kit & gene aviation

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kit & gene aviation - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1969 ALTON EVENING...
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1969 ALTON EVENING TELEGRAPH THE PLANS-Gene and Kit Heacock smile happily as Kit holds up the drawings of their airplane, called the CP-750, and is of French design. Although much smaller, CP-750 will resemble World War II P-51 Mustang. DIAGRAMS — Kit Hcacock puts schedule of aero acrobatics in -cock- pit as she, prepares stunting exhibition. to take off for All-Male Audience Applauds Housewife Is Aerobatics Champ By L. ALLEN KLOI'E Telegraph Staff Writer The pretty, petite blond, carrying her purse and a basket of knitting, strolled across the grass and the airport parking ramp as if she were a spectator out to soak up the drama of the fly boys. However, with a bright smile, she handed her purse and knitting basket to a friend, approached an airplane and expertly climbed into the pilot's seat, strapped on a parachute, buckled the shoulder harness, and started the airplane's engine. This is the way Kit Heacock starts many of her days ' at Civic Memorial Airport. She is a professional at teaching flying and at air acrobatics. Kit and her, husband, Gene, are now building their own special type of stunt plane 'at their Fosterburg home. They hope to capture some of the top awlards in world competition. But the other day Kit was giving an exhibition of air acrobatics for a group of aircraft salesmen for the Walston Aviation, Inc. The engine revived, the wheels of the tricycle landing gear began to turn, and her borrowed plane rolled down the ramp toward a runway. After a check of the instruments and controls and an engine run up, Kit, as she prefers to be called, pushed the throttle to the firewall to gain speed for the takeoff and climbout. The tiny plane appeared smaller and smaller in the sky until Kit reached 3,000 feet before leveling off. She then checked the diagrams on a small piece of paper taped to the instrument panel before pushing the plane's nose forward to gain speed for the maneuvers she would perform. As some 50 spectators watched from the ground, the plane loooped, rolled, and spun through a preplanned program of aerobatics. After 20 breathtaking minutes, Kit landed the plane to the thundering applause of the mostly male audience. Her performance was considered unusual for a woman, but to Kit it was part of her daily routine, because she flies practically every day — not only to practice aerobatics, but to give Instruction to pilots who are working toward advanced ratings. Pilots not only come to her for their primary training, but for instruction on obtaining their comm e r c i a 1 ratings, instruments ratings, and for advanced training in bofh. She obtained her instructor ratings within three years after she began her primary training in 1961 This was a goal she set for herself, and in the past two years, she has assisted many pilots, mostly men, in becoming more proficient. Kit was a physical education and swimming teacher after she was graduated from college but the lure of a more glamorous profession led from her New Jersey homeland to Collinsville where she served as a medical claims processor for an insurance . company. It was at Collinsville that Kit took an airplane ride with some friends, and even though it was only 15 minutes, it convinced her to take up flying. While going through the primary stage for her private license, Kit was introduced to her future husband, Gene Heacock : a stress analysis expert for the flight standards division of the U.S. Government. Their common interest in flying found Kit and Gene meeting at the airport quite often, followed by frequent dates, and then marriage in 1965, just a year after their first introduction. Both continued their instruction, but Gene decided to take up aerobatic instruction in 1966, and since Kit had ot learn spins to get one of her ratings, she. too, decided to try her hand at aerobatic flying. The thrill of performing such maneuvers only enhanced by watching others do them, so Kit and Gene attended several aerobatic contests, especially the annual championship at Ottumwa, Iowa. Iowa. In a borrowed plane, Kit won the primary competition at Ottumwa in September, 1966, and Gene placed fourth in the men's division. Kit said her first win was due to the limited number of women in her division, but her flying friends said Kit just "out-and-out beat her competition." No matter which way it happened, Kit said she and Gene decided borrowing a plane wasn't the best way to win, so they began looking for an acrobatic plane of their own. After combing the ads, Kit's homestate of New Jersey produced a two-place "Stits," which the Heacocks decided to buy. Renting a plane, Kit and Gene flew the distance in 5% hours to pick' up the home-built aerobatic plane, but due to weather problems, it took 5i/ 2 days to fly the two planes back to Illinois. After getting the Stits home, Gene built in an inverted system, which made the plane capable of flying upside-down without the engine quitting, and of doing outside manuevers. which cannot be done under a normal fuel flow system. Both Kit and Gene went on to win many other aerobatic events, but both knew the Slits was still not. powerful enough to help them get into the world competiti'on. so they decided to build their own plane. So in August, 1968, they bought a set of plans for a French design aerobatic plane called the <.T-7.'/U. which although quite small, resembles the World War 11 P-51 Mustang. They knew that to build the plane would take more space than they had in Collinsville, so they bought a home in Fosterburg, and began the framework in the garage. Gene's knowledge in stress analysis has been a great help, Kit said, but the process is stili slow, because of the lack of time available to work on !.he craft, but even at that, they hope to have the CP-750 in (lie air in I he sprint; of 1971. Even though the new plane won't be completed in lime. Kit had hoped to enter the world competition in England in July. 1970, with the Stils. However, the engine went out during the summer, therefore, almost all but eliminating her for the tryouts. Now, Kit plans to go to England, and help the American team, which will give her a chance to see the world competition before she tries out again. on a in 12:30 4:30 STOP IN FOR A COFFEE BREAK AND FREE: 7-OZ. GLAZED • FREE MUG TO THE FIRST 150

Clipped from
  1. Alton Evening Telegraph,
  2. 13 Dec 1969, Sat,
  3. Page 3

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  • kit & gene aviation

    asinton – 14 Sep 2013

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