Eldon Carter's Early Flying Experiences
Contributor: sheilanneharrison Created: 8 months ago Updated: 8 months ago
Eldon Carter’s Early Flying Experiences
In July 1928 I took my first airplane ride with my cousin Veranius (Vern) Carter, my Uncle Dick’s son. He had what we called an OX standard airplane. The OX was a water cooled engine... I later made two or three other passenger rides with him and also helped him put the airplane in the parade on the 4th of July at Spanish Fork. I don’t remember the year for sure, but I do remember each city block was covered with grass down the center. Vern landed West of Spanish Fork in Wallace Brockbank’s field but took off east of the cemetery on a long field.
I went to work for days to get enough money for rides and later to take lessons. Vern took an operation in Ogden north and east of what is now called Hill Field. It was called Pacific Airways. I took a few lessons at the airport but did not have enough money for lessons.
I watched Charles Carbell make his first solo flight from this field. In 1930-31 Payson Flying Club (a group of people around Payson and Spanish Fork) was trying to raise enough money to buy an airplane. Henry Huff, a pilot, brought an airplane and landed on the race track in Payson to demonstrate it to interested people. A fellow by the name of Griffith was made club president. About 3 months later both of the above named people were killed in an accident almost before the club was organized.
I was interested in the club but had not yet joined. I did however witness the accident and drove Griffith to the Payson Hospital. The pilot died that evening, and Griffith lived three days before passing away. I stopped my flying for a while because my folks were against it and because of no money.
In 1938 Vern purchased a J2 Cub airplane with a 40 horse power engine. I started taking lessons in it and started logging my time for a license in May 22, 1938 in aircraft Nc16712 Cub J-2 Continental A-40 Engine. I took a 20 minute lesson. I noticed from my log book most of my lessons were 20 minutes and one for 10 minutes. It was all I could afford.
I soloed September 13, 1938 in a J-3 Cub Nc200803 for 20 minutes on May 4, 1939. I made my first X Country Flight Salt Lake – Spanish Fork - Provo and back to Salt Lake. No landings because at the time neither Provo nor Spanish Fork had an airport. I had logged in at the time 15 hours and 40 minutes.
On June 19, 1939 I took a lesson in a Curtis Robin Nc-94OK – 185HP Curtis Challenger engine for 20 minutes, and on June 4, 1932 I soloed this airplane and made several flights in July and August 1939 landing on the shore of Utah Lake and pouring in gasoline from a can and chamois skinned funnel while the engine was idling.
It was the first part of 1938 that I got acquainted with Ralph Woodhouse from Spanish Fork. We knew of each other because of our interest in aviation. He was taking a few lessons in a Curtis Junior Pusher at Provo. Charlie Carbell left his plane in the old State Road shed (it’s just across the road and a little south of the Provo Elks Lodge today (East side of South University). Willis Wadson also had a OX Waco airplane hangared there. I don’t know who actually owned the Curtis, but Bill Smith, a brother of Elmer Smith, let me fly it one day.
Ralph and I heard of a Hispano-Suiza Water Cooled Eagle Rock Airplane that was wrecked and dismantled at the old Price airport. By the way, Utah had an airport at Salt Lake, Ogden, Price and Richfield at the time. The owner had been killed while welding an oil tank. We purchased it from his wife in 1938. We worked all of our spare time trying to rebuild the wings, fuselage, and in converting a Curtis Challenger Air Cooled engine in the place of the old Hispano-Suiza.
It was about this time they were building the Deer Creek Dam in Provo Canyon. We heard that one of the mechanics was also licensed for aircraft. His name was James George Gibbson. If I remember right, his license was 27 which was a real low number. We told him we were going to rebuild this airplane. He told us if we would follow his advice that he would sign the paper work. We did our very best work and followed all his instructions. We learned a great deal about weight, balance, wing covering, wood spars, rib, engine cooling and all.
In the summer of 1940 we had tied the fuselage down and run the engine testing it behind Jack Bingham’s Garage an old building where Bradshaw Auto Parts (266 North Main Street) is today in Spanish Fork. Jack worked for Jack Bingham, and I worked for Premium Oil Co. About this time they were starting the Civilian Government Pilot Training Program in the larger cities. Ralph and I, with the State Director, Joe Bergin, were trying to get Spanish Fork and Springville interested in an airport with the government putting up part of the money. John Booth our mayor was helping to get the ground and the cities started to think about it.
In the meantime, we had hauled the Eagle Rock to Salt Lake and had the wings on, rigged and checked for weight. On September 7, 1940, I flew it to Provo landed a few times on the edge of the lake and then tried my luck at the strip by the by the State Road Shed. I made 2 or 3 landings each way coming over town from the north and from the south over the water. It flew real good. The aircraft was the Eagle Rock NC 6350 185 HP Curtis Challenger Engine. I flew it 10 or 15 times in September and October.
On October 6, I flew Willis Madson’s 0X5 Waco NC 853. For some reason or another, I think he was a little afraid of its ground looping characteristics. He asked me to take it; I looked it over good and took it up a few times. By November 1, 1940 with an 8:40 dual instruction, I received up until September 1938, but I had soloed 59 hours and 25 Minutes.
Received Solo Permit September 13, 1938
Received Private CertificateFebruary 20, 1941
Received Commercial LicenseAugust 18, 1941
Received Instructor’s ratingOctober 24, 1941
Received Multi Engine RatingJune 11, 1948
Received ATR RatingJuly 28, 1951
Repository: Notes take from Elden's Flying Log held by Merrill Ray Carter
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