I was quite a bit disgusted, not with the airplane itself but how the buy was going. Getting the training the insurance required before I flew the airplane home was a show-stopper. Alan’s reversal and refusal to fly the airplane to the LSA school meant my only option for taking the deal forward was to work something out with Doug. I was ready to cancel the deal if I couldn’t get my training scheduled that afternoon. And that’s what I told Connie as we walked across the ramp toward Doug’s flight school. So, everything hinged on whether we could get this to work out…today.
The flight school consisted of two offices, a larger one that housed a glass counter and chairs and one table with a computer and another that had desks and chairs but could be closed off by a door. Nobody was home. Hoping they had just stepped out, we sat down in the chairs to wait. We could give it an hour or two before calling it quits, but we only waited about twenty minutes when a gent stepped through the door. He had been out with a student in a Cessna 172. I asked the tall and grey-haired man if he was Doug and he said “no”. Doug was out with a student flying the Stearman but would be in before too much longer. We could hear and see the Stearman bouncing down the runway as we spoke; the crosswinds, which had increased by a good ten knots since Connie and I flew, were doing a good job of kicking the airplane around.
The big bi-winged radial engine airplane lugged up outside about ten minutes later. Doug was six feet tall with black hair, of medium build, in his thirties or forties (jard to tell) and was wearing a dark blue shirt and shorts and white tennis shoes.
“Hey, Doug,” the other instructor said as he walked in, “these people have been waiting to see you.”
“Hi!” he said, shaking my hand. “Let me finish up with my student and I’ll be right with you.”
I nodded and sat back down as Doug and his student, a thirty-something year old Stearman owner from Texas wearing an Aggie hat and jeans, sat down and talked about the crosswind landings they had done. Stearman flying was one of the school’s specialties. I was hoping that CTSW flying was going to be another.
Once Doug came to us, we sat down and discussed what I needed. He indeed did have the qualifications I needed, i.e., he had gone with Alan to pick up the CT when he had bought it and he had gotten his instruction from a factory rep, and he had then used that knowledge to train Alan. What a smart way to go! Not only had it solved Alan’s problem with getting some time, it had solved my as well…probably.
When we started talking about scheduling some training, I knew from my previous discussions with Doug he was not going to give up his Mondays off, so we talked about trying to get the time my insurance required in two days. I had confirmed with the insurance company that we could combine the BFR with the required five hours of training, so we picked a Tuesday and Wednesday three weeks away I could return on to close the deal on the CTSW and get the training I needed. That was just the shot in the arm I needed to continue, so we said good-bye and Connie and I headed back to Alan’s hangar to close the deal.
Back at the hangar, we told Alan we were ready to press ahead, so we signed pre-purchase agreements and discussed what the timeline for pickup of the aircraft would be. I still had to go back and finish working my shuttle mission; and until that was done, I couldn’t come back. Still, after I figured out what the end of mission had to be, we scheduled two training days on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 4th and 5th. I would return to California on August 3rd to pick up the keys and the aircraft in preparation for my training start the next morning.
We finished up everything we needed to do by noon. Connie and I drove back to our little cabin where we paid for out little stay, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the little town of Twain Harte, checking out the local ice cream and restaurants, and picking a Mexican place for dinner. Because of all the activity and the jet lag, we called it an early night and drove back to our little cottage where we watched TV for a while before going to sleep.
I was surprised we could sleep at all; we had just committed to spending almost eighty-thousand dollars…just to stay in the air!