AKA Rusty Bounds
Collection of Ursula Bounds Kalamaroff
Courtesy of Phyllis Cato Ferguson
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir
A 50-lap grind with Oklahoma drivers contesting for $1000 purse in the Oklahoma sweepstakes championship is the main event on the program. Raimey, Hoffman, Horey, Endicott, Kilpatrick and Gunning will give exhibition trials and novelty races in their racing cars.
Rusty, it always seemed, just have been born with wings and he died with them Sunday, victim of a churning propeller which struck him down from behind at Cimarron field Saturday. There, he still was keeping them flying in his twenty-eighth year at the stick.
When they conduct services at 3 p. m. Tuesday for Rusty, the damp eyes of ordinarily hardened men gathered in the First Presbyterian church will pay tribute to a great flier and a great instructor.
If Rusty had come "spinning in" calmly trying to talk some frantic fledglling off frozen controls, the heart break would not have been half so bad to the legion of pilots and former students who knew him down the years. Rusty might have expected it to come that way.
Bit it seemed like a specially cruel and mean trick that fate played on the great insturctor in the end. It seemed that Rusty had to die finally to prove the point of the first lesson he hammered into the unnumbered students he gave wings.
This reporter was one of them when Rusty was an instructor in the civilian pilot training program. Overeager and itching to get at the controls, you found no helmeted, romantic Flash Gordon waiting at the field.
There was Rusty, thin, red-faced, sharp and cold eyes, wearing a brown felt hat, corduroy pants and a battered gray jacket, sitting at a desk rolling cigarette package tinfoil for his daughter to save. Everybody threw tinfoil into Rusty's desk.
"Glad to know you," Rusty said, shaking hands. "Let's go."
AND then the work began. You trudged in silence behind him out to the ship and you noticed he walked with the habitual stoop of men forever with the weight of parachutes on their backs. The propeller was the first thing.
"That's the prop." he would say, "and you'd better learn to respect it right now. It's a baseball bat with a motor on it and it's not something to lean on. Keep out of it's way and don't guess the switch is off when you touch it."
Then he'd show you how to spin it to start the engine.
He demanded, in taxiing, that the ship never proceed straight ahead but that it follow an S-shaped path so the pilot could see what was dead ahead. "And don't trust the brakes-take it easy," he insisted.
Horseplay was out. Wordless and poker-faced on the ground, he exercised an almost Prussian discipline in the air, rattling away like a verbal machine-gun. Precision and perfection in maneuvers were his only yardsticks and his students got a course in first-class cussing thrown in.
"Damn it," he would say, after sitting calmly through the hair-raising bounce of his student's landing, "that's what I call a 'prayer' landing. You just pull the stick back and pray it'll land by itself. That's what those suicides do."
AND then the day he cut the gun at 800 feet and shouted into the Gosport tube; "Okay, forced landing! Let's see you sit down in the grass over there!"
You circled and came in right over a nice green stretch, beaming with self-satisfaction.
"I said grass-not wheat! There's the grass over there- it's brown!"
Well, you thought it was grass.
"Damn it man," he stormed. "This is a course in flying-not agriculture!"
To alibis, he listened with the half-patient tolerance of a man who has heard the same joke countless times before. Then, he would shake his head and spend 20 minutes in explaining the correction of a stupid error.
To him, an airplane was like a finely-tuned violin. Th rest was up to the player-and he was a master. Could yuo ever forget his five-word sendoff on your solo as he climbed unexpectedly out of the front cockpit and said, quietly:
"Okay, do that again-by yourself."
YOU did it, more or less, with heart in your throat and he waved you around again. Then you taxiied up to him, hoping for a bouquet, and he climbed in and said:
"Okay, see if you can get it back to the hangar."
Ages later, it seemed, came the big day when you rode with the inspector and got your private license, much to Rusty's professed amazement. He invited you over for a cup of coffee and it was only then you got to know the great other half of him.
He burst into a big smile, razzed you roundly, pleaded to keep up safety and presicion in flying and laughed:
"I cussed the hell out of you, all right, but don't think I didn't see you out of the corner of my eye up there cussing me out, too."
But it was good for them and his students, many of them now in the army air corps and at least one in the R. A. F. in a fighter over the English channel, must when they get in a pinch hear Rusty's rasping voice talking them through.
It's just as well Rusty won't read this. If somebody showed it to him, he would find a convenient bit of tinfoil on the floor and turn away and grumble:
"Nuts! That's the damndest tripe I ever saw!"
But heaven help the angels he catches skidding on their turns.
All flight operations were suspended for the afternoon at Cimarron field where Bounds, flight director of the army primary training school, was fatally injured when he was struck by a propeller Saturday afternoon.
Sixty-two cadets of the flight which Bounds commanded as civilian instructor and the 54 instructors of the field entered the church in a group. Behind the flag-draped casket, banked with floweres, was a large spread of red wings made of flowers against a green background.
Rev. Ward Davis paid tribute to the 47-year-old aviation pioneer, who started flying in 1914, for his service to the cause of flying and for defense in serving as an instructor in two wars.
"Rusty has passed on to the other shore," said Mr. Davis, "his spirit being piloted by the Great Pilot of us all."
Then those at the funeral passed by the bier for a last look at Rusty, who went to his grave in the khaki uniform of a civilian instructor of army cadets. Many of them went along to Memorial park cemetery where he was buried.
There, while a half dozen members of the 40 and 8, American Legion organization, who said they came because Rusty was as much a veteran as any of them, performed a flag ceremony, six private planes piloted by the flier's friends, circled high overhead.
Active bearers were fellow instructors at Cimarron, Bob White, Joe Reed, O. C. Jones, Charles Brogan, Lyle Bressler, Joe Bates and E. H. Randel.
Honorary bearers were also fellow instructors: George Dale, Marvin Bradley, Dave Munro Jr., M. J. Pederson, Cal Appleby, C. C. Callahan and Claude Hoover.
Bounds is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ursula Bounds, and a daughter, Betty Jean, of 1948 Northwest Twentieth street.
Services Set Tuesday For Veteran Aviator
Bounds, who had been flying since 1914, with more than 6,000 logged hours to his credit, was flight director of the air corps primary school and was second in command of the civilian instructors at the field.
The accident occurred when Bounds was walking across the field to his plane on the flight lline. Another plane taxiing to the hangar, struck him from the rear.
Born in Marshall county, Oklahoma, Bounds attended school in Madill. He later studied at the University of Oklahoma before launching his flying career in California. He was a member of the First Presbyterian church here and of the Masonic lodge and Shrine in Elizabeth, J. J., as well as numverous air clubs and organizations.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Ursula Bounds, and a daughter Betty Jean, both of the home address, 1948 Northwest Twentieth street, and two brothers, Young, Separ, N. M., and Frank, Madill.
Services will be at 3 p. m. Tuesday in the First Presbyterian church, with burial in Memorial Park cemetery directed by the Guardian funeral home.
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