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Stormville Airport : Stories : Captain David J. Mason
After graduating from John Jay High School in June 1971 my dad Bill Mason, who was a good friend of TWA Captain Charlie Dennis, introduced me to Pete O'Brien. I asked Pete if there was anything I could do to help out around the flight school at Stormville Airport. He said there was and hired me to be the "line boy" for the school.
He had about 5 Cessna 152's and 2 Cessna 172's that needed someone to look after them. He teemed me up with Walt the mechanic and together we cared for the planes.
My duties were to arrive before dawn and get the airplanes untied, fueled, and pre-flighted for the days flying. After they returned from a training flight I would re-fuel them, inspect them, clean them, and put them out on the line for the next student sortie. At days end I would bed them down for the night.
I also manned the fuel pumps and topped off just about every aircraft that was based at Stormville or visited there. I worked from dawn to dusk 7 days a week during June, July, August, and the beginning of September 1971.
I also took over the task of cutting the grass surrounding the airport. I had to leave NY to attend college in Arizona but I came back during the summer of 1972 to again work for Pete.
During those two summers I rode in just about every aircraft on the field. I flew with all of Pete's instructors in their C-152's and C-172's. I made some parachute jumps with the Love brothers flying their Lockheed Lodestar and Cessna 190 that served their Parachute Jumping School, did aerobatics with John Crumlish in his T-6A Texan, went on a cross country to Long Island with one of the schools instructors flying his twin engine Piper Apache, plus many other aircraft too numerous to mention.
I spent many mornings and evenings with Pete and Rose on their front porch talking about airplanes and flying. I don't know what they saw in me or how they knew I would amount to something but they did.
After college I went into the U. S. Air Force and flew the T-37, T-38, OV-10A Bronco, the F-4E Phantom II, and the C-5A Galaxy. Today I'm an MD-11 Captain for World Airways where I routinely fly US troops into Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. I've logged over 18,000 flying hours and it all started at Stormville Airport.
I've attached some photos of me and of the airport in general. I sure miss that place.
Captain David J. Mason