Saturday, October 1, 2005
North American’s final triumph for general aviation
"Ever since I was a kid, I've been an airport nut. I flew models, and I was absolutely crazy about anything airplane from World War II and Korea. A buddy and I tried to go into the U.S. Air Force when we were 16. My mom wouldn't sign me up, and my buddy went without me. I got married and then went to engineering school at night. Before long, we had kids and, well, I guess I put flying on the back burner," he explains of his diverted path.
That doesn't mean Buchanan isn't a determined, goal-oriented type. After a successful career using his engineering skills, Buchanan decided to give flying a second chance.
He recalls, "One day, when I was 56 years old, I told my wife I was going to Florida to get my pilot's license and asked her if she wanted to go with me. 'Of course,' she said. 'Sure!'
"I had a limited time, so I called the flight-training school and told them I had three weeks and I wanted to take my check ride. They were skeptical, but I told them if they gave me a full-time instructor, I would make it. I wanted the meanest, hardest, orneriest instructor there was because that's what works for me. I worked from five in the morning until midnight every day, and we finished a half a day early!" gushes Buchanan.
"I believe I set a record, but it wasn't so easy. After the first week, I just wasn't getting it," he continues. "I sat down and had a talk with myself. I had never been beat or quit anything before, and I wasn't about to start now. Sometime in the second week, I started having fun. About that time, I changed flight instructors, and I had a great time! I've been flying ever since!"
Buchanan's love affair with the Navion began back in 1992. "I flew to Oshkosh with a friend in a Swift. There were about nine to 10 other guys in the group. I ended up riding home with one of them, Dick McFadden, in his Navion. I kind of fell for the Navion. It just struck my fancy," he swoons.
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Labels: Piston Singles