Friday, September 13, 2013

Local WW II Pilot

Joe Pellerine, pilot and owner of Pacific Canvas.
Today I had to bring in my airplane's canvas cover for restitching. It was given to me by the previous owner so I have no idea how old it is. Luckily, it had the name of the original company stitched on it, Pacific Canvas of Oceanside, CA.

I called the company and spoke to an older gentleman named Joe who owned the business – he told me to bring in the canvas cover and they'd repair it for me. It turned out that it only needed an hour's worth of stitching to redo all of it so it'll be as good as new when I get it back.

As Joe wrote up my order he asked me if the canvas cover was for a boat. When I told him it was for a plane, his eyes lit up. For the better part of the next hour I eagerly listened to his experiences flying a B-25 in the South Pacific during WW II – including three crashes without getting a scratch. He loved flying so much that he'd bought three personal airplanes over the years.

He looked great for 90 years old. The only reason he stopped flying was due to heart surgery last year. He was as sharp as a tack but said that the anesthesia from his surgery had slowed him down a little as he continues to recover from it. I could have easily listened to his stories for another hour except that the Oceanside Fire Department showed up with some canvas work for Joe.

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