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Hart Fessenden

Port Orange, Florida

I got my pilot’s license during my senior year at Brown in 1979.  My first passenger at 55 hours of flight time was my future wife, Lauren.  We are still married 6,500 hours, two kids, and four airplanes later.  I exaggerate only slightly in saying that I have flown every single weekend for the past 44 years.

I went to the iconic Armed Services Recruitment Booth in Times Square and tried to sign up as a pilot knowing full well that that the Air Force and the Navy would never take me because I have astigmatism in my left eye, but I gave it a shot anyway.  No dice.  Same with the airlines; my eyesight wasn’t close to 20/20 without glasses.

So I went into airline banking after graduating from Columbia Business School.  I spent most of my career at SMBC, the big Japanese bank which is one of the world’s largest lessors and lenders to airlines.

I retired in 2019 just in time to miss the airline industry woes due to corona.  We moved from Manhattan to the Spruce Creek Fly-In near Daytona Beach, FL.  Built around an old Navy airfield, there are 500 “hangar homes”.  That allows residents to land their planes on the 4,000 ft runway and taxi directly to their houses.  Very convenient if you like to fly.

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