9:50 PM

A Dream Fulfilled.

Forty one years ago, I fell in love with airplanes, listening to the traffic fly in and out of Fresno Air Terminal as radio calls blasted out of the "Old Radio" that I've written about before.

The Old Radio is a 1940s-era Zenith All Band floor model, and it was that collection of wires, tubes and wood that coaxed my dad, Papa Louie, into a love affair with flying back in San Francisco many decades ago.

I also earned my private ticket at FAT, and as a young boy growing up in what I now call FresNO, the fence surrounding FAT was the one I hung on, watching planes inbound to 29L and 29R.

So it is very fitting that today, I made an offer right back at FAT that was accepted on the Cherokee 235 of my dreams. N8527W is a cherry cream puff with about 100 hours on a sparkling clean Corona Cylinders Lycoming 0-540, and some serious IFR avionics in the panel, including the S-TEC system 50 I had hoped for.
I was only passing through FAT on business, and the owner of 27W was kind enough to fly the 235 up from its base at Whiteman Airport in L.A. As I strolled around 27W inspecting her (him?), I am not lying when I say a wave of emotion washed over me. My dad and I had always planned to buy a plane together, but his stroke in the early 90s changed that big time. Now Papa Louie is flying with Lindbergh, gone west as they say. But standing there on the ramp where I fell in love with flying and where he took his 26 hours of flight training before fate struck its blow, I felt like I had his approval to buy the plane.

So I did.

All that stands in the way of delivering 27W back home to EUG is a successful pre-buy inspection and some FAA and bank paperwork. I cannot wait. Now all we have to do is name it. Somehow, I have a hunch the name Louie might work its way into that name.

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