For her seventh book, Edna Bell-Pearson, 98, a former columnist and reporter for The Daily Globe, tackled the story of Ungerer Flying Service in Marysville, a family-owned and -operated business.
The memoir, "Headwinds," covers a time when the United States was becoming the largest aviation manufacturing country in the world.
As an independent young woman, learning a photographer’s trade at the local photo studio and doing her part for the war by joining the Kansas Civil Air Patrol, Bell-Pearson writes of when the air base was located in Liberal and the manufacturing of small planes, designed for flight training and private ownership, with innovations of Cessna, Taylorcraft, Piper and Beech.
According to Bell-Pearson, the GI Bill of Rights made it possible for veterans to take flight training at government expense, and thousands who had missed out on flying during the war became pilots.
"This is a window in a Kansas that was emerging from Depression and war into an exciting and uncertain postwar world was a time when general aviation held seemingly unlimited promise and airports great and small came to reshape the Kansas landscape," said Jay M. Price, local and community History Program, Department of History at Wichita State University of the book. "Moving beyond the simple ‘GIs returned home and started flying,’ that we get in the textbooks, 'Headwinds' shows how every step from acquiring airplanes to building airports required an endless set of decisions from the men and women who wanted Kansas to fly into the future.
"A person reading 'Headwinds' will likely never see a small Kansas airport and local air service the same way again."
Bell-Pearson wrote a weekly business column for The Globe, along with features and news stories through the early 2000s.
She published stories, articles, essays and poems in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, literary journals and anthologies worldwide.
Bell-Pearson is the writer of "Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams and Other Stories," a southwest Kansas saga, which was named one of "150 Best Kansas Books" during the Kansas sesquicentennial year.
According to publisher Meadowlark Books, "Headwinds" can be ordered through any traditional or independent bookstore and is available at www.meadowlark-books.com.
The book can also be purchased by check for $24 and sent to P.O. Box 333, Emporia, KS 66801.
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