Friday, April 20, 2007

In Pursuit of a Pursuit

So, what do you do when the things you've dreamed about, lusted for, and chased after for your whole life have all been accomplished? I suppose if you're Bill Gates you buy yourself an island and retire to the rewarding pursuit of focusing your untold billions on philanthropic projects ala Andrew Carnegie. But what if your means aren't really up to such rewarding pursuits? You still have the hunger for the chase, and a gnawing hunger it is.

As I was out mowing the lawn of my palatial estate, located no more than one statute mile from my hangar, which houses my beautiful RV-6, I couldn't help but bask in the fact that all of my needs have been met. A wonderful and healthy family, the best job I could ever hope for, a plane that I can fly wherever and whenever I want, cars that aren't constantly breaking down, and the aforementioned estate: what more do I need?

Well, the answer is nothing. I want for nothing. That, I think, is the problem (and admittedly, it's not a bad problem to have at all!). With nothing left to desire, nothing left to strive for, no goals remaining, what do I do to assuage the innate desire for a quest? This quest for a quest, if you will, must certainly be the explanation for why I continue to ponder various schemes for building, restoring, or completing a homebuilt airplane. It's odd, actually. The goal of many airplane builders is not the quest itself per se, but the end result of having an airplane to fly. I short circuited that by purchasing a complete and flying RV-6. Nothing at all wrong with that - I'd make the same decision today. But... something is still missing, and it's not a 180hp engine or a panel full of glass. The urge to create something is what goes unmet.

I go through various scenarios: build a single seat, wood airplane (Fisher Flying Products has many examples, but the Tiger Moth in particular strikes my fancy), find an older homebuilt that needs to be restored, or build a QB kit that can be completed in less than 700 or so hours (the Titan T-51 fits that nill nicely). Somewhere in that continuum would also be the idea of finding a plane that has been completed to the bare minumum (no paint, simple VFR avionics) and treating it like a restoration project with a higher initial cost and less grunge work (cleaning out birds nests and bugs, and their byproducts).

Each idea has pros and cons, but one thing that I keep circling back to is the balancing act between resale value, personal desirability, effort required, and cost. For example, I could build a little Fisher single seat biplane using wood, the ultimate composite, but I'd have a hard time selling it. That said, it's not inconceivable that I would keep it (in other words, it scores high on the personal desirability scale), but I'd have to find a lower cost place to keep it than a hangar at Bolton. I could do something with an RV with a focus on sellability, but the dollars invested would be much higher. The fundamental question always boils down to dollars and cents: what is the appropriate amount to invest in the pursuit of a quest? Must it be the absolute minimum? Does it make more sense to spend more dollars up front for the assurance that the final product would sell not only easily but well?

It is on these distracting thoughts that I place the blame for my accidentally mowing down a sapling. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it. But the thoughts go on...

No comments:

Post a Comment