Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Local cable access show features stories of pilots
If it has wings — or rotor blades — Fred Province has probably flown it. He has video that backs up that claim, and he talks about it every Sunday evening on “Captain Fred’s Aviation Theater,” carried on Spectrum Cable’s public access channel.
If aviation is your thing, this is the place to go to see it, and hear about it.
Fred has interviewed some of the world’s great pilots over the years — Joe Foss, Jim Stockdale, John McCain — the list goes on and on.
He also happens to be married to one of the world’s better-known woman aviators, Ana Camberos Province. She’s in The Ninety-Nines, the international sorority for female pilots. She’s received an Amelia Earhart medal, and a number of other prizes and recognition.
Fred isn’t just a pilot and TV host — he has two advanced college degrees, and has in the past been a schoolteacher and school principal. But it’s flying that really flips his switch.
He always knew he wanted to fly, and started by building his own glider at his home in rural Missouri when he was only 14 years old.
“I was about to try to fly it, when the local county sheriff showed up and ordered it broken up and burned. When I asked him why, he said ‘We’ll think of a reason.’”
Fred finally was taught to fly a glider by, of all people, Hans Busch. Busch was actually a former German Luftwaffe pilot who made it to the United States after World War II.
Thus was born the lifelong addiction to flight.
It wasn’t all an easy education.
“There was one plane crash where I was really lucky. I’d fractured my skull in five places, and I was actually pronounced dead at the hospital. Two guys were taking me to the morgue, but I woke up and said, ‘pain …’ The two guys were shocked, but decided the morgue wasn’t the best place for me right then. Real glad they made that decision.”
Fred met Ana in college, and she decided she wanted to try flying. She ended up soloing in an Ercoupe — a tiny two-seat plane that’s very easy to fly. From there, she and Fred pursued time in the air whenever possible — and it was possible a lot.
We wanted to talk with Ana for this story, but Fred said she didn’t want to be interviewed.
“Ana is just painfully shy,” Fred said. “She doesn’t mind me talking about her, but would just rather not talk.”
Ana herself has a couple of degrees in accounting, both American and Mexican college degrees. She was born very poor in Tijuana, but got away from that life.
Nowadays, Ana busies herself as the producer and aerial photographer for “Captain Fred’s Aviation Theater”.
“It’s real simple. She tells me what to do, and I do it.”
Fred has a lot of “Aviation Theater” episodes in the can, but he’s always looking for new and different topics. You can contact him through Spectrum Cable, and he’ll be happy to talk to you … and talk to you … and talk to you …
He has lots of stories to tell.
—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.