Monday, January 15, 2007

Yearning to Fly

For some reason, for the last week or so, I have been inundated with a constant thought: Wouldn't it be cool to have an airplane? I can only imagine that this is what it must be like for a woman hearing her biological clock ticking: Baby baby Baby baby Baby. (I've experienced this sort of thing secondhand.)

Everywhere I look, it seems, there is discussion about flying and learning to fly. I know several dozen people who have their license, many of whom also have their own planes. My relatives have gyrocopters in their back yards. I see signs on the street that say, "Learn to fly!" (no, really!). A friend of mine asks where she can find pictures of old WWI aircraft.

Wouldn't it be cool to have an airplane? Not a model or something, a real one. And not something boring, all point A to point B, but something fun and totally impractical, like an aerobatic biplane. In red.

And that's where I messed up. I went to eBay, all innocently, and typed in "biplane."


Doggone it, just what I was imagining. For a small fraction of what I imagined it would cost. I just about cried from the longing. Can anyone spare me $15,000 or so?


Jonadab said...

It's only not the up-front cost of the thing. It's also the cost and hassle of owning and maintaining it. A plane is worse than a boat. You have to rent a storage space for it, at the airport, which will cost more than you would think it should. You have to have a mechanic look at it periodically, or do it yourself. Parts for a plane that old could be difficult to obtain. All of that's just to keep it sitting around. If you actually fly it, then you've got to keep it in fuel and so forth.

Also, people who know you have it (which will be everyone you know, because with something like that you wouldn't be able to resist telling them) will want to see it, and to ride in it, and to fly it -- and it won't be just adults who want you to let them fly the thing, either. You've gotta say no if they don't have a pilot's license, but they (especially elementary-aged boys) will definitely not take that for an answer. You might as well tell them you own a real light sabre, show them a photo of yourself holding one, and then tell them no, they can't see it. They will bug you every time they see you.

Sure, such a thing would be fun to go up in. But I don't think it would be fun to _own_. Taking flying lessons would be fun, but going up in somebody else's plane, or a rented plane, would be much more fun than owning your own, IMO.

Besides... a biplane? Wouldn't you rather have a Warthog?

Andy said...

Oh, quit being the voice of reason. I know very well what the maintenance costs are. I even have a pretty good idea what it would cost just to get my license. And I know I can't afford it, not even if I took up a rigorous program of walking everywhere I couldn't fly.

You wouldn't have known these things, of course, but there are a few features of this particular aircraft that would make some of your objections moot:

--It has a wingspan of 16 feet, and the wings are detachable. I could store it in my shed for the cost of a garage door.

--It was built in 1985, and parts (it's a kitplane) are still being produced. It's actually a very popular model.

--It's a single-seater, rated for "an average size man and a tuna sandwich." I'd have to lose 50 pounds to fly the thing; passengers (other than very small children) are out of the question. That's the part about this that makes this seem like a rather selfish longing.

--Of course I would show it to people. I would probably show it to people so much that they wouldn't come over because I would show it to them.

Come to think of it, I'd probably enjoy building one more than I would enjoy owning one...

A Warthog? You're clearly missing the point.

Carolina Kerr said...

I think that this longing is probably a hereditary condition. I always wanted to fly, too, but I finally had to squelch the idea because my eyes are not good enough.

Andy said...

I remember you telling me about that many years ago. From what I read, one may now be a commercial pilot if one's vision is "correctable to 20/20," ...with the implication that the requirement wasn't always so lenient.

Jonadab said...

> Oh, quit being the voice of reason.

Sorry. I'll try to be more unreasonable in the future ;-)

> A Warthog? You're clearly missing the point.

Perhaps I am, because to my way of thinking, everything that would be cool about flying a biplane would be much *moreso* if it were an A-10 instead. (Granted, the expense would be much, much, MUCH moreso.)