I have three topics that I would like to cover in this November editorial. I will start with the first of the three, the Celebration of Life for my longtime friend, Grant Lane. On October 13 and 14, Grant’s life was celebrated at Lane Airpark in Rosenberg, Texas. Friday, Grant’s ashes were spreading along the runway in his Super Cub flown by his son, Logan. This was the same procedure that Grant did for his father, George Lane. Saturday was an afternoon filled with Grant’s friends, both locally and business-wise. It was a beautiful service.
Of the thirty-plus years I have had a very close relationship with Grant, I never envisioned his passing. That was something we did not dwell on except as a passing joke. Well, that was until March 19, 2021, when I had my stroke. At that time, we realized life was too short and precious. Grant got his wake-up call in April 2022 upon his return from one of our many trips to Latin America. He was diagnosed with cancer.
Grant, being the man he was, fought a courageous battle against this evil disease. Thankfully, we could spend four nights and five days together in a Florida coastal town, tinkering on my boat and simply enjoying ourselves. He passed away six weeks later—Godspeed, my friend.
Also, this October came the passing of Fred Ayres. I first met Fred while a first-year ag pilot in Dawson, Georgia, in 1974. Being a first-year ag-pilot, nobody could tell me much. I wanted to tell others! Fred had recently started his ag-pilot school in nearby Albany, Georgia. I “offered” to teach at the school. I had a flight instructor rating all of eight months, but had used it only for three months before I started to fly ag.
In my mind, I thought that I could point out things to ag students that more seasoned ag pilot teachers had forgotten long ago. Boy, was I mistaken. Fred politely informed me that he had enough ag pilot instructors.
However, that was not the end of our association. In 1980, I bought the first PT6A-11AG Thrush from Fred, i.e., Ayres Corporation. A few years later, in the mid to late ‘80s, Fred bought advertising in AgAir Update. We have always been friends, and his loss is a significant one. If you have not read his bio, you should.
One of the things that Fred and I had in common, other than being Thrush pilots, was we both were inducted into the National Agricultural Aviation Hall of Fame and the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. I don’t know if Fred ever realized that point, as my induction into Georgia’s Hall of Fame occurred the same week Fred passed.
Referring to my induction into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, if you already don’t know, it is true, and I am honored by it. Although I have not been told anything about the “voting” statistics, I know many of you voted for me. You might say I had a distinct advantage with thousands of readers worldwide from whom I requested their support and vote. I thank each of you for taking the time to do so. I am humbled.
The ceremony occurs in nearby Warner Robins at Robins Air Force Base’s Georgia Aviation Museum in April. I am told it is quite an affair, tuxedo level. I will have to rent one! In December, I will meet with a videographer for an interview. I am a bit nervous about that, but I suppose the videographer can edit out my mistakes. Hopefully, there will be enough video footage remaining after his edits!
October has been an interesting month for me; some of it filled with sadness and some of it with joy. I am grateful to be able to write this editorial.
Until next month, Keep Turning…