Cassville’s Linda Love takes flight at 72-years young
October 15, 2014
For Cassville’s Linda Love, it’s never too late to finish what you start. At 72 years-old, Love is completing the journey she began over 40 years ago to become a pilot.
Linda and her husband, Ron, moved to the area in 2007 after Linda retired from Trane in northwest Arkansas. Ron was a longtime pilot, beginning flying in 1949 and even operating his own flying service in California for a few years. The Loves found the airport, formerly owned by Randall Woolaway on Highway 76 near Cassville, with everything they needed: a house, a hangar and an airstrip. They set to remodeling the hangar and house and transitioned away from the busy bigger city to Cassville where they could fly and enjoy their retirement.
However, when Ron had a stroke three years ago, their plane was put in the hangar and grounded with no one to fly it.
Then, earlier this summer, Linda decided to finish what she started in 1971 and get her pilot’s license. She said, “Back then, I started flying lessons for a private license just so that if something happened while we were up in the air, I would know how to use the radio, find an airport, and land if I needed to.”
Soon after that, the couple moved to northwest Arkansas. Linda said, “We got busy. One thing led to another and I just never finished.” Now, Linda has a renewed desire to fly. She said, “After Ron had his stroke, he didn’t want to sell his airplane because he kept thinking he would fly again. Flying was his number one love in life. So, I just thought that I’d get my license so that we could both go flying again. If we were going to keep the plane, we don’t need to just let it sit there.” Linda is just a few steps away from finishing her training and being able to get back up in the air.
Linda is working with Danny Hendricks, a flight instructor at the Cassville municipal Airport, to get her license, and last Wednesday, October 8, she made a big stride: her first solo flight. Once she landed, Hendricks rewarded her with a solo flight tradition. He said, “It’s tradition to cut a pilot’s shirt tail off after their first solo flight. It means that they’re no longer flying on their instructor’s shirt tails.” True to tradition, when Linda landed, Hendricks cut off her shirt tail and wrote across it, “1st Solo - Linda Love - October 8, 2014 - CFI: Danny Hendricks.” Linda said she plans to hang the commemorative piece in her office.
Hendricks said, “It takes a lot of hard work to reach that point, and she really put that in.”
Now that Linda’s completed her first solo flight, she still needs to complete a cross-country solo flight 75 miles away from her home airport, pass a FAA multiple choice test, oral test and a flight test. She hopes to have that done before winter hits. She said, “I would hate to have to wait to finish it now that I’m so close.”
The Loves will be married 45 years in January, and if Linda’s time line is right, she’ll be able to have Ron back up in the air by then. She said, “We just want to enjoy our plane while we can, get in the air and have a good time.” Linda’s powerful spirit will get them there, and she’s proved that age is just a number.