Super Senior: Ed Scott

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 6:55 PM EST
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BERLIN, Vt. (WCAX) - At the state airport in Berlin, Ed Scott is taking me for a ride in his Cessna 150, and a whole new perspective.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Look at this, we’re seeing a view of the state capitol that most people will never see.

Ed Scott: I know, I thought I’d fly over that... Just put, putting around like this is fun.

It’s a quick sightseeing trip for a man who once flew helicopters half a world away. Scott flew Huey gunships in the Army, landing there in 1965. “You would shoot into a wood line and say, hmm, see if someone would shoot back. If they shot back, you could call in airstrikes, you could do other stuff,” Scott said.

One time, an enemy tracer came all too close to the cockpit. “Even now, the butterflies I feel from that. If that guy had raised his muzzle a foot or less, we would have been down in the jungle,” Scott said.

He also battled his emotions on the ground, seeing row after row of dead Black soldiers lined up ready to be sent home. “You know, there were racial and political aspects. Anyone with their eyes open could see this,” Scott said.

After his tour, Scott says he suffered from PTSD. “As soon as I got back, I had to try to figure things out,” he said.

That included going back to college in his 20s as a freshman. “The protests were just starting up. I was so out of it, absolutely out of it, and probably the loneliest I’ve ever been in my life,” Scott said. “I immediately had the opportunity to fly helicopters and I didn’t even want to see one.”

But he picked up the pieces, becoming a high school teacher and renewed his flight instructors license, training young people to fly for free, including Mara Stephens, a student at Montpelier High School.

“I don’t think he does it because he cares just about me, but he cares a lot about making the world better for people like me,” Stephens said. Now 18, she started training with Scott at just 16. “I’ve always loved airplanes and aviation.”

Back at the tarmac, the training continues. “The rudder -- make sure there’s no binding,” Scott instructs.

Although generations apart, the two are in sync inside the cockpit. Stephens now has her private pilot’s license, and with a 99 percentile on her SATs -- the sky is the limit.

“It’s really, really fun to see kids flying and doing so well,” Scott said, soaring with pride as he trains the next generation of pilots. “I want to know that I have left some tracks behind me.”

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