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11 Gliding Better than Sex! B. J. London, Nancy’s friend from WAFS days, and her business partner, Barney Frazier, operated Barney Frazier Aviation at the Long Beach airport . B.J. bought and sold airplanes and provided that service for several of her WASP friends over the years. She also belonged to the Ninety-Nines chapter there in Long Beach. “Early in 1969, B.J. invited me down for a program her Ninety-Nines chapter was having on gliding up in the high desert country. The speaker was Fred Robinson of Crystalaire—he had a glider operation up in the Mojave Desert. He talked about his place and gliding—or soaring, as he called it. B.J. and Barney had a Piper dealership and she had sold Fred a Super Cub. I was intrigued with him and his place and the whole idea. Then B.J. said if I bought a Super Cub, he’d use it up there in the desert to tow gliders. ‘You can go up there and fly and make some money, at the same time,’ she said. “Wow! A good excuse to do some more flying. I talked to Paul about it, and he agreed that it was a good idea. So we bought a brand new Super Cub—4425 Zulu. The plane cost seventy-five hundred dollars. I took out a loan through Northrop and made monthly payments on it.” On April 4, 1969, Nancy went to Long Beach to pick up the Super Cub from B.J. That very afternoon, she flew the Cub to Pearblossom airport up in the high desert country northeast of Los Angeles—a forty-minute flight. She began transition into glider towing on April 19, and on April 27, Fred checked her out as a glider tow pilot. Nancy had a new airplane and a new career. She moved over to the Crystalaire airport on May 17 and began doing glider tows there.1 “We had the RV, so in May, we began spending our weekends up at the glider field. It was a two-hour drive—up Saturday morning and back Sunday night. Paul enjoyed it. Janey had a dirt bike that we carried on the side. It Gliding: Better than Sex! • 93 worked out great. I was back in a taildragger and I was in hog heaven.” Nancy did anywhere from nineteen to sixty tows a day. Pearblossom and Barney Frazier Aviation sponsored Nancy and the Super Cub in the 1969 Powder Puff Derby (PPD). Janey, now eleven, took part in her mother’s preparation for the big race. “I flew down with Mom along the beach to San Diego and Dad drove. We stayed in a hotel. I remember it was fun. I helped her wash and wax the airplane. Because I was little, I could get underneath and wax and polish the belly. “My mother flew the only taildragger in the race. All those other women had Bonanzas and other big planes—and copilots—and she had a stick and was flying alone.” Nancy and her new Super Cub, N4425Z, purchased April 4, 1969. Photo courtesy the Crews family. 94 • Chapter 11 Nancy liked to tell another story on herself in that race, which got underway on the Fourth of July from Lindbergh Field in San Diego, where they took off out over the ocean. “I’m one of the last ones to take off. Fran Bera [seven-time winner of the PPD] was to take off right before me. I’m sitting there on the end of the runway and I’m thinking, I’m gonna make this a racing takeoff. So I stood on the brakes like we used to do in the Ferry Command in the P-47s and got that Super Cub all revved up. When they gave me the flag, I poured the coals to it, but I held the plane just a few feet off the runway, gaining a lot of airspeed. “The rules were to make a turn when you got to the water and start circling to get on course to go east. As I cleared the runway and saw the water, wham, I hauled back on that thing, did a chandelle, and cut inside Fran Bera. I came back around over land and headed east for Las Vegas, our first stop. Paul told me the people in the stands jumped up and hollered, ‘look, look, that Cub is passing Fran Bera.’ Isn’t that a...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780817382933
Related ISBN
9780817355531
MARC Record
OCLC
772459214
Pages
230
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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