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Cuba Free Press
Cuba, Missouri
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April 24, 2003     Cuba Free Press
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April 24, 2003
 

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The Cuba Free Press Feature 12A April 24, 2003 Cuba pilots share00rich histo This is the second of a two-part series featuring local pilots. Indescribable feelings of free- dom, control and autonomy are listed as some of the reasons for flying, but mainly it seems to be an all-consuming passion among those who visit the outskirts of grayity. John Mosby has been flying for 41 years, taking his first flying les- son in February of 1962. Mosby acquired ownership of "Sky Prints," an aeronautical charts company in St. Louis in 1967 after gaining his private pilot's certifi- cate. He became interested in air rac- ing through the former owner of Sky Prints and stayed active in competition for 13 years. Mosby refers to it as a "deadly serious business" with the frequency of mid-air collisions resulting in mul- tiple fatalities. After winning the National Air Race Class Championship in Reno, Nev., in 1981 (the Indianapolis 500 of Air Racing), Mosby hung it up in 1982. He also won the Miami National Air Races in 1971. "As far as I know, I'm the only person to win at Reno while hold- ing only a private pilot's certifi- cate," he said. Mosby is also known for donat- ing the land for what is now the Cuba Municipal Airport. Mayor John Brummett approached Mosby in the early 1970s about donating 30 acres of his family farm to the city for the municipal airport, which enabled the city to qualify for state funding. "In 1972, the Federal Airport and Airways Development Act pro- vided if municipalities with dedi- cated land could meet 60 acres, (they would receive federal fund- ing). The city asked for an addi- tional 30 acres for additional fed- eral funding and to put Cuba's proposed airport in the National Airspace System," Mosby said. Sixty acres of land qualified it for $25,000 in state funding and $350,000 in federal funding. Dr. Norman DeLeo, Percy Pascoe, John Brummett, Dr. Mike Elders and Bob Coffmann were members of the first Airport Commission which oversaw the grants applica- tion, funding and construction processes. The airport opened in 1975 and in 1999 underwent major rehabili- tation to keep it in the National Airspace System. "Norm DeLeo became the Economic Development Director. I always felt that forbode well for the airport, because I felt Norm had the vision to see the airport as a smaller part of a bigger plan," Mosby said. "As for accomplishment, I con- sider my most important here on the ground, where I finally over- came my addiction to alcohol. I happen to be fortunate to be in a position and at an age where I can advocate publicly about my experi- ences and beliefs and I choose to do so," Mosby said. Mosby is enjoying his current vocation at Jim's Motors 1in Cuba. Considered to be the "first fam- ily of aviation" by Mosby, the late Dr. Frank Elders and his family have competed in many proficien- cy air races, receiving numerous awards. Active in the National Pilot's Association before the Cuba Municipal' Airport evolved, they also operated their own personal airport, "Flutterbug' Roost"-- complete with hangers on the "Elder's straightaway" south of Cuba on Hwy. 19. Dr. Mike Elders is still active in the Missouri Pilot's Association. .Mary Pounds (Elders) considers her former involvement in flying "self-preservation." "If (Dr. Frank Elders) was flying, (I thought) I should learn something about it," she said. Mary said she took lessons, not having the intention of flying solo, but was tricked into it by her instructor in 1956. "I was so mad. After the first time, I was all right. I just loved it after that.," she said. Mary not only enjoyed flying, she excelled at it. Winning proficiency air races sponsored by the NPA, she partnered with her husband in races all over the country. Dr. Frank Elders received his private pilot's license while serv- ing in the Air Force in 1955. Mike Elders started taking off with his father as soon as he could see over the controls. Passing the written examina- tion at age 15, Mike Elders soloed on his 16th birthday. Obtaining his private pilot's license at 17, his father let him and his friend take a joy ride around the country in his airplane. "He had a new airplane and as a graduation present, he let us go anywhere for two weeks. It,was unique---turning kids loose in a brand new airplane," Elders said. Mike ended up flying 6,000 miles and putting 100 hours on the plane in 12 days. They flew west from Cuba to the Mexican border, up the west coast to Seattle and back to E1 Paso and Corpus Christi, Texas, then home. In 1962, Elders entered his first competitive air race, having to estimate time and fuel compared to the manufacturer's handbook on the