On my way up to the Oshkosh Fly-In I got the chance to stop by and visit a long time friend of mine, Henry Haigh, and thank him for the donation of his gorgeous Curtiss Robin to the World’s Greatest Aircraft Collection. Henry lives just outside of Detroit, Michigan and I had not seen him in many years.
I first met Henry in 1973 at the US National Aerobatic Championships in Texas. It was my first Nationals in the beginning Sportsman Catagory and he was flying Unlimited in a modified Pitts. Having already built most my first airplane in High School, I was already fascinated with developing and building an aerobatic airplane of my own design. Since Henry was in the process of modifying his plane and trying new things, and at age 20, I spent a lot of time asking questions.
I had not seen Henry in many years and felt I needed to stop by and reminisce about old times as we’re not getting any younger. He’s now 87 and has recently had some health problems. On the way to his house, I got the chance to stop by and see his son Henry Jr. whom I had also not seen in years. He just happened to have a 40% R/C scale model of my Weeks Solution, which he says flies great. Now how cool is that!
Anyway, not only did I want to catch up with Henry Sr. and reminice about old times, but personally thank him for the donation of the Robin. We recently assembled the aircraft and ran its OX-5 engine with the intent of getting it flying soon. It will make a great addition to the displayable aircraft at Fantasy of Flight and will one day make a great character for my series of illustrated children’s books!
Henry and I became great friends over the years and flew on six US Teams together. At the 1988 World Aerobatic Championships in Red Deer, Canada he bested me by 35 points out of 17,000 to become Overall World Aerobatic Champion! I was happy for him and can’t complain for the second place finish because I think I’ve won more medals than anybody in US Aerobatic History with a total of 20! But I will always wonder if the Robin donation was a way to help make me feel better. No complaints from me Henry, and a big thanks for not only the Robin but for being such a great long-time friend as well!