B-29 navigator, bombardier, radar officer flies a Starduster

Marvin Rosenberg: Still flying at 91. The Rosenbergs

Like many boys of his generation, Rosenberg’s interest in aviation came from models introduced to him by a neighbor. “He had some models of biplanes, and we played with those. He was very careful with them and he only let me handle them once in a while,” Rosenberg recalls. Rosenberg then went on to build model airplanes out of paper and balsa wood with rubber bands attached to the propellers.

Marvin was drafted in March 1943 while in college at UCLA. He stated his preference to the draft board to become a navigator. He was placed in a heavy weapons company instead. Rosenberg recalls, “After seven or eight months, I saw a notice asking if anyone wanted to transfer to the Army Air Corps and I said yes and passed the physical.” It was in gunnery school in Fort Myers, Fla., where he learned trap shooting skills he still retains. “I can hit 23 clay birds out of 25 and people want to know how this old geezer does it,” he jokes.

Eventually Rosenberg became a radar, navigator, and bombardier on a B-29 Superfortress based Guam with missions over Japan. When the war ended he came home and started his family and his business, a ladies’ blouse manufacturing company, LeeMar of California. He bought his first airplane, a Cessna 182 in 1963, even before had earned his private certificate. A year later he upgraded to a Cessna 205 and then to a Cessna 206 in 1969, which he owned for 33 years, selling it in 2012. “I had 4,000 hours in the airplane,” he says. “We flew it across the country three times, twice to Florida and Canada, and many times to Mexico.” He also flew for the Coast Guard Auxiliary for more than 20 years and the Palm Springs Police Aero Squadron for 17 years.

He missed owning an airplane, so last year he purchased a Starduster Too in Indiana. With a ferry pilot in the back seat, they flew 2,100 miles in an open cockpit to Palm Springs in four days. Rosenberg once again turned to AOPA Insurance and Carol Thompson for help. Thompson found a policy for him. He has been a member of AOPA for more than 50 years and a 20-year customer of AOPA Insurance. He says, “Unfortunately the policy calls for a qualified check pilot that is not so easy to find. So the airplane has not flown as much as I would like.”

In addition to flying and enjoying life with Leah, his wife of 70 years, Rosenberg has been a lifelong sailor. The highlight of his sailing came when he sailed his Morgan 46 from Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, down the California and Mexico coast, through the Panama Canal, through the Caribbean, north up the intracoastal waterway to Maine and then shipped the boat back to Marina Del Rey. He took three years to make the trip, taking time out for hurricane seasons.

These days, Rosenberg belongs to the United Fly Octogenarians and keeps busy with daily games of golf and tennis. He also belongs to a group called Old Bold Pilots which has monthly meetings with speakers.

As for Thompson, his renewal manager at AOPA Insurance, Rosenberg says “She’s wonderful. She has always been honest with me. She has always come through for me.” As AOPA Insurance’s oldest insured, he appreciates the care and service Thompson has provided. AOPA Insurance offers knowledgeable agents who can understand aviation and the kind of flying each individual does. That personal touch is what makes AOPA Insurance such a valuable resource for members.

AOPA Insurance Services is celebrating 20 years of serving the aviation insurance needs of our customers. Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information on how AOPA can get you the best deal on aviation and life insurance.