Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aluminum Anniversary

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
11 Mar 2014 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - local 0.9 1250.6

Ten years ago today, I stood on the concrete apron of a regional airport in Oklahoma while bathed in warm springtime sunlight and spoke words into a cell phone that made me an aircraft owner.

Ten years ago.

I struggle with a dichotomy of feelings about this. At times, I have a sense that the airplane has always been a part of our family. Yet memories of its purchase are so strong that, surely, they cannot be a decade old.

The tale of how my 1979 PA-28-161 Warrior II came into the family can be read here.

When I reached the hangar in Williamson, I discovered two Warriors within; the real airplane and a phantom version reflected in the mirror-like flood water encroaching under the door.  The flood resulted from an abrupt thaw that occurred while the nearest drain was blocked by ice.

Still, Warrior 481 and I made a brief local flight together, doing some steep turns, stalls, and other airwork along the way to commemorate a decade of adventure.

Over the last ten years, I've logged 1077 flight hours (86% of my total flight time) in Warrior 481. This ship has been our magic carpet to twenty different states, maintaining connections with friends and family, and conveying us to places both remote (mountains, islands) and metropolitan. We've landed at high traffic airports and quiet grass strips. Warrior 481 has been a good compromise for our missions: a "go someplace" airplane also happy to fly local "low and slow" flights, inexpensive and simple to maintain and operate, and a stable instrument platform.

Ten years...  Wow.


  1. Where does the time go? I had to go back and read the bringing 481 home post, who can pass up that up. A fun read that stirs memories of the 08R ride home. Here's to many more years in 481, to safe travels and making new memories!

  2. Thanks, Gary!

    I've been reading about your quest to step up with interest as I have contemplated the same thing over the years. When I bought the Warrior, my mentor Dave described it as a "go someplace" airplane - in contrast to the Cessna 150s I flew in training. While it does not travel poorly, it's not the fastest thing out there, either, and sometimes I wonder if I should upgrade to something with more speed the way you are.

    But then I think about why I chose the Warrior in the first place. It's inexpensive to maintain (fixed gear, simple systems), does not guzzle fuel (at least, for a "go someplace" airplane), and not a bad airplane for just cruising around the local area (if not as good as a Cub or something similar). Though it may not be a really serious travelling machine (like a Bo), it remains a reasonable compromise for my mission.

    Plus, I've put in some reasonable upgrades and own the bird outright. So...I suspect we'll be together for quite some time, yet. :-)

    1. "It's inexpensive to maintain (fixed gear, simple systems), does not guzzle fuel (at least, for a "go someplace" airplane), and not a bad airplane for just cruising around the local area."

      All the same reasons I love my Sundowner. A few emails and one person that has been corresponding about 08R multiple times. Funny thing, he did ask if he wants to buy it am I really ready to part with her. I didn't answer that question.

      481 is super clean and has very good avionics.....a great plane!

    2. I imagine that you're faced with quite a struggle regarding 08R. I know you'll make the right choice for you!

  3. It's been an impressive run thus far, that's for sure. One I can only hope to emulate at some point in the (hopefully not extremely distant) future.

    Here's to the next 10 years and 1000 hours! :)