My first four years of formal education were in a single-room schoolhouse in Choateville, Kentucky. Beginning in fourth grade, I transferred to a school in Frankfort, a big city that then boasted some 15,000 residents.

But my ambitions were sealed in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. A lot of people had tried by then, but none had done it alone. My ear was glued to our vacuum-tube RCA radio, listening for every scratchy- sounding news report on the progress of his flight. When the bulletin came announcing that he had landed in Paris and was carried off the field on the shoulders of thousands of cheering Frenchmen, I was hooked. There was no question in my mind that I would be a pilot, just like Lindbergh. I was certain of it.

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