The first time I hit barnstormers.com, the web-site with the most comprehensive list of used airplanes (and -“stuff”), I was overwhelmed. Sure, in my dream I flew a Cessna 170, but browsing through page after page I was reminded that there were many other classic taildraggers which could possibly fit my mission: not only did the 170 itself come in three different models, there were also its smaller and bigger brother, the 140 and the 180, different Pipers, the Stinson 108, the Aeronca Sedan, a Taylorcraft perhaps…
So where to begin? Ask around!
My “friend Google” sent me ever deeper into the rabbit hole – until I hit backcountrypilot.org ! What a phenomenal resource! I signed up and started reading. Four weeks later (just kidding) I emerged from that treasure cave of knowledge and intrigue to resume my search a bit more focused and a lot more motivated.
As mentioned in my first post it wasn’t only the plane which required attention, I myself, the pilot, was also in need of ‘maintenance and upgrade’. Not only would I have to get current in powered aircraft, which also implied looking for a flight surgeon for a fresh medical, I also needed a tailwheel endorsement if I wanted to pilot a 170 or any other plane with the third wheel under the empennage rather than the nose. These were additional items on my budget, as well as on the to-do list, requiring extra time and more funds.
To fly ! The whole project is about flying, so it should start with flying – no further arguments or excuses needed!
For some decades I had rarely flown a power plane, perhaps every other blue moon a friend would encourage me to keep the wings level after inviting me on a pleasure ride. So it was time to check if I could get back to being the pilot in command without spending excessive amounts of time and money – and while I’m at it why not try in a taildragger. I was in Argentina at that time and asked friends if they knew a place where I could take a couple of lessons. The Aero Club Lujan came up and since my soaring buddy Lipton happened to be the treasurer of the club arrangements were quickly made. Thanks to the competent ‘guidance’ of Leo, my excellent instructor, and the easygoing attitude of a beautifully restored Piper PA-11 the question: ” can I still…?” was answered in two hours of flying time: “Sure can!”