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The Dansville Online
  • Back in the saddle again

  • It seemed that after a “minor accident,” a future Wayland dentist, Dr. Donald Dolan, would never fly in a 1940s-era biplane ever again. But nearly 70 years later, he got that chance.

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  • It seemed that after a “minor accident,” a future Wayland dentist, Dr. Donald Dolan, would never fly in a 1940s-era biplane ever again. But nearly 70 years later, he got that chance.
    Not only did he get to fly in a biplane, but it was the very one that he rolled over, and escaped from unharmed, in Ocala, Fla. in 1943.
    It was about a year ago that another Southern Tier dentist named Dr. Donald Dolan received a phone call out of the blue asking if he was the one who banged up the U.S. Army Boeing Stearman training plane in 1943.
    The Corning dentist said no, it wasn’t him, but it was in fact his father, who lives in Dansville. The caller, Lin Oakley from Kenly, N.C., a 747 Delta captain, had bought the refurbished biplane not too long ago, and found out about the 1943 incident through the plane’s accident report  and wanted to meet the former pilot.
    After a year, the two settled on a tentative date. Dolan received a call from Kenly on April 14 that he was in Philadelphia Pa. and was on his way to Dansville Municipal Airport with the plane, despite earlier threats of rain.
    “I never expected to see that plane again,”?Dolan said. When asked what he thought when he saw that plane approach and touch down in Dansville after 69 years, Dolan said with a wide smile, “it was exciting.”
    His ride lasted about 20 minutes.
    “He couldn’t stop smiling,”?his wife Dorothy, who also took a flight in the biplane, said.
    “It was Don’s dream that came true, because he always wanted to see that plane again. It was so exciting for him.”
    Dorothy had just gotten back off a flight from Greenville, S.C. a couple of hours prior to taking the air again in the biplane.
    “It brought back a lot of memories, believe me,”?Donald said.
    Dolan, a Buffalo native, moved to Wellsville with his first wife after World War II to practice dentistry where he could hunt and fish. She was a native of Andover.
    He learned of a practice  for sale in Wayland – a fully furnished office and house for $17,000. That was in 1954.
    He built a new office on Washington Street in 1967, which operates today as an orthodontics practice. Dolan retired from dentistry in 1987.
    Although this Army pilot went from piloting the Stearman PT-17 to B-17s, he never made it overseas during World War II. When his crew was on the train to pick up their B-17 in New Jersey, they were informed that they were not needed. The train turned around, and he served the remainder of the war training B-17 pilots in Arizona.
    Page 2 of 2 - When flying in Dansville a week ago Saturday, the only disappointment Dolan encountered was that the low clouds kept the duo from making loops, snap rolls and slow rolls – tricks Dolan used to do as a young pilot and was looking forward to doing again.
     
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