Dozens of interesting stories that should have been told are slowly being lost in the dust of hundreds of small airports that once dotted the country. Thousands of aspiring young airmen lived an adventure while learning to fly from these little dirt fields of yesterday. Against the backdrop of big concrete airports and the power and technology of the new generations of aircraft, the stories seemed to have drifted into the shadows. A new book, "Runway Dust, Airport Adventures during the Fabulous Fifties," by Charles R. Furden sheds some light on those memorable years.
During the era of small Ma and Pa airports, one young teen, Charles R, or "Ron" as he is known in the book, hired on as a Line Boy at a small flying school based at Utah Central Airport that was then located a few miles southwest of Salt Lake City. He also had the opportunity to fly the now legendary Piper Cub. An aircraft, like its contemporary, Ford's Model A, was the subject of many humorous stories. For green student pilots, there were adventures at every turn. There was the hangar's old wood stove where Ron and fellow workers spent time telling jokes and laughing their way into the evening. Sometimes a teen thinks the present will also be part of the future and nothing will really change, but times do change.
After a time, Ron could see that aviation was progressing all around his little airport while his was holding in time. It was also obvious that small airports like his and the type of flying he was enjoying was coming to an end. There was a sadness to see it go, but he felt some comfort in the fact that he was deeply involved in the tail end of an historic era.
"Runway Dust" is a collection of stories, happenings and everyday activities at Ron's and probably many similar airports during those years. The author has a rare ability to pass on to his readers the feelings, sights and sounds of those days of long ago. "Runway Dust, Airport Adventures during the Fabulous Fifties" is a reading experience that goes way beyond the scanning of a page. It is unique, it stands alone and it's a story never before told. If you have ever wondered why people love aircraft and flight, "Runway Dust" will tell
Airport Adventures during the Fabulous Fifties
Charles "Ron" Furden