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Thursday August 21, 2014
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Washtenaw Airport

 

continued

"Both he and his wife were pilots. He would take me on cross-country trips, like to Howell, and check me out on takeoffs and landings. There wasn't a ground school requirement back then. People just studied the basics more or less on their own. Around that time, 1950-51, if you saw a plane pulling a banner over Michigan Stadium, chances were the banner was picked up at Washtenaw Airport."

MacVicar's [grand]daughter, Sandra Thompson, remembers a tragic accident that happened around 1956: "My [grand]father was testing an airplane that recently had an engine overhaul. He actually stopped the owner, who had his wife and children in the plane, from taking off. [Her grandfather] told the owner that no one was allowed to fly an overhauled plane until it had been fully checked out by him or the mechanic. He told the owner and his family to wait; he would take their plane for a test flight and be right back. He took two friends with him for the test, but they never made it back. An engine malfunction caused a crash that killed one friend and left [MacVicar] and the other man injured."

While MacVicar was recovering, his mechanic, Bliss, became a partner and managed the airport. Business fell off so much that a local farmer was allowed to plant corn everywhere but on the runways to generate income.

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