November one eight six five Charlie, you are cleared to the India CharlieTango airport, after departure turn left zero five zero, radar vectors Texoma Four departure. Climb and maintain two thousand, expect flight level three two zero, ten minutes after departure. Departure control one two four point three, squawk three seven eight four.”
My passenger, Curt, showed up right on time. The weather on both ends was clear and perfect.
KADS 15008 13SM SCT250 21/05 30.05 KICT 19018G26 CLR 19/00 29.97
We started engines, ran the checklist, flashed the landing lights to Hanna the ramp marshal, and slowly moved forward toward the taxiway. It was a completely normal start to a completely routine flight.
Except it wasn’t. It was my last flight in N1865 Charlie. I was selling my airplane.
Ten years ago, I sold my business. Patty and I celebrated. I bought a 2002 C90 King Air. Then in 2007 a brand new Mustang.
We even survived the stock market crash of 2008. In 2012, I upgraded airplanes to a CJ1+. We kept our money invested in the stock market. Surely things wouldn’t get that bad again. But the several trillion dollar decline late last year finally got my attention.
As we lifted off runway 15 at KADS (Addison, TX) on the way to the Cessna service center, it began to sink in. Owning 100% of a private jet didn’t make sense. I know I have been very fortunate. Those of us lucky enough to own an airplane, no matter what type, are in a rare group. We get to see the world from an incredible perch. We ride our magic carpets all over the world. Sometimes we give back by flying wounded warriors or endangered animals or Special Olympics athletes. It’s a pretty cool lifestyle. And we get very used to it.
That’s why it hurts so much.
As we made the turn off runway 19L at Wichita Midcontinent, now Eisenhower National, I listened closely to every sound 65 Charlie made. I wanted to remember this flight forever as if it might be my last.
Since the purchase of the B model Baron, thirty-seven years ago, I have been able to get in an airplane just about anytime I wanted, and fly. I have experienced the rare freedom that only we, as pilots understand. I wish it could last forever. But, philosophically, as I approach age 65, I know that I’m in the transition years.
I am not ready to give up just yet. I have a plan. My good Dallas friend Larry will gladly let me fly his new Citation M2 while I look for another ownership experience. Perhaps I can find a partner looking to share the expense of another Citation. Maybe all I need to do is win the lottery.
Stay tuned for more of this story. I promise you will have a front row seat for my journey.