I confess. I like airplanes. I am a commercial pilot with multi-engine land ratings.
I owned a 1952 Piper Tri-pacer. That's me taking off from Big Springs airstrip near Prescott Arizona.
The Tri-pacer is a four place plane, built out of steel tubing and fabric. It has a 135 horse power Lycoming engine that burns 87 octane low lead auto fuel.
At cruising speed it burns about 7.5 gallons of gas per hour and with any luck (and no headwinds, which we seem to always have), we can gallop along at a lightning speed of about 118 miles per hour. (I swear, many autos seem to be going that speed on today's freeways).
The cost and economy of this plane is far better than most of today's SUV's and If I may be allowed to say this, it is far safer.
We have flown it to Boise Idaho several times, Pocotello Idaho, Just about every airport in Oregon, all the beach airports, and as far South as Prescott, Arizona. It is wonderful to travel and not worry about all the traffic, and you will never, never beat the views.
I am a strict "fair weather flyer". When a small plane plays with mother nature, it always looses. Besides, when the weather gets bad, we land and make new friends. there are so many convenient small general aviation airports around the country. We avoid large airports with big, fast jet type planes like the plague! The really great part is that we can fly anywhere and not have Homeland Security go thru our luggage.
In April of 2006, we sold the Tri-Pacer and have purchased a 1947 Piper PA15/17. We will be flying to Michigan via commercial airlines and picking up the little yellow plane in May. With NO navigation, or radio equipment and No electrical system, this little plane will get us "back to basics". With a cruise speed of around 75-85 mph and a 65 h.p. engine burning less than 4 gallons per hour, this will be a fun flight.
In May of 2008 We sold the Tri-Pacer and purchased a 1946 Taylorcraft BC12a. This aircraft was completely rebuilt in 2000 and sports a 85 hp engine. Two place, again, no radio or electrical stuff to break down. It is a real pleasure to fly.
Here are a few photos...
This little 2-seater has a air cooled 65 h.p. Lycoming engine. Cruise speeds, depending on winds, will vary from 65 to as much as 80 m.p.h. Just enough speed to enjoy the beauty of flight. Fuel consumption is around 4.5 gallons per hour and it uses auto low lead gasoline. It will fly up to 12,000 feet, however, by that time you just might run out of gas.
Called the "88-day wonder" because it took exactly 44 days to design and 44 days to build, the prototype was flown on the 88th day. The Vagabond saved the Piper Aircraft Corporation from financial ruin immediately after World War ll. The Vagabond sold for $1,900 and succeeded in getting Piper back on its feet. 387 Vagabonds were built from December 22, 1947 to April 12, 1949. From April 1949 the PA-15 received some modifications and became the PA-17. These aircraft today have values from $15,000 to as much as $28,000 in excellent condition.
Here is a look inside. With no electrical system or fancy electronic equipment, this aircraft represents pure flying fun and enjoyment. The instrument panel features the basic instrumentation including from left to right a clock, turn and bank, engine rpm, airspeed indicator, magneto switch, throttle (blue knob), altimeter, engine primer and engine oil temperature and oil pressure gauges as well as a magnetic compass. Below the panel is the 12 gallon gas tank (auto fuel) with a fuel level gauge in the middle. Below the tank are the rudder pedals with toe brakes. Behind the seat is a small luggage compartment that will hold up to 40 lbs of baggage.
This little 2-seater has a air cooled 65HP Lycoming engine. Cruise speeds, depending on winds, will vary from 65 to as much as 80 m.p.h. Just enough speed to enjoy the beauty of flight. Fuel consumption is around 4.5 gallons per hour and it uses auto low lead gasoline. It will fly up to 12,000 feet, however, by that time you just might run out of gas.