My name is Fred Westbrook. A few years ago, when my son Josh was about fourteen years old, we visited an airstrip, called Blue Swan, in Sayre, Pennsylvania. It was a grass strip with a dozen small aircraft and ultralights. One gentleman was doing some low flying, up the strip and back. When he stopped, my son and I walked over to him and he showed us his ultralight and explained to us how it worked and that he had built it. My son and I were very impressed by it and spent some time checking it out and asking many questions. We told the man we were very interested and wanted to someday try to get one and put it together. After looking at all the aircraft that were there, we decided it was time to go. The gentleman told my son and I: "DON’T GET DISCOURAGED."
This was an epiphany for us which will become clear to you later. A few years passed and I asked my son if he would build an airplane with me. Well, of course he said yes, we could not get going soon enough. We looked at many kits and decided to purchase a Zenith STOL CH 750. It is a kit that comes in a large box, about 4’ x 4’ x 12’ long.
It was a challenging and rewarding endeavor that took us about 4 years. We kept repeating what the man had said: "DON’T GET DISCOURAGED." Finally, it was done, and we got out airworthiness certificate to allow us to fly. After many times taxing and short hops, it was time to take off. By this time my son was a licensed private pilot and had taken many lessons in the same model airplane.
One Saturday morning I watched him take off and with no problems he was circling above the field. It was very exciting, and terrifying, at the same time!
We have totally enjoyed the building and flying experience for a few years now. It has been awesome! We put a small decal on the airplane by the door that says “DON’T GET DISCOURAGED”.
Why is this statement so important to us? The man at the Blue Swan Airport had no legs from the knees down. He was able to get from his wheel chair into the ultralight and fly it with special hand controls. Here was a man with no legs telling us not to get discouraged. It was a true epiphany for my son and I. The airport is gone, we never knew his name, or what became of him. My son and I will never forget this kind man and his words: Don’t Get Discouraged.

Fred Westbrook
Owego, New York
Zenith STOL CH 750, powered by a Viking (Honda) engine.

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Comment by Perry Delano on May 15, 2021 at 8:33pm

Hi Fred,

Thanks for posting yours and your son's building story,  and that of an extraordinary person you met. Great Message for homebuilders and everybody.


Comment by Zenith Aero on May 14, 2021 at 3:48pm

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