"Although I had been known from very early age to jump off one-story porches, garages, and roof tops with a bed sheet made into a parachute or flaring behind my back tied to my wrists and ankles a la Captain Midnight's glider chute on more than one occasion, my very, very first serious attempt to build a functional airplane-like craft that would carry me in flight was based almost exclusively on a glider I saw as a young boy in the 1947 black and white movie Tarzan and the Huntress."(source)

Below is a page from "500 Years Too Soon" the comic book narration of Leonardo Da Vinci and his Flying Machines as found in TRUE COMICS #58 March, 1947 wherein Leonardo first proposes his flying machine to his wealthy patron. The end results of me having come into contact with the Da Vinci story even prior to reaching age 10 --- with the unflagging support and help of my Uncle --- ended with the two of us designing and building an actual flying a machine capable of carrying a man, or in my case, a young boy, me, in flight. So said then, without my uncle's knowledge or approval, I took the craft down from it's construction lair, launching it from the roof top of a two-story building across the street by jumping off and holding on for dear life. The results of which can be found in full at:

Howard Hughes, Da Vinci, and Flying Machines

NOTE: If you click the comic page below a graphic of the actual comic book cover with the Da Vinci story comes up. Follow the directions and you will come to the complete Leonardo comic book story that had such an impact on me as a young boy.

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My mother died while I was still at a very young age. Within days of her death, because my father was just not able to come up with the strength needed to deal with it at the time after caring for my mother during years of her deteriorating health, what was left of our family disintegrated, scattered to the four winds, with my two brothers and myself each ending up living separately under the auspices of a variety of relatives, shirt-tale relatives and foster families.

Several years later my father remarried and a short time after that he called the family, that is my two brothers and myself, back together in an effort at being whole again. My new mother, or Stepmother as the case may be, was at the time, very wealthy and spared little or no expense to see to it that my brothers and I got almost whatever we wanted.

My uncle, who my stepmother brought in to oversee me, was a strong promoter of me building an actual flying machine for a number of reasons, but most prominently so --- cutting to the quick --- because of how it is explained in the following as found in ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT: The Path Unfolds, so sourced:

"At the time my older brother loved to build model airplanes and continued to build bigger and better models until eventually he was constructing huge gas engine powered remote control six-foot wingspan B-24 Liberators. He was also the apple of my father's eye. My uncle, noticing the situation, decided I too could impress my dad, only through art."(source)

Early on my stepmother recognized the above regarding my older brother's love for building model planes, and seeing he was so good at it set up, just for him and without concern for costs, a complete workshop with every piece of equipment or tool imaginable that anybody would ever want or need to successfully build a model plane or almost anything else for that fact. She also provided an 'open account' at one of the best hobby shops around, Colonel Bob's. What that meant was he could go to Colonel Bob's, take whatever he wanted off the shelves or order it, and with no money exchanged, just sign for it. The bill would go to my stepmother.

Colonel Bob's was located on West Pico straight north on Arlington and to the left a few shops within walking distance or a bike ride from the compound where my brother's and I lived. Often when my older brother would go there I would tag along because next door or possibly upstairs, I don't remember which, was a place that sold model trains that had the most beautiful model train setup that I had ever seen, with mountains, towns, cities, bridges, roads, cars, trucks, and busses. If the train stuff was part of Colonel Bob's or not I don't remember that either. I do know I went there every chance I got.

However, one day when I was inside Colonel Bob's with my brother a small group of men got into a rather heated discussion about the first airplanes. One of the men had a rolled up a comic book in his hand waving it around arguing with another man about the Wright Brothers and Leonardo Da Vinci. The man with the comic book threw it down on the counter and walked out. As it became slightly unrolled I picked it up to look at it. On the cover was a picture of a young man that apparently jumped off of a tower holding on to some kind of winged flying apparatus. The caption on the cover above the picture read '500 Years Too Soon' with a smaller caption lower down that read 'First World Flight.'

My brother signed for his purchase and walked out. The man behind the counter, seeing I was so mesmerized by the Da Vinci story I hadn't seen my brother leave, shook me on the shoulder and said I could take the comic if I wanted because he was sure the owner wouldn't be back very soon to get it.

The comic book was of course, the aforementioned True Comics, No. 58 with a cover date of March, 1947. The movie Tarzan and the Huntress was released at almost the exact same time, Saturday April 5, 1947. I am pretty sure I had the comic book with the Leonardo Da Vinci flying machine story in my possession and read BEFORE seeing the Tarzan movie, but either way, the two events all came together at the same time resulting in my building of and putting into use a flying machine of my own making.






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As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.

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