85-year-old Pilot Enjoys Birthday Flight with Her Son

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85-year-old Pilot Enjoys Birthday Flight with Her Son

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85-year-old Pilot Enjoys Birthday Flight with Her Son

By Ofonime Essien

Marguerite Moncrieff-Buck

Former pilot Marguerite Moncrieff-Buck celebrated her 85th birthday on Friday by taking a flight with her son and pilot, Glyn Buck, at Windsor airport.

Marguerite Moncrieff-Buck thought she should do something memorable to mark her 85th birthday.

Dinner out with family and friends or maybe a second piece of cake just wasn’t going to cut it.

“It’s a significant year,” Moncrieff-Buck reasoned. “A lot of people don’t make it to 85. I did and I thought I have to do something special.”

So Moncrieff-Buck decided to dust off the pilot’s licence she earned back in 1960 and made plans to take a birthday flight with her son, Glyn Buck, on July 7.

Seeing how more than 50 years had passed since she last climbed into a cockpit, Moncrieff-Buck scheduled a session at Windsor Airport earlier in the week with flight instructor Dayne Morrison.

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“I hated every second of it,” Moncrieff-Buck said, adding it had nothing to do with Morrison.

Rather, the instrument panel was totally foreign to her as was the technique used for landing. And the arm strength required to pull on the yoke used to steer the plane was simply too much.

“Everything was foreign, it was like you’re used to driving a Model T and they’re putting you in a 747,” she said.

“Give me a tail dragger,” she said referring to an older style of plane and how you landed it.

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With the birthday flight already scheduled and looming just two days away, like any good pilot, Moncrieff-Buck charted another course of action.

“I had a brilliant notion,” she said of asking Morrison if he could give her son Glyn the controls and let him fly while she took it all in from the back seat.

“I loved every second of it,” she said. “I enjoyed watching my son fly. I can’t think of anything more important than flying in the back seat for his first flight.”

Of course, the new flight plan caught Glyn off guard.

“I’ve logged a lot of commercial miles as a passenger and I’ve been in a small plane a couple of times but at the back,” the 52-year-old said. “It’s very different in the front. It was thrilling but slightly terrifying at the same time.”

With Morrison at his side, Glyn steered the plane along the riverfront, through LaSalle, Amherstburg and out to Leamington before heading back to Windsor.

His wife, Tracie, and son, Carter, took pictures and video from the tarmac.

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“It was quite a day,” Glyn said.

Mother and son walked arm-in-arm out to the airplane signing a 1959 tune written about the atomic bomb titled “We will all go together when we go.”

It was another war song that inspired Moncrieff-Buck’s life-long love of flight.

She was a child when the 1942 film Captains of the Clouds came out, chronicling the story of two Canadian pilots in the Second World War. Moncrieff-Buck loved the title song of the same name.

She knew all the lyrics and their wonderful tale of flying made her wish she was old enough to join the air force.

Later, as an adult, a friend suggested she take flying lessons.

She flew for several years until she started raising children.

Moncrieff-Buck tells a hair-raising story about her solo flight which entailed flying from Windsor to London to St. Thomas and back. Having missed her first checkpoint she had to guestimate her way to the London airport. Then on the next leg, she misread the windsock in St. Thomas and wound up executing a tricky manoeuvre in order to land the plane downwind instead of the preferable method of into the wind.

A group of men watched in amazement outside the St. Thomas hangar.

“When I climbed out of the plane they were lined up with their hands on their hips and said ‘Do you know you just landed your plane downwind?’ I said yes, can you please sign my logbook I’ve got to get back home.”

Fortunately, last Friday’s flight was much more routine.

“He did well,” she said of Glyn. “I was very proud of him.”

(Windsorstar)

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Ofonime Essien

Mr. Ofonime A. Essien, is a Helicopter Pilot. He is also a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), a Computer Forensics Expert, a Blogger, Web Master, a Writer and an Entrepreneur. He is an avid reader. He likes motivating others to achieve their dreams through writing and speaking.

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