Wednesday, July 13, 2016

{CoffeeShop Family Flying Circus Adventures}: Chapter 4, "The Texas Gooney Bird Flies Home!"

Interested to read more of the {CoffeeShop Family Flying Circus Adventures}?
PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2, Chapter 3Entire series (newest posts first)

After over a year of searching for our own small aircraft, our wings were still clipped.

We live right next to an airport and we would watch the airplanes fly overhead and dream.

I told Paul I was sure all of the planes we had looked at before and rejected were being flown over our heads while their new owners were smugly laughing at us. I would sing "To all the Planes I've Loved Before" in my head as I watched them fly over me.

We were disillusioned but not completely discouraged so we decided to keep on looking. In November of 2015 we drove out to see this really nice Cessna Hawk about two hours away off the coast.

This plane was the "Harley-Davidson" of small aircraft. It had power to spare and a dream instrument panel. It was a "manly-man" aircraft and I could see Paul's eyes light up. It was at the top of our price range and like every other aircraft we had seen earlier it had issues. This Hawk had a bigger (more manly-man) engine which meant it was more costly to maintain.   It had a complicated (more manly-man) prop that badly needed an overhaul which could be thousands of dollars. 

Also the plane had over 7000 total hours on it, which was high (these types of aircrafts are tested up to 10,000 hours) so that would make it difficult to resell later.

So this plane that was "affordable" was actually going to cost us too much to maintain and had too many flight hours. Sigh... Bye-bye plane, I loved you the hour I was with you. 

So we just kept watching the skies and dreaming.

I was still checking the ads (I am an eternal optimist) and an interesting new one popped up in January 2016. It was a red-and-white (my favorite combo) 1973 Piper Challenger with good specs located in Dallas. 

Then I noticed the name of the man selling it was Houston (we live in Houston) and I decided that was a sign. ;-)  I don't believe in signs of course, but if there were such a thing as signs this would be a good one.

I emailed him and he was incredibly nice and knowledgable, and after a long phone call that involved me asking him what seemed to be a thousand questions and him answering them to my satisfaction, we arranged for him to fly the plane down to Conroe. We could drive out for breakfast and check out his plane. 

This way if the plane was a junker I would still get eggs, bacon, and coffee out of the morning. If I have eggs, bacon, and coffee I can't help but be happy. 

We were upstairs having breakfast in the Black Walnut Cafe when we saw him fly in and park the plane.

We walked downstairs to look at it, and it was shiny and pretty.  He had said it was an "8" but I would say it was closer to a "9".  Other than some very minor almost invisible hail marks on a few of the softer wing areas, it looked brand new. Brand new for a 43-year-old-plane.

Paul decided this one was worth going up in, and he set off with Houston into the deep blue sky.

When he came down I could see it in his face. This was the one.

Maybe. Hopefully. Wouldn't it be nice if it were? But I am sure something will be wrong with it. But maybe it is a good plane? No, there is always something... But maybe this time???

We spent almost two months getting the inspections, repairs, and paperwork done. There were several bumps in the road and a few times I was sure it wasn't going to work out, but Houston was a joy to work with and the plane was actually in really good shape considering it was almost as old as Paul and me.

On the Ides of March (March 15th) the little "Texas Gooney Bird" (more on her name later) happily flew to her new home in Houston.

And Paul's dream had come true. After over twenty years of hard work and saving every spare penny, his new baby was home and he could finally start flying once again.

And our new family flying adventures were just beginning!!!

Did I mention that I am scared to fly? ;-)

The story continues, click here to read Chapter 5, my first flight of FEAR!!!

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  1. I got a bit confused regarding the dates. Apparently in May when we read chapter 3 you already had this new plane. So when I had commented that "I'm sure the perfect plane is out there waiting for your guys somewhere" it was already in your possession.

    Glad to hear that all the hard work has paid off and that Paul is able to fulfil one of his dreams. Good luck to you guys! I hope it is everything you dreamed of.

    Lisa D.

    1. We had already purchased it, I just was telling the story how we bought it! I got a bit behind in my posts. :-)

  2. So happy for you and your family to finally have this plane. May you have many, many wonderful flights with all those sights tucked into your memory banks. The Lord bless you and keep you safe.


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