airplane, which was scored to actual usage. In the 1962 St. Louis Aero Club Race, Dr. Frank and Mike Elders placed sixth out of 50 airplanes. In 1963, Elders took fourth place with his father in the annu- al St. Louis Aero Club Race spon- sored by the NPA, and in 1964, Mary and Dr. Frank Elders took first with Dr. Mike and Dr. Norman DeLeo placing second. As a consequence the NPA awarded trolhies at their conven- tion for the "most proficient." Mary got female pilot of the year and Mike Elders won male pilot of the year. The "first family of aviation" designation rings true for the Elders, their family having won a slew of trophies and accolades in their flying endeavors. Dr. Mike, who had a family practice in Cuba for 18 years, has commercial and instrument rat- ings and over 1,200 hours flying time. As an emergency room physician at Phelps County Regional Medical Center, he now fliesfor business and pleasure. "I'm into the romance of flying. It was the best thing that hap- pened to me as a teenager. It instilled an immense confidence in me that I didn't have before." DeLeo, Cuba's current Economic Development Coordinator, volunteered for the army after graduating from dental school. He volunteered to be an airborne parachutist, and was assigned as a dental surgeon for the 82nd airborne division. "The first (jump) is probably the greatest you could ever make. After that, guys become para- troopers and try to see how fast they canlempty it out. They train you and you try to space yourself so you don't jump on someone's back," DeLeo said. "I decided to get out after almost six years. I came back to Cuba to set up a civilian dental practice and found a skydiving club ove in Washington. My wife said, 'You and your next wife enjoy that," De Leo said. A friendship with Dr. Frank Elders led to DeLeo's involvement in flying. He trained under Frank at "Flutterbug Roost." Since he couldn't jump out of planes any- more, he kept inside of one he bought. DeLeo was heavily involved in the beginning of the Cuba airport, but got out of flying after purchas- ing a wholesale beer distributor- ship. DeLeo misses flying, but at the time, made a sensible move by giv- ing it up. "You don't mix alcohol and flying, so I sold the plane," DeLeo said. Dr. Don Fuchs, a multi-talented dentist in Cuba, warned of the dangers of becoming too self- assured. "The danger of making it through a dangerous situation, is you become cocky. You see it with stunt-show pilots. Every year you hear about one of the pilots burn- ing it into the ground because they push the safety envelope to the max." lights on," he said. Fuchs began taking lessons in the early '80s and used to take baseball teams he coached up for rides. Fuchs has flown for pleas- ure and business, pointing out that a lot of places in Missouri are unreachable driving. "One of the greatest pleasures of piloting is hangar flying. You can learn survival stories from from a T6 to a RC135, he flown the perimeter of the Union, China, Korea am Winning three air Krulik earned 350 combat in Vietnam and took two tours Southeast Asia. He spent two a half years in Okinawa and months in Guam. He also took three to four week trips to during the C01d War on alert. Dr. Don Fuchs, D.D.S. is pictured with a baseball team he coached. Fuchs began taking lessons in the tmrly 80s and has flown for business and pleasure. Fuchs warned of the dangers of becoming too cocky as a pilot. "Every year you hear about one of the pilots burning It into the ground," he From left: Mary Pounds (Elders), Dr. Frank Elders, Dr. Mike Elders, and Dr. Norman DeLeo pose after placing first and second respectively in the 1964 St. Louls Aero Club Race. It was a proficiency race where contestants had to estlmate time and fuel compared to the manufacturer's handbook, was scored to actual usage. John Mosby Jr, is pictured on one of many sky ventures. He actively competed in Air Racing for 13 /ears and quit in 1982 ater winning the National Air Race Class Championship in Reno, Nevada in 1981, the Indianapolis 500 of Air Racing. He also won the Miami National Air Race in 1971. Fuchs himself has had close calls, but fortunately knew what to do in those situations. Losing total electrical power at night on his way back from the Lake of the Ozarks, he could see Vichy's bea- con and knew the Cuba airport was directly east from there. "(The plane) was like a rocket in the sky with no flaps, no radio 'and no other pilots and how to manage emergency situations," Fuchs said. Dick Krulik has been flying for 50 years, 27 of them spent in the U.S. Air Force. Since his retire- ment in 1979, Iie has been flying for pleasure, receiving his com- mercial/instrument and single, multi-jet rating. Flying everything Having triiveled all over world, Krlik thinks the Cubs port is nice. "It's the time. ItJs a definite asset community. The first ple ask the is 'Is there an airport?' It's vital," Krulik  ,' Stow by Christy Nixon