Youngster’s flying future lies in the past
Kids are supposed to love glass cockpits, right? The thinking, at least in the marketing department of most large manufacturers, is that the younger generation grew up on computers, and glass cockpits seem natural to them. Foster W. Bachschmidt, 20, is the exception.
This University of Texas senior completed a type rating in March at age 19 for the Ford Tri-Motor 5AT. There are only three 5AT models still flying. Bachschmidt said he is the youngest pilot ever to have a Ford Tri-Motor type rating. Already the owner of an American Legend Cub, he was attracted to the Tri-Motor when he heard it flies like a big Cub. His ultimate goal is to own a Tri-Motor and give rides at airshows like EAA AirVenture.
From his Cub, he gained a love of grassroots flying, and that means steam gauge instruments. He doesn’t plan to stop with just a Tri-Motor type rating. He wants to be qualified in the Boeing B–17 bomber as well. “They’re running out of pilots to fly them,” he said. He wants to be one of the new generation of pilots to fly the old airplanes, no matter how small its numbers may be.
As for a day job to support his goals, Bachschmidt will complete his civil engineering degree and work for his dad at DAB Constructors in Inglis, Fla. Chances are good that if you live in or have ever driven in Florida, you have driven on a DAB road or bridge.
Bachschmidt got his Tri-Motor rating from United Airlines pilot Bryan Godlove, who he believes is one of the last Tri-Motor instructors in the world. He offers type ratings in a Tri-Motor owned by Grand Canyon Airlines. Sounds like a dying breed, but that will change if Bachschmidt has anything to do with it.
September 9, 2009