While some of us may not be able to easily recall our earliest childhood memory, Jim Densmore, Jr. can. In fact, he has a spectacularly vivid first memory.
“I was three years old, sitting in the back seat of a Cessna 195, and Dad’s trying to start the airplane. It wouldn’t start, but it did start a fire,” chuckles Jim, “and my mom leaps out of the airplane with the fire extinguisher and puts the fire out!”
Fortunately, that scenario hasn’t been repeated. Jim continues to enjoy his family-related aviation memories while making plenty of new ones himself in the Cessna 180 Skywagon he owns. N6555A has been in the family ever since his parents bought it in 1960.
Jim Densmore feels privileged to own and fly this 180. Pilot Parents
Jim’s father, Jim Sr., earned his professional degree in aeronautical engineering at Cal Tech in 1949 and got married, and then bought a 50-hp Aeronca Chief in which he learned to fly.
“Dad said he had six engine failures before his first solo, because there was something wrong with the ignition system and they kept thinking they’d fixed it,” Jim recounts.
After earning his private pilot certificate in 1951 he sold the Chief.
“Then he bought an Ercoupe and flew it from Los Angeles to Philadelphia to visit my aunt — can you imagine going across the country in the 1950s in an Ercoupe? Then Dad and Mom bought a Tri-pacer, which they sold in order to buy one-half interest in the Cessna 195.”
The Densmore’s partner in the 195 bought them out, and Jim’s father used that money to buy the Cessna 180 (s/n 32452) when Jim was four years old. Jim’s mother, Linda, who was already a glider pilot, learned to fly in
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