AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 54

The former Royal Air Force cadet first soloed in a Provost in the early 1950s, and that connection matters more than the airplane’s quirky shape or performance specs. Flying the Provost marked a turning point in Dale’s life when he realized he could overcome his doubts and fears, and do what others told him he couldn’t. It showed him the strength of his own will, and it’s a tangible reminder that real life can far exceed his own ambition and imagination. “I was 18 years old, homesick and airsick, when I first encountered a Provost, and it used to terrify me,” says Dale, 76, in a melodious English accent that remains prim and proper despite having lived in the United States for four decades. “Flying this airplane made me believe, for the first time in my young life, that there was anything to me. It was my first real experience at achieving something that I seriously doubted I could do. It created a lifelong hunger to re-create that delightful, elusive, and fleeting sense of accomplishment.” Grounded Dale was two weeks from becoming an active-duty fighter pilot in de Havilland Vampires when he was suddenly stopped by an insurmountable medical obstacle. A genetic inner-ear condition (since surgically repaired) disqualified him from military flying. He was crestfallen but redirected his energy to the automotive industry, and that led to positions at the Donald Healey Co., British Motor Corp., a move to the United States, and auto racing—where he became a production car national champion in the 1970s. His success on the track and at motivating racing teams eventually brought him to Jaguar, where his talents in marketing and business strategy propelled his rise to president of Jaguar North America. He retired in May 2000. Dale began general aviation flying in the 1970s while still racing cars and owned a Cessna 177RG, then a Stearman biplane. He has logged about 3,500 civilian flight hours and earned instrument and multiengine ratings.
AOPA PILOT •

At Jaguar, he pioneered crossover promotions between the automotive and general aviation industries. He donated a new Jaguar for the EAA’s Young Eagles auction, installed Jaguar interiors in Hawker Beechcraft King Airs, and displayed Jaguars at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in 1992—a practice that continues today with successor Ford Motor Co. “It’s a common misperception that car companies sponsor aviation events as some sort of charity,” he said. “Don’t believe it. I can tell you that Jaguar did very well at Oshkosh. Our car sales at the event more than paid for our sponsorship.” Dale flew a Stearman to airshows around the United States in the 1990s and served on the EAA board of direc-

For owner Mike Dale (above) the Provost marked a turning point in his life and was the key to his future success. The restored airplane is almost identical to the one in which he soloed as an RAF cadet. Flying over the Virginia countryside (right).

tors. Today he focuses on aviation endeavors closer to his home near Culpeper Airport (CJR) in rural Virginia, where he helps organize the facility’s annual airshow. Provost production Percival produced about 460 piston Provosts, and they were used primarily in the United Kingdom as military trainers in the 1950s and 1960s. Then they were replaced by a jet version of the Provost that was the mainstay of RAF training for the next 30 years.

The 550-horsepower, 4,300-pound (max gross) piston Provost was designed in 1948 to demand proper handling that would indentify weak students right away. By drumming them out of flight training early, the RAF focused scarce resources on students more likely to make it through the tough program. Dale made it, but not easily. He damaged the landing gear of a Provost during a flight with the training squadron commander and was told he’d be gone in two weeks or less. His replacement instructor, Jaroslav Sodek, was a Czech RAF veteran of World War II and spoke English poorly. But he went to bat for Dale and convinced higher powers that Dale had what it took to successfully fly fighters. In the late 1980s, Dale began searching for a Provost to buy, but few of the airplanes had survived in flying condition. He finally found a project—the last piston Provost ever manufactured—and had it sent to Kampel Enterprises in Wellsville, Pennsylvania, in 1990. Larry Kampel, renowned for Stearman restorations, and his technicians fabricated an almost new aircraft during the next eight years. Each wing contains 30,000 rivets, and the hardware is a mix of metric and English sizes. The quality and complexity of the workmanship is stunning, and Dale keeps a photo scrapbook of the airplane’s rebirth that documents the entire painstaking process. Dale’s wife, Mary, an enthusiastic proponent of his quixotic, costly, multiyear quest, had her name stenciled on the right side of the aircraft, followed by the letters A.A.G.S., a designation that stands for “All-Around Good Sport.” Dale has flown the airplane about 500 hours since its 1998 maiden flight, and it was named a Reserve Grand Champion that year, the first time it appeared at AirVenture. His hangar at Culpeper is stocked with a supply of spare Provost parts, and he habitually uses the Internet to troll the planet for more. When the Irish air force retired its Provost fleet, he purchased assorted parts that included extra cylinders, magnetos, air pumps, a frame to make new canopies, and more.

54 • FEBRUARY

2012



AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
Contents
President’s Position
Hangar Talk
AOPA Media
AOPA Action
Letters
Waypoints
Proficient Pilot
Safety Pilot
License to Learn
Pilot Counsel
Fly Well
Pilot Briefing
Rally GA: Pay Up
Budget Buy: Classically Quick
Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
Flying Wild in Alaska
On Brand-New Wings
B-Ball to Biplane
2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
The Bird and the Leprechaun
Avionics: Pilot Friendly
Technique: Wind Warrior
Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
Products: Anywhere Map Septa
Never Again
Fly-Outs
Fly by Wire
Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - President’s Position
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Hangar Talk
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Media
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Action
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Letters
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Waypoints
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Proficient Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Safety Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - License to Learn
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Counsel
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly Well
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Briefing
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Rally GA: Pay Up
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Budget Buy: Classically Quick
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Flying Wild in Alaska
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - On Brand-New Wings
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - B-Ball to Biplane
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - The Bird and the Leprechaun
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Avionics: Pilot Friendly
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Technique: Wind Warrior
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Products: Anywhere Map Septa
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Never Again
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly-Outs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly by Wire
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover4
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