Originally Published August 22, 2010
As you come up 285 and see the iconic yellow house of Meyer Ranch, you will notice something missing today. Those of us who live up the 285 corridor have long checked the hangar, which faces the highway, to see if Norm Meyer’s plane was there, or if he was out flying. Today, the plane made its final takeoff from the Meyer Ranch runway.
The plane, a 1968 Cessna 180 Taildragger, is on its way to Gunnison, having taken off at 9 am this morning. The crowd began gathering at 8 am, giving tribute to Norm Meyer and all his community efforts over the years, and to participate in this bit of local history. The plane was pushed out to the field and driven uphill to the hillside runway, and took off into the bright clear sky to the sound of bagpipes and cheers. As a surprise, the pilot circled back and did one last fly over the ranch.
Norm Meyer was a pilot for 35 years for Continental Airlines, and before that, a pilot in the military; a 67 year career all told. But now that he is about to turn 94, Mr. Meyer has decided it is time to pass his plane along to family members, who plan to keep in the family for their youngest flight enthusiast and Mr. Meyer’s great grandson, Porter Hauck, who will turn four in September.
According to his grand son in law, Jonathan Hauck, the plane will now be co-owned by Mr. Meyer’s son in law, Ron Rouse, and his granddaughter, Roanne Hauck. The plane will now reside in Hotchkiss, with promises of plenty more trips for Mr. Meyer and his family.
Mr. Hauck said today was bittersweet; sadness at the end of an era, but happiness knowing that the plane will still be there to be enjoyed by the grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Over three hundred people turned out, most people there to support Mr. Meyer, who has generously offered his time and property over the years. IMHS and Mountain Peace Shelter both hold fundraising walks and runs on the Meyer property every year, and a large portion of the ranch on the other side of 285 was donated to be part of Open Space and is well used year round, especially for sledding. Mr. Meyer has been very active in Kiwanis and other community organizations over the years, and has helped fund and start many regular community events. Sue Wilson with Mountain Peace Shelter said “Norm is the Icon”, a sentiment repeated by many of the participants today.
In a brief chat with Norm Meyer, it was clear he was overwhelmed by the turnout and support. “I expected maybe 50 people” he said.
Meyer’s Ranch is still on the list of private runways for small planes, but this the last flight of Mr. Meyer’s plane from his ranch.
Notation – Norm Meyer has since passed away.