Fri, 08 Aug 2008
at Lincoln Park Airport,
I worked at LP from 1975-1980. Ed always called me "junior". I hated it then but over the years it was fitting. Ed was pretty old then, but he did not lack anything. He was sharp as a tack and if he missed anything Jule would let him know so.
I guess I went to work for him after he had repossed the airport from the Eastern group. I was for the most part an aircraft fueler after school and on weekends, but I wound up doing so much more. Moving planes, cutting grass, cleaning the office and assisting the mechanic when needed. And hung up a lot of what I know now are to be historical pictures in the office.
Ed always asked, every pay day, "do you want half in pay and half in flight time"? I kick my self in the butt today. I could have been trained to fly by the same guy that helped Amelia Earhart fly the Atlantic, wow Ed! And that also would have included instruction by Tony Farrell.
But I at the time liked fast cars and the girls that came with it. I think I kept Ed and the other guys happy with all the teenage girls that showed up to watch me work. But Ed would always come out, "junior we need to get doc's plane out" or something. Meaning she had to go.
Ed loved the airport and always wanted it looking its best. He also gave a lot back, never missing the chance to buy me a lunch at the Pequannock sandwich shop. He kept me stuffed with salt tabs in the summer also. And when the day was slow I would go up to his house and mow the lawn.
Jules and Ed had a nice, cozy log cabin up in the hills. The road getting there was windy and tight. If you think flying in a plane with Ed was fun, you needed to ride in a car on the way to his house. The tree limbs would fly in the open window and slap you in the face if you let it. He was a daredevil in my book.
The first flight I had in an airplane was in his J-3 Cub. I never knew you could look over your shoulder at the runway on final approach. That's how Ed did it all the time! And just prior to the wheel hitting the ground he would snap the tail around and bam you were rolling down the runway.
He came out of the office one day to see me propping an aircraft. I guess I was lucky that the plane fired up and I wasn't injured. But Ed made sure that I got some instruction before doing it again. The first instruction was a lot of ear chewing. But that's how he was, you didn't do it unless you were going to do it right.
We had one guy, Bernie. He owned a Mooney, and every time he flew it was "swift". He was German and the plane was fast. Ed would wait for him to come in for a landing and then the chase was on. Bernie would taxi way to fast for Ed's liking and he would let him know it. Better yet almost every landing Bernie would ding his prop after porposing down the runway, Ed would stop him and say he couldn't fly till it was fixed.
We had only one crash during the time I worked there. The radio shops owner had a bell 47 helicopter, that crashed just short of me while I was cutting the grass. He took off and pulled up too soon causing the clutch to go. He attempted a auto rotation but hit tail first, which caused the chopper to spin and land on its side.
Ed and Jules have since gone and I miss those hot New Jersey days at the airport. I'm glad to see that they have gone down in the history of aviation in NJ, and that they left us with so much. May LP airport continue to prosper.
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