October 2004 -
It's 7:30 a.m. and, for the second time this week, I am out at the field on my way to the office. Cabin clean: check. Oil level: check. Windshield clean: check. No, it's not my preflight checklist I'm reading through. Stepping back, I take one last look at N56041, my 1973 Cherokee 140, and, leave her behind for another day of flying without me.
Believe it or not, the little Cherokee gets the best end of this deal. While I work, she will enjoy what I cannot, and be treated to a few hours of what she likes best, soaring amongst the clouds and keeping her engine dry, rust free, and well lubricated.
You see, N56041 is a "leaseback" that loves to fly. With over 500 hours flown this year, she's asked for nothing but a few oil changes and a new set of plugs. Lucky? Maybe so, but this bird is happy and needs less maintenance if flown regularly and kept in top condition.
Much has been written about the aircraft leaseback. "When the dreaded wolf's breath blows cold upon your neck ..." That description has been repeated, in one form or another, in airport diners and at pre-dawn pancake fly-ins across this country by both old and bold pilots (but not both!) who opine the pitfalls and dangers of leasing your pride and joy to the local flight school.
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