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Fly high, Howie

Dear Editor:

For the past couple of days, great memories I have had with Howie Mayer have been shuffling through my head. The old man was my mentor and a great friend. Growing up Howie was very close to me, and taught me many things. When I heard of his passing, I wasn’t quite sure what to say or think. I was in a state of disbelief. Despite his passing, Howie has left a lasting impression on all that were close to him and it hurts us all to know that we have lost such an amazing friend.

Howie taught me how to fly planes. When I was about 9 years old I decided to become an airplane hobbyist. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. I had spent almost an entire year trying to build my own from scratch. And when it came time to fly it, I never built up the courage to actually put a year’s worth of work on the line. Howie was the one to step in, teach me how to fly and encourage me that I cannot succeed until I try. Every day at 9 a.m. I would wait for Howie’s white mini-van to slowly roll down the dirt road to Mr. Moore’s field. Of course he would get there, push his little baby carriage full of equipment over to the air-strip and un-fold his chair. That was the first thing he would do; unfold that lawn chair and face the snow covered peaks in the distance. He would sit there for awhile while I fooled around with all my stuff trying to remember everything he had taught me a day before. Howie would maybe fly once or twice within the time I spent at the field, but he spent most of it in his chair looking out over the Snowmass valley. He loved that view; the one of snow covered peaks contrasted against the bright blue sky, maybe surrounded by scarce clouds. Honestly some days I would leave the field, drive past it a few hours later and still see his figure sitting in that chair.

Howie had many friends who cared for him, respected him and valued his friendship. It’s hard to know that when I go to the field in times to come, I will fly without the presence of my mentor. However, what I will have is flying strategies Howie taught me and lots of great memories. Thanks Howie. Fly High.

James Britvar

Woody Creek


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