/ aviation

Airplane

<p>No matter I say it, no matter how calmly I try to fit this into conversation, it never fails to draw odd stares from the uninitiated, and wild congratulations from those who knew I was looking to do this:</p>

<p>I own an airplane. </p>

<p>It&#8217;s true, I am now an aircraft owner.  This late hour will preclude me from really getting into detail, but the basic idea is that I am now the proud owner of a 1966 Cessna 150, a little two-seat trainer aircraft that neither looks sexy nor goes fast.  But it does go UP.</p>

<p>I bought the plane a couple weeks ago, but didn&#8217;t want to spill the beans until it was truly mine.  Another deal fell through prematurely and I had spoken of that plane as though though it was my own, so I kept silent until this one was truly mine.  The registration papers are on their way to the FAA, and the plane is parked in my spot.  It&#8217;s my plane now.  </p>

<p>Today, I met my friend for a couple of hours of flying the thing, looking through paperwork, playing with the GPS.  Then, as the sun was going down on western New Jersey, I flew niner three fox to her new home.  The day&#8217;s gusty surface winds and turbulence aloft had died down by the time I arrived at my new home base, and flying over the field checking the windsock I got this weird feeling that I was bringing a newborn home.  Funny, because this plane is two years older than I am!  But our relationship is but a few hours old, and aircraft ownership is new to me, so yeah, it feels like bringing a newborn home.</p>

<p>I bring it down to eleven hundred feet , ease into the downwind; abeam the threshold, carb heat on, power back to 1700, ten degrees of flap, three rolls of the trim wheel and I&#8217;m doing seventy-five; turn base, twenty on the flaps.  There are no planes in the pattern, and because I couldn&#8217;t get the radio &#38; push-to-talk switch working (user error, not the plane&#8217;s fault), I&#8217;m flying NORDO (no radio), not talking to anyone.  It&#8217;s uncannily peaceful.  Turning final, I put in thirty degrees of flap, line up, and enjoy the trip.  Here comes the threshold, the runway threshold I&#8217;ve stared at from the ground while imagining this very moment for a few weeks now (when I paid the rent on my parking spot); power off, gradual flare, looking down the runway, I pull back on the yoke and try to hold the plane off the runway for as long as possible:  </p>

<p>Slow, slow, straighten with rudder, hold it off, hold it off, chirp-chirp.</p>

<p>I turn off at the first taxiway, and laugh out loud.  I haven&#8217;t told any jokes, I&#8217;m just laughing.  The reality is starting to sink in, and yet it seems even more fantastic than ever.  I&#8217;m just going to taxi my plane to my parking spot, thank you very much.  It&#8217;s actually surreal.  </p>

<p>I park it, tie it down, and take way to long to figure out how to put on the cover.  I take pictures of it, I look at it.  Driving away, I feel separation anxiety.  This is a new sensation upon leaving an airport.  Usually I pay a bill and turn in the keys.  Tonight, I have the keys (and will pay bigger bills later).  This is the start of a new friendship, and a new chapter in my flying book.  I&#8217;m pretty psyched. </p>

<p><img src="http://www.rumblestrip.org/site-img/93fox.jpg" alt="niner three fox" width="100%"></p>