Well, I’m back to being just a girl and her plane (singular). After I bought a Piper Seneca II (Hail Big Chief), I sold my beloved Orion to a flight school in Shreveport. It makes me happy knowing that Orion will continue to make other pilots happy, as he has since his birth. But it was extremely difficult to let go.
I bought him when I was 24 years old. I had so little credit history then that my dad had to co-sign the loan. I owned Orion for just over 10 years, and those 10 years were chock full of great memories brought on directly by him. First, I soloed in that plane, though that was before I bought him. Then I got my private, instrument, and commercial ratings with him. There were two international trips to numerous islands in the Bahamas. There were dozens of people I took on their first flight ever or first flight in a small plane. Orion took me home on a wonderful trip with my father when I moved back after four years in a city way too far from home. He took me to my first trip to Aviation Mecca in Oshkosh for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association’s fly-in (Pilgrimage to Mecca Part 1 and Part 2). And he took me to so much in between that it’d take days to chronicle. All this is to say, we’ve been through a lot together, and I don’t regret a single second we spent together.
Keeping all this in mind, you can understand that I pretty much had to emotionally disconnect myself from selling it. Still, I would think about our times together and get so emotional that I wanted to call off the sale. Who needed a savings anyway? I had just paid cash, aka my savings, for the Seneca. My, how life had changed since needing my dad to co-sign for Orion! I tried to snap myself back from thoughts of financial stupidity of owning two airplanes. And I kept reminding myself that I will make all new memories with Big Chief and that I could get to these memory-making places (or make them along the way) a lot faster now. It was just a thing, after all. Why was this so difficult? But it’s amazing how much this “thing” had come to mean to me and what a huge part of my life it was. You hear that expression “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you (fill in the blank), and that’s the same thing!” It is completely true about airplanes because those buy you spontaneous traveling, meeting new people, sharing experiences, and seeing things you can’t see any other way. Orion brought me all that and more.
Our last flight together was exactly how I liked to spend our time: sharing the beauty of flight with others. I took a local photographer friend and my boyfriend’s son for a flight around the city at sunset. They both got great pictures and said they had a blast. And hopefully their memory of Orion will last as long as mine.