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Before taking off on a special flight on Jan. 9, Barbara Thurber, 77, and pilot, Tom Aberle share a laugh after Aberle asks, “So Barbara, you ever been to Las Vegas?” Thurber has the distinction of being Fallbrook Airpark’s first certified flight instructor.
Before taking off on a special flight on Jan. 9, Barbara Thurber, 77, and pilot, Tom Aberle share a laugh after Aberle asks, “So Barbara, you ever bee...
Jerry Aberle, left, and Andy Paterson, right, help Barbara Thurber into the front passenger seat of a Cessna at Fallbrook Airpark for a flight on Jan. 9.
Jerry Aberle, left, and Andy Paterson, right, help Barbara Thurber into the front passenger seat of a Cessna at Fallbrook Airpark for a flight on Jan....
Fallbrook Airpark’s first certified flight instructor, Barbara Thurber is pictured in this 1968 photograph taken at the airpark.
Fallbrook Airpark’s first certified flight instructor, Barbara Thurber is pictured in this 1968 photograph taken at the airpark.
Barbara Thurber, 77, sits in a wheelchair next to the Cessna that she took a special flight in on Jan. 9 at Fallbrook Airpark.
Barbara Thurber, 77, sits in a wheelchair next to the Cessna that she took a special flight in on Jan. 9 at Fallbrook Airpark.
Barbara Thurber, left, and pilot Tom Aberle prepare for take off at Fallbrook Airpark on Jan. 9.
Barbara Thurber, left, and pilot Tom Aberle prepare for take off at Fallbrook Airpark on Jan. 9.
Tom Aberle speeds down the runway at Fallbrook Airpark to take off for Barbara Thurber’s special flight.
Tom Aberle speeds down the runway at Fallbrook Airpark to take off for Barbara Thurber’s special flight.
Taking to the sky, Barbara Thurber took a 20-minute flight around Palomar Mountain on Jan. 9.
Taking to the sky, Barbara Thurber took a 20-minute flight around Palomar Mountain on Jan. 9.
Barbara Thurber was beaming with excitement after her flight offered by her friends at the Fallbrook Airpark. She hasn’t flown for two decades so this day brought her genuine joy.
Barbara Thurber was beaming with excitement after her flight offered by her friends at the Fallbrook Airpark. She hasn’t flown for two decades so this...
Barbara Thurber was beaming with excitement after being offered a flight by her friends at the Fallbrook Airpark. She hadn’t flown for two decades, so this day brought her genuine joy, she said.
Barbara Thurber was beaming with excitement after being offered a flight by her friends at the Fallbrook Airpark. She hadn’t flown for two decades, so...

Fallbrook aviator takes to the skies again


Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Issue 03, Volume 18.
Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent


Barbara Thurber obtained her pilot’s license in 1968, and within two years she became Fallbrook’s first homegrown certified flight instructor. Her flying career ended after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in April 1972, but she never lost her love of flying.

On Jan. 9, Fallbrook Air Service (FAS) gave Thurber a surprise - the opportunity to go up for another flight. FAS owner Tom Aberle was the pilot in the Cessna Cardinal C177 while FAS manager Jerry Aberle organized the event.

"She enjoyed it and her family got to see her go for a ride," Jerry Aberle said.

Tom Aberle is Jerry Aberle’s father. Barbara Thurber’s father was Bill Thurber, who was best known as Fallbrook’s first fire chief but was also one of the founders of Fallbrook Community Air Park.

Tom Aberle’s parents founded Fallbrook Air Service, which provides flight instruction and hangar rental. Although Barbara Thurber’s affliction prevented her from flying, she remained with FAS as the office manager.

"She obviously knows the language, the lingo, the methodology," Tom Aberle said.

"She’s been hanging out at the airport. Her drive is inspiring.  Her passion for aviation is inspiring," Jerry Aberle said.

"Her tenacity and her focus and love for aviation and the airport have always carried through," Jerry Aberle said. "She’s inspirational.  She’s an amazing lady."

Darrell Murray loaned his Cardinal C177 for the ride. "We selected an airplane to be used very Advertisement
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carefully," Tom Aberle said.

Aberle explained that the disability access needs included suitable door width. He thought that getting Thurber in and out of the plane and her seat might be a challenge. "The use of that airplane made it very easy," he said.

Thurber’s older daughter, Debbie McClaughry, sat in the back of the C177 to maintain separation between Thurber and the flight controls if Thurber became laterally unstable, although that did not happen

Thurber’s other daughter, Donna Basinger, watched the flight as did Thurber’s granddaughter, great-grandson, and great-granddaughter. Her grandson had to work in Murrieta that day although his wife, Kimberly McClaughry, is one of Thurber’s caregivers and was present as was Thurber’s other caregiver,

Paloma Perez.

The Jan. 9 flight began around 10:15 a.m. and lasted approximately 40 minutes. "It was really very nice," Thurber said.  "It made me remember a lot of things."

Tom Aberle took Thurber for a scenic aerial view of Fallbrook, including the ranch on Red Mountain her father owned. He also took Thurber for a view of Temecula. "Got her a look at French Valley, which she’s never seen from the air," Aberle said

"I don’t think she stopped smiling until well after we were back on the ground. I think she enjoyed it tremendously, and I’m very happy we did it," Tom Aberle said.

"It was really good," Thurber said. "I’ll have to do it again next year."


 

4 comments

Comment Profile ImageWonderful
Comment #1 | Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 7:06 am
Great photos, makes me smile
Comment Profile ImageShane
Comment #2 | Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:04 am
Good job Barbra, I am happy to say that you helped me learn a lot about aviation. Thanks Tom, Darrell, and Jerry.
Comment Profile Imagemarinewife
Comment #3 | Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 at 10:00 am
I agree....this picture makes me smile too!
Comment Profile ImagePenny and Joe
Comment #4 | Monday, Jan 20, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Wonderful to see those terrific smiles, Barbara and Tom.We know it was a fantastic day and we are so happy to see Barbara take to the air once again.The best ground school teacher ever. lots of love.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.

 

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