Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Aircraft Owner Again (Please Cross Fingers)

I sold my Taylorcraft BC-12D about two years ago, and it is finally time to buy another aircraft.  While there are still a few details to check out, I am buying a Standard Jantar SZD-48 with two partners...that's right, a glider.  A single seat glider, at that.

The current owner has not flown it in several years, but it is in annual and we got Tim, who has some experience in type, to fly it for us on Sunday.  Here is his takeoff.  He had a great two hour flight, which is pretty short for him.  The owner has agreed to our price.

My previous aircraft were a Mooney (with a partner) and the T-craft, which I owned by myself.  I wasn't flying the T-craft much, and it needed some expensive engine work, so I sold it to a guy who put in a new engine and is having a great time flying it.  I still keep in touch with the guy who bought the Mooney, too;  he still has it, although he bought it in 1987.

The irony is that a year ago I was flying turboprops, complaining that I was so busy flying that I had no time for flying.  I was disappointed when the company decided that they did not need a part-time pilot anymore, but I am enjoying the combination of fun personal flying, glider flying, and basic instruction so much that soaring feels more like a step up than a step down.  

Yesterday, a bizjet crew was hanging around while I flew with a student.  They were sprawled on the couch, looking logy, jumping every time the cell phone rang.  (One of them used the same generic ring tone that I use, so I jumped, too.)  They had come from someplace pretty far away back East, and the track of their flight home, which would have been 4 hours or so in the turboprop, was a straight line.  I am sure that they had fun, but I am also sure that a 4 hour glider flight (which I have yet to do) would be more fun.  Those 4-hours-in-the-flight-levels-on-autopilot flights were my least favorite.

Once, I longed to be in their shoes, longed to the extent that I spent a small fortune keeping a first class medical certificate (required for a charter jet captain).  Now I long to fly, period.  The only fuel I need is brain fuel; I need a lot of that.  The phone is off; the radio is on 123.3, comparing my view of the sky with what the other glider pilots see.  Nobody questions my lunch expenses, or my rental car expenses, or my fuel order, or my manifest.  The only question is "Did you have fun?"  I like that one.

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