Captain Bob Dawson BORN TO FLY
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402
                                                              CHAPTER ONE

    Friday morning—mid-November, 1959. Hesitantly I reached for the
    doorknob to leave the New York Office of my United Air Lines friend and
    boss, Marshall Faye. My hand which gripped the knob, I realized pensively,
    would never be called upon again to use my thirty-seven years of flying skill
    and know-how, would never hold the controls of an airplane again.

           It mattered no longer that I had been the first airline pilot to fly the
    inaugural flights of the DC-4, DC-6, and DC-7. Within months, I was slated
    to fly the DC-8, the first jet used in commercial aviation. But all of those
    honors and dreams were shattered.

           Marshall and I walked into the hallway. Everyone in the office knew that
    I was leaving. Several friends and lots of well-wishers were there, but I had
    to get away from them. My eyes kept filling up with warm tears. I wanted to
    be alone with my sadness.

When I walked outside, I knew that an era was ending. I could never go back again to the way it was. The
blustery New York wind pelted my face.

Struggling to maintain control of my flooding emotions, I hurried the thirty yards to my little red Mercedes.
Once safely inside, I suddenly felt isolated from the world. I glanced again at the building from where I had
just walked. It seemed impossible that my career could have ended so quickly.

With nothing to hide, I rested my forehead against the steering wheel. Never before would I have dreamed
that walking away fro United Air Lines could have been so difficult.

Thirty-seven years of memories cascaded over me. It was as if my nerves were raw and I was experiencing
everything again in a pictorial, sensory-filled series of flashbacks.

Again I felt the utter helplessness of a young boy in a little Oklahoma town, watching the airplanes fly
overhead, wanting more than anything to be able to ride in one of those wonderful machines, and knowing
that in all probability I would never see those dreams fulfilled.

I was a teenager once more, and my nostrils twitched as I remembered the pungent odor of banana oil and
hot metal when I saw J. W. Cantwell’s Jenny. For the first time4, I had been close enough to touch an
airplane.

I sensed the wind against my face as I relived that incredible moment when I went airborne with Borwnie, the
same fly-by-night pilot who secretly sold me that airplane.

My heart broke once more as I remembered the crack-up which ended my barnstorming days.

I reveled again at the seemingly happenstance steps which helped me move from barnstormer to mail pilot,
then eventually to Senior Captain for United Air Lines.

I recalled with nostalgia the special friends I had known during my aviation career: Charles Lindbergh, Will
Rogers, Gloria Swanson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eddie Rickenbacker….

I wondered one more time how I survived those treacherous flights over “Hell’s Stretch,” the battle-torn
Aleutian Islands, or the ravaged South Pacific.

I had, of all men, been blessed.

I glanced in the mirror. I had been BORN TO FLY. My dream had carried me more than seven million miles—
and nothing would bring back the past. Gradually I was able to wipe away the tears and take a deep sigh.
With a new resolve, I turned the ignition of the Mercedes and drove away.

I knew that as I left that parking lot, the most cherished part of my life was not going home with me that day.

“I’ll never fly again."

Something about those words rang with such a finality that the overwhelming sadness left me distraught.

“Never…fly again…”

Enjoy the airborne adventures of this legendary pioneer and Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall
of Fame member, who was, without a doubt BORN TO FLY!
[360 pages, filled with photos and print memorabilia]
(Inaugural Printing Quantities are Limited)
Tears
Banana Oil
In the Beginning
Jess and Brownie
Wings to Fly
Barnstorming
Flying Circus
Wedding Bells
Broken Dreams
Blue Birds
Baby Steps
Mason-Dixon
Journeys
Night Flights
Hell's Stretch
The Army Pilots
New Horizons
War Clouds
Pacific Theater
Friendly Skies
Walking Away
Epilogue
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter
Twenty-One