“When I was just three miles past St. Augustine, I got a low fuel warning light,” Ferry wrote in his official report. “I pressed on and it became a question of guts versus discretion as to how I would go.”
To those present at the landing, Ferry appeared strange, wearing knitted slippers for comfort instead of flying boots and an old leather flying cap rather than a helmet. When he told the locals that he’d come from California, they asked, “Where did you land last?” They didn’t believe he had flown non-stop and unrefueled from the West Coast.
Ferry’s career included 90 missions flown during the Korean War and six years of test flying at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In 1975, he made the first flight of the Apache attack helicopter at Hughes. He logged more than 10,000 hours in 125 aircraft. “He would break the sound barrier one day and fly a helicopter the next,” his wife Marti says.
Ferry died in February 2009 at age 85. “All Bob ever wanted to do was fly,” Marti recalls, “and he liked living on the edge.”