Attached are the files with the log of Ensign Robert “Bob” Stoerzbach. Dan Stoerzbach, Bob’s son and Galesburg friend and resident found them in his Dad’s desk while cleaning it out. Bob, longtime resident of Galesburg, passed away in October 2013 at age 89.
I had flown with Bob many times at Galesburg and he was always so happy to get into the Stearman. He still had all his faculties and could fly quite excellently but his eyesight and reactions were not as good as they used to be. I guess we can all say the same! Mike Lowe also flew with Bob many times.
His first “logbook” which is just this Spiral notepad is really interesting and enlightening as to what a 21 year old beginner was faced with in learning how to fly the Stearman. His drawings are meticulous and I think he must have had some draftsman training somewhere because they are incredibly accurate and detailed. His notes and comments are self -explanatory and he was quite critical and very determined to master this machine, which he certainly did. He was just as critical of himself on his solo flights as on the dual flights.
There is no note that I could find that indicated how proud he must have been to solo in eight hours and in only ten flights, just routine observations listing the “Maneuvers” and then his “Mistakes”. No self-congratulations or inflated statements, just business as usual! In only two places did I notice he made any reference to the current weather conditions at Ottumwa, Iowa in the winter of 1944! You know that it must have been just BRUTAL Stearman weather in January and February. This was just considered “normal” to these guys and most of us would not even take our airplanes out of the hangar in this kind of weather!! (At least not me!!!) I hope you enjoy this as much as I have and can publish this in the Stearman Flying Wire. I know that many others will find it interesting and enjoyable. Thanks again to Dan Stoerzbach and his family for sharing this with the Stearman community.
Sincerely, Cal W. Tax