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Slats Rodgers and the Love Field Lunatics

GATEWOOD, JIM

A very accessible and colorful read that skips the harsher vocabulary of the actual "Slats" Rodgers story, this title does a good job at chronicling an important aspect of the history of aviation in Texas.

Its pages take us back to a time when accumulated wisdom did not stand in the way of ingenuity and risk taking as much as today. More locally relevant, however, is the fact that Rodgers put Keene on the map of early aircraft engineering in Texas by building a plane in town.

Never mind the coincidental nature of that historical development. To date Old Soggy, the plane Rodgers built, continues to be an irresistibly endearing part of local lore. However tenuous Rodgers' connection with Keene, or with Adventism for that matter, the prominence of an Old Soggy replica in the Hoops Museum proves it.

The preservation of this remarkably fortuitous chapter in Keene history was partly in memory of local hobbyist aviator R. C. "Doc" Hausinger, owner of Nu-Cushion Products and builder of the first airplane hanger in Keene, whose flight instructor was Rodgers himself.

Gatewood does an excellent job at putting context in this fictional account of history. The story transports us to the exciting days when aviation was in its infancy and highlights the milestones along the way. Rodgers' is a quintessential American tale of unbounded optimism and endless possibilities.

By Alfredo Vergel
Submitted: May 9, 2013