Hugh Rickman, 18 at the time of this photo, "thumbs a ride" with James Essary.
The Ercoupe is specially designed for pilots with disabilities, has no rudder pedals.
James Essary for several years Henderson County Register of Deeds, was one of the first in the county to fly for pleasure and gave many local residents their first flying experience. Following is and account from the January 23, 1953 Lexington Progress of Mrs. C.B. Scatterday's flight with James.
January 23, 1953:It has been my privilege to do a little sky-riding lately. In fact, only one afternoon last week I was peering down at my neighbors in Lexington, Chesterfield and Darden from a plane at a height of about 1100 feet and thoroughly enjoying identifying houses, ponds, fisponds, etc., which appeared to be only toy size from such a distance.
Maybe you wonder what an old woman was doing soaring around in the sky. Well, its like this. About two months ago the Knoxville Journal carried a picture of James Essary of the Essary Radio Shop in Lexington. It devoted a whole column to the fact that James had been dependent upon a wheelchair for conveyance for the past eleven years, in fact, since his back was injured in a fall from a 45 foot bluff while on an outing on the Tennessee River, October 26, 1941. He has been flying a plane for two years and won a Private Pilot's license in March 1952. He was the second paraplegic in the Southeastern CAA district to earn such a license.
This article in the Knoxville paper was occassioned by a flight made by James and his sister, Mary, to visit their faher, J.L. Essary, in Knoxville. The reporter watched James climb into the plane, take the controls and fly away alone on the return trip to Lexington, a distance of 300 miles. He was inspired to play tribute to a fellow who not only won't stay down but even does the impossible.
Then last month, I saw another picture of James in a a Dallas Texas paper and another long write-up occasioned by the fact that he had flown down to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl, accompanied by Jerry Frizzell of Mechanicsburg PA.
It occurred to me that we have a celebrity on our doorstep and don't know it. That's the way it goes. "A prophet is not without honor save in his own country."
So I decided that I'd like to avail myself o the the opportunity of taking a ride with James. I broached the subject and he immediately closed the Rdio Shop and off we went into the wild blue yonder.