Where it counted.
For the eight years he flew in the late 1970s and early '80s, Franz belonged to the Buffalo City Radio Control Squadron. Parkinson's disease and its subsequent physical restrictions forced him to quit all those years ago.
"My reactions got too slow," he said.
But he never forgot the pleasure flying radio-controlled airplanes gave him.
"It was the most fun I've had in my life," he said. "I got interested and couldn't stop."
It was his dream to fly again and Saturday the Day Dream Team at Hi-Acres Manor Nursing Center gave him his wish. Franz and his wife, Helga, who are residents at Hi-Acres, joined his old squadron at the Central North Dakota Fun Fly held over the weekend near Jamestown's Pipestem Dam.
For the man who once built his own airplanes and did complicated acrobatics in the air with them, this was just like old times and a dream come true.
Although it was windy, making the lightweight plane hard to control, Franz not only managed to keep it in the air, but had the plane doing acrobatics. It was obvious his hands hadn't forgotten how to make it happen, even if it had been many years since he'd had his hands on the controls.
"You never forget," said Mike Propeck, Franz's instructor and vice president of the squadron, as he watched the acrobatics. He praised Franz for his control despite the windy conditions.
"I've never flown in a wind like this before," Franz said, after the flight.
Franz was thrilled with his experience and so, too, were his hosts Propeck and Dave Nelson, president of the squadron. It was Propeck's trainer Franz was flying, and Propeck held the "buddy box," a second set of controls to take over where needed.
"Normally, you wouldn't fly a new student in this wind," he said.
For Helga, it was a pleasure to watch Marvin fly again, but she brought her crocheting along to keep herself busy. She said her husband had never taught her to fly a radio-controlled airplane.
"He wouldn't trust me with it," Helga said, laughing.
Sitting next to her after his maiden flight, Marvin avidly watched as Nelson's plane taxied down the runway and took off into the sky. Propeck's plane also took to the sky as Marvin watched. Helga looked at him, smiled and shook her head.
"I'm going to hear about this for weeks," she said. "I think I'm going to go buy earplugs."