Like To Fly? This Way Up!
I remember the first time I read Richard Bach’s “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah” It didn’t take long before I was hooked. Captivated by the call of the wild blue yonder. So I knew that someday, I’d find a way to complete this part of my bucket list. I was going to make owning and flying a small aircraft a reality.
A few years back, the opportunity came.
The Plane: A Piper 250
A friend who is an aircraft wizard told me about a 1960’s era Piper 250 that was sound but needed a full restoration. Of course, that ignited all my imaginations. In an instant it was me on the pages of “Illusions.” I was all in.
For those unaware, quality restorations on vintage aircraft can make them just as desirable as newer models. Even more so in some ways, because the total cost can be significantly less. That said, undertaking aircraft ownership is nothing to take lightly. The financial requirements are larger than one might expect, even after the purchase.
The Process: Aviation Isn’t Cheap!
Over the course of my life, like everyone I had experience with auto repairs. And I’d been actively engaged in “house flipping” for quite a while. None of that prepared me for the cost of the pieces and parts on an airplane. Not to mention the process of parts and work certified by heavily regulated professionals. Even with my help at searching sites such as AERO Aviation to find parts, I had multiple bouts of serious sticker shock.
Prior to the Piper 250, if you’d mentioned to me that I needed to buy a new “radio,” my inner financial calculator would have said, “okay, what’s that, maybe $1,000 for a really good one?”
Not even close.
“Radios” for an airplane are the essential devices that provide communications between your plane, other aircraft, and the airport. And a good radio setup can easily exceed $10,000. Gulp! As for the restoration, it was all downhill from there. I still have cramps from the constant demand to write more checks. Fortunately, there was a payoff in pride of ownership that did make up for a lot of the financial pain.
The End Product
The finished product took much longer than anticipated. But there was no denial that it was a masterpiece. We named her “The Maiden.” See for yourself.
There will always be, as Bach called it . . .
” . . . an impulsion . . . this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.”
While I decided to let the Maiden leave my world, the memory of it will always linger. Like having tasted an exquisitely fine wine, I will always have the experience to treasure.