A Pilot's Perspective.

By Barry Meek.

April 2014 


     When I was a young fellow, probably 22 years old, I bought my first new car.  It was a Volkswagen Beetle.  Come to think of it, it’s the only car that was brand new I’ve ever owned! All of my vehicles since then have been from the used car lots, and most were much more than a basic Bug.  Owning a brand new car every year or two has just never been important.

      I would never deny the next person his desire, his requirement for the car, the truck,  motorcycle, or whatever it is that turns his crankshaft.  For a time, owning an airplane really made sense to me.  And I have to admit to becoming rather attached to one or two, even to the point of giving one a name.  This particular plane had the registration letters CF-UFU.   The obvious affectionate name became “FOO-FOO”. 

       Foo-Foo and I had some wonderful times together.  She was a Cessna 150, and taught me much about flying, more than any instructor ever did.  She responded well, forgave me when I asked too much of her, and in spite of all the hours I’d flown in bigger, faster more powerful airplanes, she became my favorite.  Her landings, even with some of my awkward inputs, were smooth and graceful.  On cross-country trips, she loved to fly on her own, without me having to do anything more than nudge the trim wheel occasionally.  She had no bad habits.

        We became good friends, the airplane and I.  We knew what to expect from each other.  I’d put in the gas, sometimes even Mogas, but Foo-Foo didn’t seem to mind.  It all burned the same to her.  She didn’t use up the fresh oil that I gave her every 25 hours.  Other pilots before me had helped to wear out some of the parts, but they were soon replaced over time at the annual inspection dates.  It was one aircraft that I came to trust on any flight.  I soon relaxed more and more instead of constantly being on the lookout for a place to land if the engine ever quit.  Foo-Foo’s 0-200 was always strong and smooth.

      The radios and intercom provided crisp, clear communication with ATC and any passengers that came for the ride.  All the instruments gave me the precise, accurate information on their clear round faces.  Everything worked together the way the manufacturer promised when she was new, so many years ago! 

      Instructors can teach a pilot to fly, take off, land and control an airplane.  It’s the airplane that teaches how to enjoy it all.  Foo-Foo rewarded me with picture perfect, gentle touchdowns on our days in the circuit.  She seemed to communicate the commands of when to nudge the elevator, kick in some rudder, or add a touch of power at just the right moment.   Then with a barely audible squawk, the wheels kissed the pavement, and she was rolling.  No bounce, no bumps, no shimmy.  We could float with a touch of power until just the right moment, the right spot on the runway where brakes were not required to make the final exit and taxi in to her hangar.   I often imagined the controllers in the tower pausing from their duties to admire the perfection of it all. 

           I was privileged to join two other pilots in a successful partnership as owners of Foo- Foo.  Fortunately for me, there were not many conflicts in booking time to fly her.  Extended trips of a week or more were often possible for each of the owners, and we all enjoyed being treated well by an airplane, an inanimate piece of machinery that bored it’s way into our minds and hearts to become a good friend.  When time came to move on, I sold my share, and said goodbye to the airplane.  Other flying was in the works, and there were times that it became more of a job than I would have liked.  These days, I often think of the little Cessna 150 as another personal airplane.  It’s not terribly exciting, not an exotic flyer, not fast.  But the connection between man and machine is a reality.  Some day, I can see myself attached to another Foo-Foo.

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