Lt. Col. Doversberger RET. (RIP)
When I first met him, he was just a local neighborhood farmer that I did work for.
He was a quiet man. Never saw him get excited and always soft spoken.
I knew he was a pilot and owned a Champ.
What I didn't find out until later, he was a B-17 Command pilot in WWII.
He came over one day and wanted to know if I was busy and had time to go fly with him. He didn't have to ask twice. I am never so busy to not go flying. That was the first time. There were several more. On the way to the airport that first day, in his pick up truck, we had time to chat. That is when I found out, after knowing him for several years, he was a B-17 pilot.
After the first ground trip to the airport he flew out of, I suggested we could fly my plane from my home base to his airport and get in his plane and go fly some more, then fly back in my plane. That was a big hit and the way we did it for the rest of our flights together.
Gene was an excellent pilot. Everything was spot on. He did one of the meanest spins I ever rode through. 3 tight turns and out. And if he didn't come out exactly on heading at the end of the 3rd turn, we did it again, in the opposite direction. I was glad when he got it right the first time, and he did most of the time.
What I found out later was, Gene was having some health issues and couldn't pass his physical anymore. I was tail dragger rated and his safety pilot in case something went wrong. I was also his ticket to staying in the air. I had no problem with that. I felt privileged to be flying with him, even tough I was pilot in command. On paper.
On our last flight, I noticed Gene had a slight limp but didn't think too much about it. He didn't say anything. Everything went normal until Gene was landing at his home base. On touch down, he was still side ways. He had slipped in, in a slight crosswind and didn't straighten up for the touch down. Not like him. ???
As we were pushing his plane back into the hanger he commented, That light stroke I had must have effected me more than I thought.
That was our last flight.
I will always remember Gene coming through the shop door with a big grin on his face and asking, " Are you busy ?? "
It was a pleasure to know him and fly with him.
Rest in peace Lt. Col.