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Insurance & Getting Into Ones Golden Years

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Dave Baxter

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 14, 2007
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Dennis, the how/why I ended up with the AcroSport is a long story. It was started by Mr. ??? in Kentucky. I thought I could get it in the air rather quickly then two things happened A) Life hit me square in the n-ts. That ate up several years. Plus 2) I discovered just how badly this plane had been built. It has been a struggle trying to correct (or at least minimize) the numerous mistakes on the airframe and deal with health issues. The biggest issues were the 1/4" ribs and the 5/8" ribs were built on different, very dissimilar jigs. Made a very interesting pattern when slipped on the spars. All the welded on brackets had been predrilled without building the parts that bolted on. The upper wing profile did not match the center section, etc. etc. Health wise I am under control at the moment - 3rd remission. It is almost a certainty I will never fly this plane - age / insurance - that is depressing at times but I plug on as I really enjoy the building. That's why I mentioned a while back that I was building for the future owner. I certainly hope he/she appreciates it.

Randy , I admire you because my circumstances are a huge ditto . I'll soon be 71 and chances of obtaining insurance are falling fast but there is a constant buzz in my head (other than tendinitis) that tell's me to do and do it right . I would love to complete my Smith and totally hope it's the finest one ever presented . I also wonder who'll wind up with it . Keep punching till the other guy falls . Enjoy

Randy my friend no one knows the feeling better than me, I'm 79, and I never thought I would live to be 70 for gods sake! But having a goal and something to look forward to each day keeps old guys like us from getting Alzheimer's, and besides what could be more challenging than building an airplane and keep the molecules in your bean head agitated? If you go back and look at my SA-100 build https://www.biplaneforum.com/threads/sa-100-progress.12696/ You can see what I started with was a reasonably well built airplane, but there were also numerous things that needed to be fixed or changed, like moving the cockpit aft 6" or building a four aileron version as opposed to just lower ones, also when I first put it together the upper wings missed lining up by almost a 1/4", and it had 6 degrees of dihedral the lower wings, looked like a "V" tailed Bonaza, and required adding 3" or so to the "I" struts!!! Plus it had changed hands almost a dozen times from the early 80s when it was started to 2015 when I bought it. Added to that and of course the fact I had a certain goal and certain look in mind I was shooting for, to kind of replicate one of Lou Stolps SA-100s N2314C. I was not sure when I started if it would fly before the world ended as we know it ( Which looks like that might still happen) or that I would fall off the end of the earth first! But again the reason besides wanting one was to keep me in the game, and although I did finish and fly it, the trip /journey to do so was also a big part of experience, so flying the time off for an old guy like me was just the frosting on the cake! BTW I flew it yesterday .6 with a half dozen landings, and it now has 68.3 hrs of flight time, and that little sucker keeps an old guy like me on his toes, as the difference between a squeaker and basket ball bounces with some hip hops and excursions back and forth across the runway white line thrown in is a very " SLIGHT" lack of concentration and attention on touch down!

My airline pilot buddy Steve jump seats a lot and many times the conversation on the flight deck gets around to their humble beginnings and most all bemoan the fact that they never pursued their dream airplane, and Steve shows the pictures of his Starduster and Baby Ace that has no electrical system, and has to be had propped and adds ain't that cool! As well as pictures of mine and says hey this old guy in Oregon build five airplanes and test flew the last one in his late 70s! And spends time here when in town and fly's with me a lot. He is also a current flight instructor and A&P.

If the Fly-In at Columbia in late September happens I will be 80 yrs old! Also I am currently renewing the liability insurance on both airplanes and have yet to receive any hard numbers, I have been with this company for over 20 yrs, but last year it the company was sold, however one of the owners is sill with the new company and hopefully that will help make the difference? I flew almost 80 hrs between both airplanes last yr, but did not go anywhere due to all of the Wuhan flu fly-in cancellations which is twice as much flying as in previous yrs. The SA-100 surprisingly was very affordable insurance wise, about $ 400.00 bucks a yr. But my two place has gone up about $100.00 bucks each of the last three yrs from $ 500.00 to $ 800.00 bucks and both are for liability only insurance.

I have been taken to task numerous times over the yrs by non flying friends that say flying ain't that dangerous, once they find out you fly and own an airplane, but my response is from all of my time on the fire dept I can tell you quite a number of ways to get out of this world, and none have anything to do with an airplane or for that matter the Wuhan flu, and you are just as dead! You get what life deals you, from your parents by heredity, which few can change, and also by how much drugs food or alcohol one pours down his neck and of course what kind of wild crazy life one leads can push the curve either way, but not by a lot!

I am going to hopefully renew my Basic Med next month, and currently think I can? Even though I have had several medical issues over the last four yrs, gall bladder surgery , minor prostrate chirp and cataract surgery, most all would require detailed documentation if one was still pursing a third class medical, but not so daunting with the basic med. So we shall see, the problem with being and old guy one day everything is just fine health wise, and the next not so much.

I currently do not plan on selling either of my airplanes, as they are not worth much in the current grand scheme of things anyway, besides what would one who's life has been so ingrained in aviation and planes like this do with out one? I knew this old boy in Palm Springs a WWII B29 navigator than owned a C-206 for 30 yrs then sold it and wanted a Starduster Too at 90 yrs old, and bought one although no one would sign him off as a new/old tailwheel pilot, but he had a hanger at Palm Springs and as such was told he had to have an airplane in it, hence the Starduster. But what he really wanted was a place to go sit in the sun in front of his hanger and tell airplane stories, and to have the biplane in his hanger solved that problem!

My point is Randy, having something interesting and challenging to look forward to solving each day is a good thing, as I have seen so many that their job was their life, and once retired do not live long as a couch potato. I retired from the fire dept at 56 yrs old in June of 1997, and still worked several jobs until in my 60s. I went out with five other guys, and all are no longer with us, so I have more than beat the odds for over 20 yrs! So having something to do especially building an airplane, I can think of no better way to stay alive, I plan on living forever and that the world is not going to end any time soon! But if it does, I hope I will make the last landing and turn out the lights! Dave


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