Ode To A Rose

Myrtle Rose is a 75-year-old widow who, according to news reports, has been flying “since the mid-1960s and even performed as a wing walker until five or six years ago.” She’s in the news this week, but not because her award-winning Piper J-3 Cub has a teddy bear strapped into its front seat.

Instead, her name and visage have been plastered over the general media because she made the egregious sin of committing aviation from the grass strip on her property outside Chicago.

The problem? President Obama was in town, and the Forces of Darkness had once again created a temporary flight restriction (TFR) over the area, preventing Rose and other innocent pilots from aviating.

Rose — whose computer wasn’t working, so she didn’t obtain a preflight briefing, and was flying with her pristine Cub’s radio turned off — was intercepted by a pair of F-16s. “I was just flying around,” she later told the Associated Press.

She thought the F-16s were simply admiring her plane, which had previously won a best-in-class award at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. In fact, she later told reporters she thought the F-16 pilots were very respectful of her since they avoided too-close passes, which could have forced her to fly through their wakes.

After landing back home, Rose was met by law enforcement officials, whom we hope immediately saw the ridiculousness of the situation.

Such was certainly lost on the North American Air Defense Command, NORAD. According to the AP, NORAD “suggested Rose had no business thinking that a military jet racing toward her would be in any way related to the cuteness of her plane.”

Cuteness of various airplanes notwithstanding, I guess it all depends on your frame of reference. There are those who view a late afternoon hop from your backyard in a classic taildragger as a threat to national security.

Others know it as a thing of beauty, of freedom, of expression. They view such a moment firm in the knowledge Rose’s Cub posed no threat to anyone or anything, save a few gallons of gasoline and maybe a half-dozen flying insects.

They remember the way things used to be, when the only thing we had to worry about was our own skill, when the world around us wasn’t trembling in fear. They recall a time when taking up the plane for a quick hop was a way to blow out the day’s mental cobwebs, when we used that too-short time aloft dredging up forgotten memories, and creating new ones.

Against the odds, they hope those days aren’t gone forever, but temporarily misplaced.

Thank you, Ms. Rose, for keeping that Cub in good shape, for talking to the media and for recognizing the absurd when you see it. Thank you, also, for reminding us things used to be different, and for reinvigorating our hope, however fleeting or misplaced, they might once again be as they were.



  1. Josh Wold says:

    Can someone please write a response to the post on this link please. The author went off on Myrtle Rose. It really got under my skin, but I’m really not sure how to respond to it.

    Thanks guys.


  2. Jack Hodgson says:

    Yeah. But part of me says not to dignify it with a response.

    I’m gonna let Jeb decide how to proceed here. Of the three of us he’s the one most smitten by Ms. Rose.