Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Bryan is a long-time friend from Oklahoma. He’s currently working on assignment out in Bullhead City, AZ—and the chance to buy an airplane presented itself.
The plane, a 1946 Ercoupe, is sitting in Prescott, AZ, however the current owner does not have insurance on the plane, so Bryan couldn’t fly it to check it out—and said Ercoupe in Prescott has been sitting for five years.
Bryan found an Ercoupe instructor and certified Ercoupe mechanic in San Manuel, at a little airport. Bryan will fly the Ercoupe in San Manuel and get the details of flying such an aircraft. San Manuel is not that far from Dog Mtn, and I know its location as Steve and I have ridden past on our way to Mammoth and Winkelman.
Bryan, Parrish, and I un-load Parrish’s Ercoupe from the hanger. Parrish is the resident flight instructor/manager of the San Manuel Airport.
An Ercoupe is different from other airplanes as it has no rudder pedals on the floor. When you fly, its like driving a car. Having never flown one of these little gems, Bryan wants to be sure he knows some of the characteristics of its performance.
Pre-flight check of the engine.
Bryan and Parrish taxi out to the airstrip for take off.
The unmistakable tail of the Ercoupe
Bryan flying the aircraft
There's that tail rudder again... You know this plane would fit in my garage. Its very small and way cool.
While Bryan and Parrish fly, I explore the little airport here in San Manuel. A good friend of Parrish's, a really cool guy named Eric, has shown up to work on his own Ercoupe. He bought in Kentucky and he and Parrish flew it back to Arizona. Eric and Parrish both grew up in San Manuel--Eric does specialized above and underground digging for the mining industry, traveling all over the country, while Parrish was in the Navy and also the Army, recently retired after 16 years and two tours of Iraq. They're back home and plan to make the little airport a happenin' scene. According to Eric, Ray Blair lived here by the airport for years and kept an eye on all the planes and airstrip and such.
Bryan is quite pleased with the Ercoupe and Parrish is quite impressed with Bryan as a pilot skills.
Parrish asks me if I'm up for a quick ride--but will I fit in the cockpit?
I'm strapped in and we're set.
About to take off.
Flying over the now defunct cooper mine.
The cooper mine has been closed for a few years. It was bought by a company in Switzerland which immediatley shut down the mine--to raise the price of copper on the world market. Everyone that lived in San Manuel and worked for the mine lost their jobs.
Flying over the airport. Parrish gives me a few pointers and I am flying the plane, mes amis! Pretty scared and nervous at first, but with a little coaching, I'm flying and turning, and going over the basics. This is fun!
Coming in for a practice landing--I get to land and do the touch and go exercise.
It would take some getting used to, but I think I'd like to learn to fly one of these babies! It would be an expensive hobby--probably much safer than cycling to work even!
Bryan logs his time--and absorbes the flight, the plane, and the details and advice from Parrish about buying the plane and getting it ready to fly.
We had a great day flying and Parrish and Eric were good guys--for everything we did, they wouldn't take any money and did not charge us anything. That was cool--Bryan and Parrish did go over many details about the plane Bryan wants to buy up in Prescott, and of course, when the time comes, Bryan will pay a premium for the expertise Parrish has concerning Ercoupes. Mainly, checking out the Ercoupe to see if its even worth buying and if it can even be flown down to San Manuel--were it will take several thousand dollars more to have it inspected and made ready for Bryan to fly it it from there back to Tulsa--probably then on to Alaska where Bryan may spend the summer. The main thing is that Parrish represents a disinterested third party. If Bryan buys the plane, the Prescott machanic selling it for the owner (one of Bryan's co-workers) gets 5 percent. Kind of like a realtor type thing where they get their cut.
Should Bryan buy the Ercoupe and just so happen to leave it in San Manuel, you can bet that I will take good care of the aircraft and have a few lessons and keep things tip top. Who knows? The blog could be filled with pictures of clouds, airplanes, and my babalicious groupies.