Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Dream of Flight: Lifelong Wish for Wings Fulfilled in a Wrecked Vintage Plane

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Dream of Flight: Lifelong Wish for Wings Fulfilled in a Wrecked Vintage Plane

Article excerpt

Airplanes fascinated Stephen Christy since childhood. He read everything he could about aviation. Pioneer Charles Lindbergh was one of young Christy's heroes.

"I was always interested, but I never had any money to buy a plane," says Christy, who is president and CEO of Mascoma Savings Bank, Lebanon, N.H.

Christy's father was a Presbyterian minister, and the family moved every five years or so when his father moved to a new church. It was not a profession that built up family wealth. Christy had an uncle who flew B-47s in the Air Force, and who owned several planes over the years. One was a Piper Comanche, and another was a twin-engine plane that the uncle and his wife, also a pilot, flew to Europe in the '70s.

"That was before GPS," says Christy, 64, with admiration. "We take many things for granted in aviation today."

Christy's uncle and aunt knew of his interest and offered to teach him to fly. But the planes they owned proved too advanced for a beginner, and money again stymied him. He couldn't afford fuel for lessons.

The closest Christy came to reaching the clouds was a seasonal job over eight summers with the Mount Washington Cog Railway, in New Hampshire. The tourist rail line has climbed New England's highest peak for over 100 years. Christy learned to run locomotives up the extreme grade. However, he much preferred working in the railway's shop, overhauling engines and other work. He actually helped build one locomotive from scratch.

Born in Atlanta, Ga., Christy fell in love with New Hampshire and its cooler weather, and joined the bank in 1973 as a teller, still grounded.

But in 1990, he decided it was time to do something about his dream of flight, or put it away. …

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