Tire kickers and wannabes

From an actual eBay listing recently:

1964 BAC JET PROVOST MK4, complete logs since new including military logs, logs show apx 6500 TT, 1300 on engine.  Rolls Royce Viper 201, Airplane flys great, aircraft has King KLX 135A GPS/COM, King KT76A transponder and PS Engineering intercom, Flight Helmets available at extra cost, new windscreen week. If you bid, please have funds available, no dreamers, tire kickers, and wanabes...

I was a wannabe once.

Part of the narrative that runs throughout this blog is one of airplane ownership, former ownership, and/or future ownership. Not long ago, I was ready for airplane ownership again. My latest big project was done and I needed a new one. I thought it would be fun (and inexpensive) to spend a few hours a week building a Wittman Tailwind--a design I just love--from scratch, but after trying my hand at welding I was pretty sure I wasn't keen on starting a project that would most likely take me a decade, let alone the prospect of having to move it two, three, or more times with my job.

So, a Tailwind wasn't going to be my project, but buying one could be the next best thing. There were several options that had come and gone as I was watching those days, but the one I flew out to check out and test fly was an old blue bird that had spent some time in a museum and returned to flying status, still very much as a museum piece. I had grand visions for updating it for the twenty-first century.

After having bought plans for the dang plane and convinced it was the right one for me, my only thought upon arriving at the hangar at KCCB was holy crap it's small. Really, I was a lot taller than the whole dang airplane, tail and all. I fit in it, sort of. I made myself believe it would be fine, and made an offer that the seller accepted, with plans to return two weeks later--after I had gotten a tailwheel endorsement--to fly it home.

In those two weeks, I had to do some soul searching. Was it really okay? The seller and I barely fit in the thing together. My knees were about up to my chin, and certainly didn't fit under the dash. It was a sardine tin.

Furthermore, only then did I think about my mission, something I knew was important but generally ignored for love of the design. I think some mild aerobatics would be fun, and I really liked flying with the door open in the Cub I got my endorsement in. I bet the Tailwind will do an aileron roll and I'm sure the doors would come off just fine, but it's not the airplane for that mission.

So a day before going back out to pick up my new airplane, I bowed out, officially becoming a tire kicker and a wannabe, only to return to the future airplane owner that I remain to this day. Flying for work would have to do.

I know what the Provost seller means. Ryan, I'm sorry for being a tire kicker. I won't make that mistake again.


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