A Life of Aviation, with 25 Bomber Missions in the Middle

Written by John Agnew M.D. Sid Harris is still flying at age 93
Sid Harris, 93, is an active member of the Cape Coral, Florida, R/Sea Hawks Flying Club. Active for him includes flying twice a week, golfing three times a week (no cart), and swimming daily. He gave his bicycles away after breaking his ankle in an accident. Such bad luck, for a man born with an angel on his shoulder, is a rarity.

He began modeling while in high school, mostly stick-and-tissue rubber jobs including a handsome Monocoupe, but U-control (Control Line) also, with a Dreamer powered by a GHQ that was reluctant to run. He started college, then the war came along.
He began as a buck private with a rifle, then requested transfer to the Aviation Cadets and got it. He became a B-17 pilot stationed in England, where he remained until completing the requisite 25 missions—some of them harrowing. He said that, other than the first one, he was too busy to be scared. An 88mm shell blew a hole in “Sleepy Time Gal” behind his head. He has a photo with the repair patch in the background. He was back in the US transitioning to B-29s when the war ended, which was fine with him.

He completed college, found a career in the department store business, and learned that if he worked hard enough he could be a success. So he did. He continued flying, mostly in a Piper Arrow that only had one engine to worry about, until he decided he no longer belonged up there, with controllers assaulting with instructions all the time. (He said those in the Northeast “talked funny.”)

He had only brief interest in modeling after the war until he moved to Florida, where in 1993 a neighbor persuaded him to go and see the R/Sea Hawks field just to watch. He was promptly surprised and intrigued, and the next day visited the hobby shop and bought the whole bag—Goldberg Eagle kit, Futaba radio, tools, support equipment and all. He was off and running. He enjoyed the challenge of learning, especially enjoyed aerobatics, flew three times a week until recently, and accepted the occasional crash as part of the game. Angels don’t cover everything, you know. He says, “This has been a real asset in my life.” Knowing him makes that easy to believe. Currently, he is flying only ARFs and only electric power. Cleaning up the mess got old and convenience looked better and better.

He says, “People are 50% of the hobby.” With that attitude, R/Seahawk Airpark is a very good place to be.

More about that angel: When Sid was finishing college he got a blind date, went to the wrong address to meet her, and encountered a “gorgeous redhead.” She was only 18, but they were married in six weeks. Sixty-seven years later, they are still married and she is still a gorgeous redhead.

He has not, so far, won the lottery.

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Only knew Sid for a few years but never met a better fellow. Probably saw his B-17 in 1945-46 in Germany. Flew models with him at Cape Coral field several years. Good flyer. The kind of fellow everyong likes to have as a friend....Burnell

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