After high school I joined the Air Force and became a dental technician. Although it was a great job, it was the Air Force’s idea, not mine. So after completing my military stint, I went to Valparaiso Technical Institute and earned an Associate Degree in Electronics Engineering. I also joined the Civil Air Patrol and was Commandant of Cadets. During that time I got my private pilot’s license, training in the Cessna 150. Unfortunately, time and money constraints kept me from continuing my real flying career.

 But after 35 years as an Electronics Repairman for the local steel mill, I now have the time to fly to my heart’s content in any type of aircraft I wish ... and at minimal cost. I refer, of course, to the wonderful world of computer flight simulation.

My interest in computers began when I bought a Texas Instruments TI-58 programmable calculator. Then came the Radio Shack TRS-80 followed by the Commodore 64, Texas Instruments TI-99, various IBM based computers, and up to the present Hewlett Packard 6645C. During this time I became proficient in DOS and GWBASIC programming. I can remember when a friend tried to convince me to use Microsoft Windows. I told him that it was the 'language of the devil.' Well I was wrong and boy, have I come a long way!

Over the years I’ve written over 500 BASIC programs. For eight years I was the secretary for a bowling league and we had bought a program for bowling statistics. But I was unhappy with it from the start and so wrote my own program which the league secretaries still use.

I spent my last ten years in the steel mills in the parts department. There I wrote a program to control the inventory of over 5000 items valued at more than one million dollars. I say all of this to explain why Charlie decided that I might be qualified to be the Database Officer.

And yes, I wrote another program ... to help with the roster updates. My work here at DC-3 Airways is mostly behind the scenes. It allows me to enjoy flying and get to know so many great people.

The President of the Indiana Aviation Museum has a full size J-3 on floats in his hanger at his summer home in Michigan. I've had the opportunity to fly 'front seat' in it with him (tandem seating in a J-3). What a blast from the past that was. Now, if I could just persuade him to add a DC-3 to his war-bird collection at the Porter County Airport ...

I cannot close without plugging my all-time-favorite book, 'Fate is the Hunter' by Ernest Gann. It covers the early days of commercial aviation, in the 30's and 40's, and focuses on the DC-3. I’ve read it at least five times and will read it again. If I had my way, it would be required reading to obtain a type rating! Give it a try. You'll be fascinated, too.

Bob Betts
Senior Vice President

President's Note: 0393 Bob Betts has been the driving force behind DCA for at least 15 years, working behind the scenes to make this VA what it is today and accepting no credit for his work. Bob gained his Silent Wings July 17th, 2017. He will be sorely missed. 0393 Robert "Bob" Betts February 28 1940 - July 17 2018

Bob Betts