I met Bill Lear once, and talk about missing an opportunity!

I had flown commercial to Dallas, and a friend was going to fly us back to Houston in his Cessna, so I was standing on the ramp at the Southwest Airmotive terminal at Love Field, waiting for him, bag by my feet. It's 10:30 PM and not very busy, so I have a good view of this A/C as it runs the downwind leg, turns onto final, and makes a beautiful landing. It's a LearJet, which turns off at a taxiway near me, taxis over onto the parking area, and the driver shuts it down. A minute or two later, he gets out, walks into the building -- for a pit stop and a weather briefing, I imagine, and to file or amend his flight plan. Coffee might have figured into it at some point, too.

He comes back out, sees me still standing there, walks over, and asks me where I'm headed. "Houston", I reply. He says that he can get me there about 0800, but he has to make a stop in Kansas City first. I have to be at work at the Manned Spacecraft Center at 0700, and so thank him very much but decline.

"Another time, then", he says; "Any time at all." He sticks out his hand, and tells me "I'm Bill Lear." Then he walks over to the LearJet, gets in, winds it up, taxis over to the active, and throws it up into the sky again.


That was 1965 or 1966, and so I imagine the radios were all sandstate, but the engines certainly had parts hot enough to glow.