Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our first plane. The Grumman AA-1A

Ever since I can remember I wanted to learn how to fly.  I initially wanted to be a pilot as a profession; however, life has its twists and turns and it didn't turn out that way.  I chose another career path instead.  However, this did not diminish my desire to become a pilot.  In retrospect, I am glad that I did not become a professional pilot because then I would have turned a true passion into WORK.  I began training when I was living in Tampa, FL.  Soon though, my career got very busy and I had no time for anything.  I trained in the typical Cessna 172's and a Piper Warrior at the local FBO.  I even jumped from one flight school to another.  It soon got to busy at work and I stopped training.  I finally got tired of living to work rather than working to live.  So my family and I made the decision to move across the country to another career spot that lended itself to more of a balance between Life and work.  So, we picked up and moved to the State of Minnesota.

Whewwww, what a change in venue, to say the least.  From 50 degree winters to -40 degrees.  The summers were not scorching though.  They were actually quite pleasant.  Rural living has grown on us and we definitely have more time as a family than before and I am doing well in my career as well.  The biggest plus however, other than having more time with the family, is that I could now complete my aviation training and pursue my life's passion for flight.  The problem was that there were no FBO's where I could rent a plane and complete my training.  There was an FBO in town; however, there was no formal training service there.  There were a couple of part time instructors in town that used their planes to instruct.  So, the flight training resumed.  The instructor that I started training with was also a trucker.  So, I had to wait for the guy to be in town to get training.  He, of course, had a C-172 and that is what I started training in again.

There was a local pilot/farmer in town by the name of Leroy that had just bought a Grumman Traveler.   Leroy and I have become good friends since.  He had been a long time owner of a Grumman AA-1A, N9275Leroy as he called it.  He was interested in selling the little 2 seater.  I figured the best way to keep me motivated to continue and finish my flight training was to be invested in it.  So, I took the plunge and made him an offer.  Low and behold, he accepted my offer and now I was an aircraft owner, not just a student pilot.  Below is picture of our first plane.

Needless to say, I completed my training and obtained by Private Pilot certificate on 08/27/2009.  This is four years after I started my Training in Tampa.  I guess persistence and passion paid off!!!

The ultimate goal of all this was to be able to travel across the fruited planes and coast to coast with my family.  As you might guess, I might have a little trouble getting the weight and balance within spec if I tried to pile a wife and three kids in this 2 seat Grumman along with my generous midsection.  So, I started to look for a plane that would fit my family's needs.

Booooyyy, was I surprised what the insurance rates for a 5-6 seat aircraft would be with my modest training.  So, I needed to get more hours under my belt and this plane was certainly cheap enough to do that in.  This litttle plane burned 7-8 gallons per hour and I flew it all over Minnesota and parts of North Dakota.  I eventually put a total of 114.5 hours of flight time in my log with this plane which helped with that insurance qoute for my next plane.  The next plane will be the topic of my next blog post.  No sneak peek here.  Further discussions with my insurance guy convinced me that an instrument rating was key in lowering my rates, not to mention safety.    If I was going to attain my goal of flying cross country with the family I was not only going to have to upgrade the airplane but I was going to have to attain my instrument rating.

  Stay tuned to this blog for further updates on my private flying career!!!  Feel free to join and become a member of my blog and follow it.

Thank you for reading my blog and we would appreciate any feed back on our very first blog.

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