But at the moment I was daydreaming when up walks a skinny old guy, his belt pulled tight to hold up his pants. “What model is it?” he asked. I’d answered the question probably a hundred times that week, but at that moment some synapse didn’t close properly in my brain and out of my mouth came, “S35V.” He tilted his head, and it was then that I recognized him as Bonanza aficionado John Miller and I also recognized that I was in for a lecture. “There is no such thing,” he remarked. “It looks like a V model.” I knew it was fruitless to correct my mistake. And I also knew I was about to learn something about Bonanzas. For the next 20 minutes I listened and absorbed as Johnny walked around the airplane and commented about every part of the airplane, giving me worlds of insight into the history of those remarkable airplanes.
Aviation lost an icon this week when John died at age 102–a fount of knowledge dating back some 84 years, nearly to the beginning of aviation. John started flying at age 18. It’s hard for me to believe even now that he was 95 when he corrected me at Oshkosh. He was an active pilot nearly to the end. Over the decades, he has touched the lives of thousands of pilots, whether in person or through his books and magazine articles.
We’d enjoy reading your remembrances of this remarkable man. Click on the “post your comments” link below to share your Johnny Miller stories.
Tags: Tom Haines