Welcome to EAA Chapter 1373!

The X chapter

We welcome Bob Said as an Honorary Lifetime Member

Here at EAA Chapter 1373, we’re fortunate to have as members some very distinguished aviators. Included among them is Bob Said. Bob grew up during the golden age of flight and WWII. He went on to become a Marine Combat Correspondent, a graduate of Yale University, and a writer, editor and publisher of many aviation magazines. This year marks Bob’s 90th trip around the Sun, and he’s had some amazing experiences. I’ve only captured a hand full, but I think you’ll enjoy reading about this extraordinary man.

Already a big airplane buff, at just six years old Bob got to fly in a Ford Trimotor that had come barnstorming through the Sacramento area where he lived.

I got to see everything from the sky and it just nailed me. I immediately started learning everything I could about flying. I made model airplanes out of balsa wood and tissue paper. I devoured everything in the Library on aviation including Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft. I got so I could identify every plane in the US Army Air Corp. I’ve been queer for airplanes ever since.

In high school, Bob found out his science teacher owned a Cessna 120 — fabric wings, no electrical, hand prop to start. He struck a bargain to build a model wind tunnel for the school Aviation Club if the teacher would show him how to fly. Bob recalls:

One day, we flew out away from the Salt Lake City area. My teacher suddenly pulled the throttle out, and I thought “ah, an engine out practice exercise!” As the plane descended in a power-off glide I searched for a landing site but could find none. So I went to push the throttle back in but the teacher slapped my hand away. “But I’ve looked everywhere and there’s no place to land that wouldn’t leave this airplane in hundreds of pieces!” I said. To which my teacher replied “then why did you bring me here?” That lesson stuck with me for the rest of my flying career: If there is no hope of landing on the terrain ahead, go around it!

After high school, Bob enlisted in the Marine Corp and was soon sent to Korea. As a Combat Correspondent, he covered Marine close air support activities at the front.

Bob_Said_Korea

I mooched every ride I could get. The pilots were always glad to have a back-seater who knew how to fly, who had some small amount of airplane time. Because if they got shot at and hit they had a chance of getting home. So I got a lot of free rides, and a lot of those guys let me fly the airplane for extended periods. I was 20 years old at the time and in love with airplanes, so it was great for me.

While in Korea, Bob received the Bronze Star (with Combat “V”) for meritorious achievement against the enemy.

Bob Said - Bronze Star


One of the first to be shipped home after the Korean conflict ended, Bob found Yale University only too happy to have him. After graduation, he joined the Washington bureau of the New York Times for a year. Then he went to work for the Salt Lake City Tribune, which at the time was the biggest major newspaper between Denver and the pacific coast.

But when Bob’s old boss in Korea called to ask him to join the staff at Private Pilot magazine he couldn’t refuse. “I had a knack for reading something and being able to tell immediately whether other people would like it” said Bob. In 1967, Robert Bach submitted a short story to Private Pilot and Bob recognized it immediately as something people would enjoy reading, so he asked Bach for a sequel, and later, a second sequel. These three short stories were eventually published in 1970 as the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Bob_Said_Private_Pilot

From then through the 80s, Bob went on to write, edit, and publish such aviation magazines as Plane & Pilot, Sport Planes (now called KitPlanes Magazine) and Soaring Magazine. Talk about living the dream.

I got to fly everybody’s airplane. It’s a tough job to be editor and have somebody call you up and ask if you’d like to put their new turbo supercharged something on the next cover of your magazine. And you say “fine, I’ll do it” and they say “what color do you want and where do you want to pick up the keys?”

Guys who owned old airplanes like Beach Staggerwings and old Stinson Reliants and all that always wanted a story about their airplane in a magazine. So I got to fly the most weird collection of stuff you’ve ever heard of. I’ve even flown the Goodyear Blimp! I’ve flown one of just about everything built in this country since the 1930’s. It was a great run.

On the back cover of Bob's log book are recorded some of the more that 80 aircraft types he has flown.


Bob_Said_Log_Book

After he retired, Bob was looking for a good airport and settled in Montrose. He joined EAA Chapter 1373 as one of our earliest members and held many officer positions over the years.

I bought a KR2 and extensively modified it — turned it from retractable to stiff gear, put a souped up VW engine in it. Graham paced me in his Whitman Tailwind one day at 7,500 feet from Delta airport to over Paonia at 157 mph, which is very fast for a KR. This was just a typical 2180 Beetle engine, but the compression was raised from 7:1 to 9:1, and a higher speed prop. And it just went like a bomb.”

Bob sold the KR to Graham Meyer (another long-time member) after he quit flying.

It has been my great pleasure to get to know Bob Said and to welcome him as an Honorary Lifetime Member of EAA Chapter 1373! I hope you will all get to meet and talk with Bob at our next meeting, the annual awards banquet. Until then,

Build, fly, repeat…
—Alan Collins, Vice President EAA Chapter 1373

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