First, a disclaimer: I think this story is true.
Once upon a very, very long time ago, the Salt Lake City Police Department decided to experiment with using an ultralight aircraft for patrol work. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect some police officer who was also an ultralight pilot found a creative way to have some fun and get paid for it.
I guess, too, that the experiment wasn’t very successful so it was short-lived. But it did produce one really great story.
Seems that one day, a little boy didn’t come home from school on time. His mother suspected that he’d stopped to play somewhere along the way, but after driving around for a time and not finding him, she called the police.
The ultralight was immediately dispatched.
Low and slow, the ultralight cop fluttered around the neighborhood along the boy’s route from kindergarten to kitchen door. It didn’t take long for the pilot to spot a little guy wearing the clothes the mother had described, playing on the merry-go-round at a community park. The police department had installed a pretty powerful loudspeaker system under the little flutterbug, so the cop picked up the microphone and sent his voice booming through the evening sky, “Tommy Jones, GO HOME!”
The story is that the merry-go-round came to a screeching stop, a small face looked upward for a moment and then the cop tagged along as the little guy raced as fast as his legs would carry him straight to his house, where he disappeared inside.
His mother later called the department to report that her son had arrived, out of breath with eyes so wide they looked as big as dinner plates.
When his breathing settled down enough so he could talk, the li’l fella blurted out, “Mommy, I was playing in the park when GOD told me to go home!”
Lee learned to fly in northern Ohio back in the days when dual instruction in a Cub cost a whopping $13 an hour. On one of his first solo cross country flights, he landed at New Concord airport and had to get his logbook signed. The fella behind the counter asked if he’d like to have it signed by a pilot who had just set a new speed record across the US in an F8U Crusader. So his first logbook has the notation “Landed New Concord, JH Glenn USMC.” After careers as an elementary school teacher and national park ranger, Lee was finally priced out of flying—like so many other pilots. Now he manages to get his aerial kicks in a SixChuter Legend powered parachute.