Author Archives: Peter D. McQuade

About Peter D. McQuade

Peter D. McQuade lives with his wife, Marilyn, in Colorado Springs, but his heart never left Boise, where he grew up. An aeronautical engineer, professor of astronautics and space systems engineering, and retired Air Force officer, he’s an avid student of aviation history and loves to build and fly competition model gliders.

Walden in the Foothills

It was 1971, and the brilliance of the late-May sky shone through the model airplane’s translucent white wings as it glided high overhead in wide, majestic circles. “Go, Falcon!” I shouted to the glider and to my audience, the empty hills and canyons of Hulls Gulch overlooking the Boise Valley. Continue reading

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The Shred Shed

I hung up the phone and clutched my seventeen-year-old forehead, dropping my elbows onto the wobbly card table. “I stink at this,” I whispered. Across the mostly empty room, my high school classmate Ron was in the middle of nailing another sale. He made telemarketing look so easy. Geez, I’d buy from him if he called my number. Continue reading

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Bewitched by the Gooney Bird

My brother and I shared a dream of flying—something that most Americans in 1965 had never experienced. Like everyone, we were awed by the allure of the sparkling new jets that graced magazine covers, which boldly heralded the arrival of “the jet age” and “the jet set.” We had seen jet airplanes before. For a few years, we occasionally saw one pass many thousands of feet above us, etching a long, white contrail in the blue as it leapfrogged over our valley, and our state. They were always so high, we couldn’t tell whether we were looking at an airliner or a military plane. And then, in October of 1964, United Airlines introduced its first tentative jet service to Boise. Thus began a period of wondrous and uneasy transformation for Will and me. Continue reading

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