The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 2, 2009

NASA Advisory Council members share a connection with community


Two days in Enid were an important event in my emotional life never to be forgotten.

Eileen Collins

I attended Undergraduate Pilot Training Sept. 1978 to Aug. 1979. I was fortunate to be selected as a T-38 instructor pilot and returned to Enid for three years.

I decided to invest in the real estate market and was adventurous enough to purchase my own home. As a young second lieutenant, I did not have much money and owned very little. I remember meeting with about four bankers, discussing how I would pay for my mortgage.

When asked how much my personal property was worth, I added up my bike, TV and stereo. I think I told them I owned under $500 worth of personal property! They just stared at me in disbelief.

Then one said, “You normally insure your personal property for half of the home’s value.”

Well despite my sparse living, they gave me the loan anyway. This was the start of a great relationship between myself and the Enid community. I enjoyed a strong relationship with my church, weekend motorcycle rides with friends and exploring the beautiful western Oklahoma plains.

I also flew small aircraft on weekends as I visited airshows around the state.

I still have great memories of gazing at the clear night skies, while becoming in-spired with the science of astronomy. I bought a telescope while living in Enid. I also remember long runs, smelling the clean clear air and the exhilarating feeling of standing on the flight line when a cold front passed. Wow!

Tom Jones

On a brilliant afternoon in May 1978, I strapped into a Northrop T-38 Talon and rocketed into the blue sky over Enid, easing effortlessly up through white cumulus clouds towering over emerald wheat fields 20,000 feet below. The approach controller watched the twisting blip of my Talon on his scope and radioed, “Must be some nice ‘puffies’ up there today!” He heard the laughter in my reply: “Roger that!”

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