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Dr. Henry Shirmer Riley was born and grew up in the Wheatley community. A retired family physician from Madison, Ind., he now resides in Hanover, Ind.
James L. Pirtle of Milton, is a professional photographer, an Indiana State University graduate, and a gentleman farmer.
Riley began his flying career during his senior year of high school at New Liberty. He, his classmate (there being only two in the senior class) and two other friends had purchased a single-engine surplus plane from the military. The plane was located on a grass strip not far from the school. During study hall he would walk to the airstrip and fly for about 30 minutes before returning to school.
So begins his friendship with James Pirtle when they meet and realize the passion each has for flying. In the following years they made several trips in a single engine plan including one to the Malta Air Rally. Thus begins the idea of flying around the world in such a plane. On July 20, 1986, they take off in a 1958 PA-24-250 Comanche 542P single engine plane at Madison.
“Two Pilots – One Engine” is the book written by Riley and Pirtle. Told in their own words, they describe the adventure, pitfalls and challenges encountered covering 39 days and 26,970 miles – a flight around the world.
The two pilots will be at the Owen County Public Library for a book signing from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23.
Come meet them, and hear their stories. Even if you do not fly a plane, you will certainly enjoy reading this book. George Gumbert, M.D., president and co-founder of the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, states, “One of the most entertaining aviation stories you will ever read.”
Should you have any questions, contact Doris Riley at (502) 484-2321, for she is the Owen County contact person.