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American Bonanza Society Magazine

Persistence Pays Off 1955 F35 Bonanza N51ED

Mike Cagle, Ramona, California

My story is a bit different than most. I was introduced to aviation at the age of eight. I was fascinated with any airplane or helicopter that flew over our home in San Diego, California. Helicopters were generally the Bell 47 and used by law enforcement, and as I entered my teens and they were circling somewhere nearby, I was on my skateboard in a flash and on my way to watch them fly. This went on for years! Once I reached 14 years old, my mother (who was and still is very supportive of my adventures) allowed me to go to the local FBO and ask for any type of work to be close to airplanes. I did this multiple times at the same FBO until finally I wore them down and they said yes. They allowed me to pull weeds and keep the ramp area clean, and for this I was able to have one hour a month of dual instruction. This was heaven to me: 14 years old and flying an airplane!