Renton Farmers Market started its season Tuesday in the sun-scorched Piazza with the usual opening ceremonies and bell ringing. But…
Last summer, I introduced you to Maury Marler, a 90-year-old Merrill Gardens resident who is today training to earn a pilot’s license after a decades-long absence from the cockpit. Maury, as you’ll recall, is a retired Air Force navigator, who suddenly got the itch to fly again upon seeing the planes take off and land at Renton Airport from his window at Merrill Gardens in downtown Renton.
I thought I’d catch up with him to see what he has been up to lately. Well. A lot.
Maury is well on his way to getting his pilot’s license, making 40 to 50 trips in the air with his flying instructor at Galvin Flying, Len Quiat. He hasn’t soloed yet. But he has gotten some awfully great press. KING 5 News heard about him and featured him on the 5 o’clock news, which started a crescendo of publicity. Glenn Farley spent three hours interviewing him, and they sent a photographer up with him in the Cessna 172 to capture his landing. (“Try putting a 40 pound-camera in the back of a 66 Mustang,” Maury said. “That’s what THAT was like!). In addition, the news program had a helicopter following him during the whole trip; Maury was pretty impressed with the effort that was put into telling his story.
He won’t get to solo until his landings are a “grease job,” which I was told means a perfect landing with no bounces. When I asked what a landing that ISN’T a grease job is called he said, “that’s not fit to print.” I was planning to watch him fly one day and he rattled off the number for the Air Transportation Information Service and coached me on what to listen to on the weather report for appropriate flying conditions. “Visibility must be greater than three miles, the ceiling at 2,000 feet or better, wind at less than 10 knots.” My head was swimming with the information, but I thought I’d try. Wednesday morning I listened to the report, and didn’t quite understand what I was hearing. But that was OK. He had already emailed me to say that flying conditions were poor. (He must have known that I wouldn’t get it!) He’s even taken his son-in-law and great-grandson, Drew, up with him in the air.
I was curious how his family has taken to his return to flying, and he said they are extremely proud and supportive. Of course, this is the same family that took him parasailing for five days in Mazatlan on their last vacation! I hope you get your grease job before your 91st birthday on May 12, Maury! Happy flying!
Maury Marler of Renton thought his KING 5 story and Renton Reporter articles were fun, but what he didn’t know is that they would start some national and international publicity. Since appearing on KING 5’s program, Marler has been featured on an Australian morning show, called “Sunrise,” was mentioned humorously by Jay Leno and on April 16 will tape an appearance on NBC’s talk show “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” The show is scheduled to air at 2 p.m. April 17 on Channel 5.