/ Boulder

So Long, Friend

Well, that's that. In a few more days, I won't be able to call myself an aircraft owner anymore. Niner three foxtrot, my little Cessna 150, won't be joining us in Boulder.

I knew that this move would be bittersweet, and that there were minuses sprinkled in with the pluses, and a little while ago I arrived at the conclusion that it made more sense to sell the plane than to keep it. Score one for the minuses.

Airplanes like air, and the denser the better. But as the altitude increases, the air thins out, making it harder for the wings, propeller (just another pair of wings, really) and the engine to do their jobs. Regular readers know about my plane's climb ability -- or lack thereof -- down here at sea level; Boulder's elevation is 5,400 feet above sea level. 93F would get off the ground up there, sure. But climb performance would be really poor even with me as the sole occupant in the plane. Add to that the fact that the Rocky Mountains begin their rapid rise to 10,000' and beyond just a few miles west of the runway at Boulder Municipal Airport, and suddenly my plane is more of a north/south/east-only type of traveler. Let's throw in the fact that winds can be very intense in and near the mountains, such as downdrafts that can easily outpace my plane's ability to outclimb them. Suddenly we have a plane that's severely limited indeed.

While the thought of flying 93F two thirds of the way across the country is like a dream come true, and the primary benefit of owning a plane is that you can take it on trips like that, I felt it likely I'd be unhappy with the limited utility of a Cessna 150 in the mountains, and so would most potential buyers out there. So, best to sell it down here at sea level.

My friend knew a guy who was looking to buy his first plane, and he put us in touch with one another; a price is agreed upon, and Sunday I will hopefully fly 93F one last time before parting ways with it. It was definitely fun while it lasted. The sad irony is that one reason I didn't fly my plane more often was that it was impossible to get out to it during the week, and now I'll be working so close to the local airport that I can watch the planes in the traffic pattern from the office window -- and not have my own plane.

It's the end of a chapter, but not the novel. Boulder Municipal has an FBO with a few decent planes for rent -- ones sporting a little more horsepower to help out in the thin air -- and there are a few other airports nearby. And the mountains offer lots of new challenges to take on, and scenery to take in. I'll do it as a renter, but it still beats walking.