10,000 FEET AND CLIMBING
This fascinating book was written and contributed to by many authors who know him, and Richard's daughter Karen, who as a youngster accompanied him during his later gliding adventure years, and carefully compiled it. For those who do not know this modest aviator, it is a real inspiration to read about his trying real life childhood days, how he went on to support himself at an unusually young age, and then to earn an engineering degree. After that he joined the pre-war U.S. Navy where he flourished as a young pilot and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for sinking a German submarine during WW-II.
After the war years, Dick became enamored with sailplaning. He flew sailplanes exceptionally well, and with his previous experience with Navy metal aircraft structures, he started to design modern all metal, high performance sailplanes of remarkable quality. His first sailplane design was his sleek high performance HP-7 design which he flew during 1957. It exhibited outstanding speed performance and its design was well ahead of its time. He placed well in the U.S. National Championships that year. After that there was no stopping him in his pursuit of gliding perfection, both in design and pilotage.
He went on to win 3 National Contests in sailplanes of his own design; and more importantly, he produced a long series of modestly priced sailplane kits so that everyone could enjoy the sport of flying high performance sailplanes (I built one myself, and enjoyed it immensely). I personally believe that Dick's gentlemanly flying, brilliant ideas, and low cost kit production for the U.S. Gliding movement were for 20 some years, the single most significant contribution to the American sport of soaring.
This book is well endowed with many interesting photographs and flying accounts from the past, often told humorously by those who were there.
Unfortunately, Dick's flying days are now over. He is tied more closely than he wants to be to medical devices, but he does that gracefully at his home in Bryan, Ohio, where his wife Angie and family assist him. He still plans to develop his patented pulse jet propeller design, which he first planned to use for a self-launching device for his sailplanes many years ago!
- Dick Johnson
The book is still in manuscript form but should be available in printed form after January lst. For further information, contact Karen Barbera, 22 Hawthorne Ct., Batesville, IN 47006.
- Soaring Ed.