In most cases, firemen worked 24-hour shifts and then were off 48 hours before returning to the job. Most firemen had part-time jobs that occupied some of their free time. Warren had a small construction business.
One weekend morning while he was getting a vehicle serviced, he asked me if I had any important plans for that afternoon. I replied that I was free for the afternoon, and he asked if I would help him wax his airplane. He explained that he owned a small single-engine plane and was a licensed pilot. I was told that he kept his plane at the Greenwood Airport.
Warren picked me up later that afternoon, and we went to the airport. He told me several important things about the plane before we waxed it. We worked well together, and he was telling me stories about planes and fire trucks. When we finished and put everything away, Warren asked me if I would like to go for a plane ride.
A ride had not been discussed, so I was surprised and excited. Soon we were inside the cockpit, buckled in and ready to go. After he conversed with the tower, we took off. As we crossed Southport Road, Warren said we would be flying over my house on Fairhope Drive. It was so cool to see our neighbors’ homes and our house from the air.
He banked left, and we were headed west along Thompson Road to U.S. 31. I saw Longacre Pool and Park. After another left turn we were soaring south over U.S. 31. I was having a blast.
As we were flying over the highway, I noticed something strange. Cars motoring south on U.S. 31 were going faster than we were. About then, Warren bumped me on my shoulder and pointed to some of the gauges on the dashboard. Then he said, “That wax is really doing a good job. This is the fastest this plane has ever flown,” he said while pointing to the speed indicator.
I was concerned that we were going slower than cars on the highway, and he was excited about setting a new speed record in his airplane. I never said anything about those fast-moving cars.