“Weekend Pilot” Takes Final Flight


The inspiration for thousands of “weekend pilots” through his columns and books, aviation author Frank Kingston Smith died last Wednesday of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 84. Smith wrote columns for AOPA pilot, Flying and Sport Aviation magazines and also penned the books “I’d Rather Be Flying,” “Weekend Pilot” and “Flights of Fancy.” He wrote a total of 16 books and more than 1,000 magazine articles and is credited with coining the term “weekend pilot.” AOPA President Phil Boyer said Smith’s musings helped him and countless others succeed in the left seat. “He had a wonderful way of making me feel that whatever fear or foible I experienced was OK, that it was all part of the common experience of flying,” Boyer said. Smith learned to fly in 1955 as a way to relax from being a lawyer. He then realized that it wasn’t that hard — it was an acquired skill — and he set about passing that wisdom to others. His first book was “Weekend Pilot” and it gave his down-to-earth assessment of the challenges and joys of learning to fly. Smith is survived by his wife Marianne and their three sons, Frank Jr., Doug and Greg.