Letters: Time Traveler

A beautifully written article on a beautiful Beech 18 on floats garnered a lot of fan mail from our members.

May 14, 2014

What a great article. She looks absolutely spectacular, inside and out. Yes, a delight to fly. I remember her as a gentle, loving soul. It was difficult to put her in a mood that would hurt you.

During training we always burned 25/25, or 50 gph, with a lot of takeoffs and landings. Tom Haines’ comments on dripping oil put a smile on my face. One day after about three landings on a very nice lake, our instructor told us to look for someplace else. I objected, having become somewhat attached to this lake, so I asked for the reason. We were on the water and the instructor requested an S-turn and after the first 90 degrees of the turn he instructed us to look back where we had come from. Giant oil slick. We departed.

The most unpleasant thing I can remember about the airplane was starting it. If you had a hand for the starter, a hand for the mixture, and a hand for the wobble pump, it was not so hard—but I only have two hands. Maybe it has electric fuel pumps by now. Thanks for a great article on this wonderful machine.

Marty Coddington
AOPA 474462
Prior Lake, Minnesota

“I have a lot of affection for this magnificent aircraft. They were one of the last medium-sized airplanes you strapped on to fly—full of levers, wheels, and odd procedures to get things done and no computers to help you. Need to lean the engines at altitude, look out the window! They will never make them like this again and we (pilots) will all be the poorer for it.”

Robert F. Neefus
AOPA 778803
Rio Vista, California

Fly for less

Dave Hirschman nailed it (“Cost Comparison”). I’m asked all the time, how can you afford to fly? You must be rich. I believe you can spend as much or as little as you want doing anything. I work hard at my full-time job and have paid my dues and worked my way up the ladder. Where there’s a will there’s a way! It goes without saying that without the support of my loving wife, none of any of it would be possible.

Mike Allen
AOPA 3593695
Hancock, Maine

I have flown for 40 years (since I was 16). I have rented, been in two different flying clubs, and now I am in my second partnership. I find flying a very affordable hobby if four pilots own the aircraft and share the cost. The partnership I am in is based in Torrance, California. We own a 2004 Cessna Skyhawk S model. My portion of the monthly payment and tie down is $275 per month. My one-quarter buy-in was $3,750. Insurance split four ways is $500, and taxes are $300 each per year. We have agreed that all maintenance under $2,000 is split four ways and we keep that much in a bank account to pay for repairs and oil changes as they come up. Work costing more than $2,000 and work performed during an annual is split by our percentage of usage as per the tachometer. Basically, a firewall-forward engine replacement at the TBO costs each partner $13.50 per hour.

Bottom line: I’m flying 50-plus hours a year at about $110 per hour. I am flying as much as I have time for. Your article was very good and I am forwarding it to friends who are contemplating learning to fly.

Steve Wolfe
AOPA 5929380
Los Angeles, California

“I feel the same way about golf and airplanes. Over the years, not being a golfer has starved my career, but being a pilot has fed my soul. As someone who also plays with boats, motor homes, and motorcycles, I can say that flying, done carefully, is no more expensive than any other motorized hobby.”

Tom Muller
AOPA 4034312
Poland Spring, Maine

Paper-less

After struggling with Airguide Publications Company to get paper copies of flight guide manuals that I had paid for, I thought the paper charts were dying (“P&E: Avionics”). After two years of having the nice lady tell me they were going to ship the manuals in two months, and that the delay was because they changed their format and size, I asked for my money back and they sent it quickly. While this was going on, I was swamped with emails about their electronic iPad offerings. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

Larry Everett 
AOPA 1237871
Boulder, Colorado

Waco restorers

The same day I purchased a J–3 Cub, my April AOPA Pilot arrived in the mail. Imagine my complete delight when I turned to the article on John and Scott Shue (“Where Wacos Take Wing”). My Cub was recently restored by “Aircraft by Shue” for the previous owner. This Cub had been in the same family for the last 43 years, and the Shues’ ability to appreciate classics other than Wacos is reflected in this restoration. People like the Shues are important to enabling all of us to become caretakers for these air machines. The “Video Extra” on the Shues allowed me to have a direct connection to the craftsmen who placed their hands on every piece. I look forward to future articles from AOPA that highlight workshops whose focus is classic aircraft. 

Tim Averett
AOPA 1173243
Winter Haven, Florida

Saving airports

Along with the many other great stories and articles in the April AOPA Pilot, I took special note of Barry Schiff’s trip down memory lane (“Proficient Pilot: Those Good Old Days”). Meadowlark Airport in Huntington Beach is sorely missed—replaced by jammed-together houses, like all so many fields where the developer’s dollars to the right politician doomed another airport.

Mark Baker’s commentary (“President’s Position: A Reprieve, Not a Rout”) and “Pilot Briefing: Judge Dismisses Santa Monica Suit” are similar. We have seen this too many times around the country; the outrage at Meigs Field comes to mind. I am being only a little facetious when I predict we might hear this comment from Washington at some point in the near future: “If you like your airport, you can keep it. Period.”

Unfortunately, far too many Americans will not care—until they hear, “If you like your fishing boat [or fill in the blank] you can keep it.” I thank AOPA for the consistent efforts in our behalf.

Craig W. During
AOPA 625078
Long Beach, California

Pilot Counsel

John Yodice’s sage advice to not fight the FAA’s reexamination of airman or medical certificates is spot on (“Pilot Counsel: Careful Consideration”). Order 49 USC 44709 gives the administrator the right to reexamine any certificate it issues.

FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 7, counsels inspectors that “reexamination of an airman…is never to be undertaken lightly. [T]here must be ample or probable cause for requesting the reexamination,” but the NTSB case law on reexaminations is firmly in favor of the FAA. There are plenty of worthy fights that could (and should) be picked with the FAA; contesting a request for reexamination is rarely one of them.

Jake Johnson
AOPA 2893575
Houston, Texas

We welcome your comments. Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701 or email. Letters may be edited for length and style before publication.