Elton’s flying experience was initiated in the early 1950s with the Texas Air National Guard (ANG) at Hobby Field in Houston, Texas. That’s where Elton learned that flying could be exciting and fast; he flew the P-51 Mustang and the F-80 Shooting Star. He relocated to Southern California within a few months and transferred to the California ANG; his squadron was located at Van Nuys Airport. Most of his Guard experience was in later models of the North American F-86 Saber Jet. While living in Southern California, he joined a partnership that owned an Aeronca and learned how to enjoy the scenery while flying.
Elton left the Air National Guard in 1959 when he moved to Chicago. He worked for the Waterman Hydraulics Corporation until 1969 when he went into business for himself. His business grew to 100 employees and his company was active in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. As his business grew Elton was able to travel by air in North America in a company Bonanza and a company Cessna 340.
Elton lived in Chicago from 1959 to 1990, but to escape the big city and the frigid winter he vacationed on South Padre Island, Texas. In 1982 Elton joined the Confederate Air Force while vacationing in Harlingen, Texas. He participated with the Southern Great Lakes Wing of the Confederate Air Force at Chicago O’Hare International Airport when he was home, and with the South Padre Island Wing of the Confederate Air Force while vacationing in Texas. He also joined a flying club near Chicago where he often enjoyed aerobatics in a T-34.
In 1987 Elton sold his business in Chicago and his home in Texas. About the same time, he purchased his very own Bonanza and a new home in Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada. Until 1997 Elton traveled between the west and Chicago as a consultant.
Over a period of time he became attracted to Arizona. By 1989, Elton purchased a home in Sun Lakes. That is when he began to practice the annual migration habits of a snowbird. Having his own Bonanza for transportation made trips between British Columbia and Arizona a pleasure. However, by 2001, he realized that the cold, damp north Pacific air was just as uncomfortable to his bones as the bitter cold in Chicago had been; that’s when he sold his home in Nanaimo and became a fully developed “dry heat” desert rat.
When Elton became a member of the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force he met Sam Doria and they became friends. They discovered they were both Sun Lakers. Moreover, as they came to know each other, they learned that from 1982 through 1987 they lived within 3 miles of each other in Illinois. So, when Elton showed an interest in organizing an aero club at Sun Lakes, it was only natural that Sam would share his interest.
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