Bull Ride

Back some years ago, I was taking flying lessons with Arnie Sims.  He was very accomplished as a pilot, “A good Stick” as we say.  He came back from Vietnam with three Distinguished Flying Crosses.  Actually, only one made it back to the USA.  The others he gave away.  You see, Arnie was not a war monger… he just loved flying.  As he said, “I am the only pilot to leave the peace symbol in smoke over Saigon.”

Arnie was raised in California, but some way ended up in a small town in Arkansas teaching flying, owned a plane paint shop, flew commercially and participated in anything that had to do with flying.

I have to give him credit for being an extremely firm but calm instructor.  He would let me get the plane into situations and expect me to get it out.  While he calmly sat in the right seat.  My flight training was very meaningful.  He did complement me after my written test score came back.  He said, “I have had a student get 100% on the written test before.”  Trust me he rarely gave out a compliment.  Arnie told me in the last training for aerobatics that the reason he never gave out compliments was because, “Every time I do, the next maneuver they do – they screw it up.”

In his final days, he was instructing me in the Zlin 526F, his favorite airplane that I purchased from him.  Landing a 230 hp, retractable gear, taildragger, from the rear seat was a handful… to say the least.  At the end of one of my landings he said, “Ralph landing a plane is a lot like riding a bull…  one just has to hold on for 8 seconds.”  AND HE WAS RIGHT!

That is all it takes…  just don’t fall off before the 8 seconds.

I miss him.

Thanks for the bull riding idea!