Let's talk repo....

Late at night I get zoned out and I flip the clicker through the TV stations.  My 'new-to-me' favorite show is Airplane Repo.

I watched this and thought..is this for real? Yes, it seems to be!  Why do I like it so much?  I touches my heart.  I did some airplane repos myself.

No, I did not heist a Lear jet, or an amphibian.  Me and my flyboys just took single engine planes.  This was after a huge boom in the industry...and after huge booms there are often huge busts.  Anyway you look at it, there was flying to be done.  Piper Aircraft hired us to get the planes (because they financed them) and return them to the place they wanted.

These pros fly planes like we used to, every once in a while. Not every plane is a high end aircraft. But they also get paid for bringing it back to the owner/company/bank.  Big bucks. Not so much for us.

What we usually did was take planes from local flying schools.  The schools (i.e. airports) were mostly abandoned and the planes would be sitting there with nobody to love them, except pilots like us, who would fly most anything, and work for free to build up our hours (the planes were free, and I think the company reimbursed us for fuel).  All we had to do was get them airborne and get them (and us) home in one piece.

An aircraft mechanic (who worked at the same glider field where we taught glider flying and flew the tow planes)  would fly us to the destination and once he (and we) checked them out he would sign them off as airworthy for the delivery flight to wherever we were going.

As the real pros know on Airplane Repo it's good to get the log books.  I don't remember having those. Maybe our mechanic took them..but I don't think they existed when we got to the planes.  What was the debtor to do...leave them in the planes with a note that said..'good luck with this!'?  Not so much.

This was a far cry from when we used to fly to the Piper factories in Vero Beach, FL or to Harrisburg, VA to pick up new planes. These were bumped and grinded aircraft, not pretty.  I remember one time when I opened the cowling (covering the engine) and found birds nests in it.  Oh, my.  This has been here for awhile. Often there were dents in the fuselage and empennage (main body and tail section).  Mostly they were cosmetic...if they weren't, the planes weren't airworthy.

Another time, we did the drill, and we couldn't find the planes anywhere (that sounds more like the pros). We came back empty-handled. Gosh, I wonder if they were ever found?  Once we had to leave the planes behind because we were stuck in weather that was going to last longer than it was worth the company to keep us there.  They flew the next crew out to get the planes when it was flyable.

I need to get out my logbooks and see where we went. I remember going to Idaho, and to Arizona, the western states.  Those are both beautiful and lonely places for a person and his/her plane.

Per usual, the flyboys had something to say about which planes they wanted to fly. I let them make their demands among themselves and I would be left with the slowest plane, bringing up the rear.  But I won.  I always got more flying time, more hours, than the guys.  And that is what it was all about.

Live richly, marilyn



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