In 2008 we sold our Bonanza 66A who I often refer to as “Alphie”. I was very sad to see it go. A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves in a position to entertain acquiring another traveling airplane and the search began. Guess who was on the market…. 66A was for sale and still owned by the gentleman we sold her to.
Sunday I picked up 66A in Greensboro NC. 66A still has our small logos on the tail. The pen light was still in the console with the same pen next to it. My “lunch kit” for inflight meals which consisted of handi wipes, napkins and a trash bag was still in the map box. We’re both a little more weathered but still the same.
66A and I flew home to Minnesota in just a shade over 6 hours with a true airspeed of 174 knots. Not bad. While watching the earth slip by under the wings and listening to the rumble of the IO-520 a flood of memories came back to me……
It was in this airplane I first felt like I was flying something of means in regard to its performance. I learned to shoot instrument approaches from my father the way he did in a 747, in actual IMC. My wife gave me recurrent training in this airplane. Jeremy, my brother, and I went on one hell of an adventure and encountered a situation that one most likely does not put in print. 66A carried my best friend home from basic training before he went to Iraq. She picked me up on more than one occasion from a failed antique airplane cross country due to weather or a mechanical and brought me home with a family member at the helm. It flew my wing on numerous occasions when I was flying something home less than trustworthy.
66A has shown us both coasts as well as some of the best sunsets, rises and night sky views one could ever hope to see. The experiences this airplane brought me and what they have taught me is personally invaluable. Sure, it’s a tin can, Bonanza or a you know what killer to some of you jet jocks or antique types out there. Frankly I kind of looked at it like that for a long time. With time apart and time to ponder its significance to our family it affirmed my appreciation for this old Bonanza. It reminded me of why and how something like his Stearman is so important to our friend Chuck Doyle. It’s the memories. An airplane like this truly becomes a time machine.
Many of you out there know exactly of what I speak of. Perhaps it’s a car, home or something else of significance in your life. What it is I really intend to illustrate is my saying “airplanes are people too”. Maybe now my friends that don’t understand this silly saying have a little better perspective into my love for aviation.
Last night I arrived to a full hangar so we put 66A in another hangar. This particular hangar is owned by the gentleman we originally bought her from. See, things that are meant to be sometimes come around full circle before you know they really are meant to be.