Record Breaker

Based on a Facebook Post by Mark Hiatt and information from Ed Leineweber
Posted December 2014

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) was founded in 1905.  It is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organization with the basic aim of furthering aeronautical and astronautical activities worldwide, ratifying world and continental records and coordinating the organization of international competitions.  They set the standard required to set a record, they monitor the record-breaking activity, and they maintain the official standings.  If it's not listed with the FAI...well, it doesn't count.

Bob Carlisle wanted to be a famous aviator like his heroes. When he was growing up, the newspapers were filled with the exploits of Lindbergh, Doolittle and Yeager. Bob made other choices and ended up in the shoe business in Norfolk, Nebraska with his brother. His brother was there at the beginning of the model rocket hobby, and has an entry in Wikipedia. Bob took flying lessons at the airport south of town and continued selling shoes.

Bob wanted to be listed as a record-holder recognized by the FAI, just like his heroes.  He did some research...and discovered that  to set a record, all you really need is some monitoring equipment, a few dollars, an official observer, and a course nobody else has flown, before.

So Bob was in! He filed all of the paperwork, acquired Bowers Fly Baby N4688T, built by Clarence Brueggman, and named the “City of Norfolk”.  He set up the record attempt with the FAI. When the time came, he flew from Lincoln, Nebraska, where Lindbergh learned to fly, to Sioux City. And he set a record.

Bob is gone, today. But he rests easy because his name is in the same book in France with Lindbergh and Yeager and Neil Armstrong, today. And he did it in a Fly Baby.

But the story doesn't end there...not quite.  Fly Baby aficionado Ed Leineweber now owns Bob Carlisle's Fly Baby.  It's in his basement, where he is working to restore it.  He visited Bob's widow, Laura-Nel, several years ago, and still corresponds with her once a year. He also met the builder, Clarence Brueggman, prior to his passing in December 2012.

Someday...the record-breaker may fly again!

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