Here, you will find the story of my first baby, Wolverine. The name comes from the colors - maize and blue - the school colors of the University of Michigan, where I got my undergraduate degrees. It's a modern classic. Here are the basic statistics:
1979 Bellanca Citabria 7ECA
Sam buys a plane...
In April, 1996, I found an ad in Trade-A-Plane for a 1979 Bellanca Citabria 7ECA in Brinkley, Arkansas. I cashed in some frequent flyer miles to go down and see it. After a clean pre-purchase inspection, I plunked down 20%. About a month later, after all the paperwork with the bank and the FAA went through, on May 10, 1996, I bought my first airplane. It was a two-day trip back to my home base in Bedford, Massachusetts, but it was worth it. What you see here are the pictures I took in Arkansas before buying the plane. It really hasn't changed much since then, except for new paint and a narrow black stripe on the wings.
It's now November, 2003, and I've sold Wolverine. It was nice while it lasted, but I just haven't flown enough recently to make sense out of ownership.
In order to defray operating costs, I leased it back to the aero club I was a
member of. Everything was going fine, until the day I returned from Siggraph
'96 on August 10, when I received a panicked call from the aero club manager.
That morning, a club member (on his first flight since being checked out in
the plane) had ground-looped my airplane, collapsed the landing gear, and
snapped the right wing in half. It's amazing how much damage a low-speed
accident can cause. (Fortunately, nobody was physically hurt.) What you see
here are the pictures of the plane immediately after the accident. I also
have a copy of the NTSB report.
Since all the fabric had to be torn off my plane anyway, I figured I'd get a
new custom paint job. My first thought was to paint it like a penguin. But,
that would make the top black, which is not very hospitable in hot weather.
So, I opted for basically the same paint scheme with some additional black
striping (which is actually not quite symmetric, a feature I really like).
What you see here is the result of the final painting. There's also quite a
long story of my cross-country flight to get the plane
from Massachusetts to California.
I developed the pictures, but I haven't scanned them yet. In fact, I
can't even find them right now!
I got a chance to do some mountain training in a rented Cessna 170B (The Black Beast) back in May, 1997. Unfortunately, that plane has since moved to Florida, so there weren't any 170s available for rent. Fret no more! On November 28, 1997 (the day after Thanksgiving), I hopped up to Seattle to check out a 1953 B-model. It didn't take long before I put down a deposit. It took 4 months before the weather cooperated enough for me to bring it home, but I finally did. My ownership of Charlie ended in October, 2000. Basic statistics are here, and I have more pictures.
1953 Cessna 170B
I got my Lighter than Air rating in August 1999, and it really is a lot of fun. It's pretty hard to rent balloons, so the best way to fly one is to own one. In May, 2000, I bought a used black Raven with a red rose and yellow lightning bolt motif. The balloon is named after the design on the top cap (see small picture, viewed from inside the balloon).
Possible future acquisitions
A man can dream, can't he?
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This page was last modified on|
Monday, 27 June 2005 at 06:32 PDT.