– FLYING GRANDMOTHER –
An Interview with Theda Beningfield
In Raytown, Missouri, there lives a woman named Theda Beningfield. She has a husband, two children, seven grandchildren and a busy life. What makes this grandmother so unusual?
– When I first started flying, many members of the family thought I had completely lost my mind.
I didn’t start to fly until I was 48 years old. In the ten years I have been flying, I got a private licence, a commercial licence and an instructor’s classification. After that first 30-minute lesson, I didn’t know whether I would ever get a licence, but still I wondered whether I could solo that airplane; whether I would really have enough courage, enough knowledge and ability.
When the big day came and the instructor said, “All right, you can solo,” would I really be able to go off myself or would I just grab him around the neck and say, “Don’t leave me!” ? Mrs. Beningfield has part-time employment in a doctor’s office. Her job gives her the opportunity to work with people.
She also likes to keep busy by doing work for charity organisations.
Well, yes, I am the president of the Union City Mission Auxiliary. The Union City Mission has been gathering clothes and food for needy people in the Kansas City area for 50 years. Well, back to flying….
I feel that aviation is a real challenging thing; il is a real fun thing. I tell people that if they want to learn to fly they can learn to fly, if they really want to doit. The goal that we all have as flight instructors, of course, is making a flight safe. And the thing that will be uppermost will be the decisions that the trainees will have to make: decisions about weather, distances, deciding that they are familiar with their aircraft.
Every time I go into the air, there is something that I learn, and I do not believe that when you are flying, you can sit back and let some of these things pass by. You just have to keep learning. And then I just think, well, how wonderful it is that someone came up with this airplane that would put me up here in the air, because it is a beautiful thing to fly, really.
A. What do the following words refer to?
1. ‘if (line 22):
2. ‘do if (line 24):
3. ‘they’ (line 28):
B. Find words from the passage which mean the following. (Write one word only.)
1. to fly alone: to
3. good chance:
4. most important:
C. Mark the statements asTrue (T) or False (F).
1. Theda Beningfield started to fly when she was 48 years old.
2. After the first 30-minute lesson, Theda Beningfield got a pilot’s licence.
3. When flying, Theda Beningfield sits back and lets things pass by.
D. Look at the sentences from the passage and match the information in the two columns.
1. Theda Beningfield has the
a) which gathers clothes and food for opportunity to work with needy people. people „ _,_ . „ . .. .. .
1U b) who is a licensed pilot with a private
2. Theda Ben.ngf.ed is the |jc a ^^
3, licence and an president of the Union City instructor’s classification. Mission Auxiliary,
3. Theda Beningfield is a
c) because she has a part-time job in a grandmother doctor’s office.