Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The drama of it all...

I'm hard pressed to think of an analogy to express how very anti-climatic the closing on an airplane is. Maybe that Geraldo pyramid thing, or whatever it was. About the same level of memorability, I'd say.

I started down the path to getting my RV-6 more than 25 years ago. I had been very interested in airplanes for as long as I can remember, but in my late teens I got interested in homebuilts. I knew all of them, but only remember a couple: the Mitchell Wing, and the Van's RV-4. There weren't many Van's planes flying back then, nowhere near the 4100+ that are flying today. They also took much longer to build than the quick build kits we have now.

Through time, I followed the development of the line through the RV-6/A, -7/A, -8/A, and now the -10. At one point in the 80's, I sprung for a $15 video tape from the Van's factory. I've watched it over and over.

In November of last year, I finally decided that I wasn't enjoying my 4 seat Tampico as much as I used to. I found that I had been to every place within easy range for a 100 knot airplane that I cared to go to, I often ended up flying alone boring pointless holes in the sky, and I was ready for a new challenge. I googled up an RV-8 owner here in town, sent him an email asking if he could answer a few questions about the planes, and ended up accepting his invitation to ride down to Parkersburg, WV with him the following Saturday. While there, I also rode in an RV-6 and an RV-4.

Of them all, I liked the RV-4 the best. It is the closest to a small military fighter in feel and configuration, and that really appealed to me. Control stick in the right hand, throttle in the left, and passenger in the back. That's the way to fly! Once I got home, I put the Tampico up for sale and started looking for an already built -4. Events occured, trials and tribulations ensued, and I eventually ended up buying N466PG, an RV-6. How did I go from an RV-4 to an RV-6? Mostly it's because they seem to have much greater re-sale value (to get an idea of why I care about this, consider that as of this day I will own two airplanes until the Tampico sells), and it would allow my passenger to sit in the front seat.

So, today was the culmination of my years-long transition from spamcan driver to RV-6 owner. No, I didn't have to spend thousands of hours building my plane like most RV owners do, but it was still a pretty long wait. And this brings us to the anti-climax: closing the deal.

I filled out two simple forms, the seller signed one of them, and I mailed them and the required $5 fee to the FAA. Done. I swear, there's more paperwork involved in buying a toaster from Best Buy. And to top it all off, I didn't even get a key!

I decided that it would be smart to have my instructor fly up with the previous owner when he delivers the plane to me. The thinking was that it might reduce the "blind leading the blind" quotient for the first few flights if the instructor had actually previously flown the plane. The instructor and owner couldn't get a mutually agreeable time until Monday morning. Taking possesion on July 4 should make it an easy anniversary to remember!

So, now I wait some more. I'm on vacation next week, though, so I anticipate getting some flying in.

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