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Tom Hall Autobiography

 I was born in 1950 and raised in the Twin Cities suburb of New Brighton. Following high school (Mounds View) I moved to Rochester to live with my grandmother and attend the then Rochester Community College. I worked at Tyrol Ski Shop and painted houses for several years. I spent a year in Aspen followed by a year cooking on the off - shore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I returned to Rochester in the early 1980's. In 1985, I began a 27 year career at Charter House; retiring in 2012 as its Marketing Director. I met Leslie through the Traverse Ski Club; we married in 1989

Now the aviation part. My influences were certainly my father who flew new Grummans (F-4, F-6, F-8 and others) from the factory in Bethpage, NY to the aircraft carriers in San Diego. My uncle was a Northwest Airlines pilot who had the distinction of being the first Northwest captain to go to Cuba. It was a Minneapolis to Detroit run in 1971, diverted by a gentleman with a gun! At age 17, I became aware that one could go to Osceola, WI to make a parachute jump. With my father's blessing and authorizing signature I went and jumped; pretty exhilarating! When asked if I would like to make another jump (something I had not thought of) I did and accumulated about 300 jumps in the 1970's, in Osceola, Stanton and Dodge Center (we were granted space in the same hangar our Chapter currently owns.) In the early 1970's I joined S.E. MN Flying Club and logged about 40 hours in a Cessna 150; never took the check ride. I bought a hang glider, again in the early 1970's, flying mostly in Nelson, WI. I flew that hang glider from the top of Jackson Hole ski resort, in the winter with skis as take-off and landing gear. I had to sign waivers for the ski resort and the power company! In the mid 1990's I joined the Minnesota Soaring Club, logging about 40 hours. I flew gliders in Reno (Stead), Maricopa, AZ and in Calistoga, CA as I was traveling in those neighborhoods.

In 2002, while at Oshkosh, Leslie and I were intrigued by gyroplanes. Rides were being offered in Fond du Lac. The gyro was the RAF 2000; the one we were interested in. I made sure Leslie got the first ride. When she landed and got out of the gyro she said "Can we get one of these? " After a brief pause .. I said "If you insist". The kit arrived a few months later. The build time was about 18 months followed by lessons in IL and AR. We have been flying it for the past 10+ years and have 200 hours of very fun and incident free flying.