True was a “man’s magazine”, a fact that they incorporated into their title until some time in the 1960’s. True had regular columns for advice, adventure stories, sports, and other writing that generally appealed to men. One of the contributors was none other than Mike Dillon who, of course, wrote about other pilots and their airplanes. This particular article is about a pilot named Leroy Penhall. Penhall’s efforts at becoming a Marine Corps pilot failed due to his poor eyesight but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his pilot’s license when he got out of the service. Penhall raced power boats and fighter planes so he was definitely the kind of guy that Mike would want to meet and fly with and he did just before the 1974 air race in Reno. According to Mike “460 miles per hour at 50 feet is impressive!”
Leroy’s son, Bruce Penhall is a champion motorcycle and powerboat racer of some note, winning the World Speedway Championship in 1981 and 1982. He also took a turn at acting and was on the television series CHiPs in its final season.
This article appeared in True in February of 1975. Leroy Penhall, his wife Bonnie, and three others died in a plane crash in January of 1975 just before the February issues release. True ceased publication later that same year in August of 1975. The copy below is from Mike Dillon’s personal archives and is in the original format that he typed it in. If you prefer you can open the pdf below by clicking here.true-leroy-penhall