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Spirit of the Tri-States: 70 years in the air

Spirit of the Tri-States: 70 years in the air

An Adams County man will never forget some of his dying mother's last words.

Randy Phillips took his mother's dying wish to heart after her death in 2007.

This Spirit of the Tri-States report brought to you by Continental Cement and Green America Recycling shows you how he's taking his mother's memory to new heights.

"I've been a pilot since about 1990," Phillips said. "I flew for quite a few years, and then life got in the way."

"When my mother was about two weeks away from dying in the nursing home, I went over to see her one day," he explained. "She reached out and grabbed my hand with more strength than she should have had at that point. She grabbed my hand, shook it and said, 'don't you ever, ever give up on flying.'"

Phillips took his mother's words to heart.

He bought a 1946 Stenson 108-1 off eBay not long after his mother's death.

"The Stinson aircraft, the Stinson model, were sort of considered the Cadillac of personal aircraft," Phillips explained. "Their motto was, 'the Aircraft standard of the world.'"

Phillips love of flying started when he was a child.

"After church on Sunday, 'well, what are we going to do today, Randy? What do you want to do? Let's go to the airport,'" Phillips said. "We would come here and sit by that fence right over there and watch for airplanes coming in. I've been fascinated by them all my life. I just love the idea of flying."

Phillips said airplanes must have a yearly inspection by an authorized aircraft mechanic.

"If you find anything wrong with it, anything at all, if one nut or bolt isn't tight enough, it's grounded until that is fixed," Phillips said. "The maintenance on these, any type of aircraft, is meticulous. So yes, they're very safe."

Phillips' plane turns 70-years-old on Monday.

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