Flight Training - July 2011 - 24
By Greg Brown
MATT PEACOCK with his 1973 Cessna 150, at Lake Placid Airport. LAURIE SARGENT joins Matt Peacock in his Cessna 150.
MATT PEACOCK AND HIS CESSNA 150
t’s not every night you can dine with fellow pilots on the Queen Mary!” said Matt Peacock. He and girlfriend Laurie Sargent had just joined our table at the “A Night for Flight” fundraiser during AOPA Summit. They proved to be hospital nurses from upstate New York.
172, but as a beginner I wasn’t sure what to look for, or what I could afford. So I decided to buy an economical two-seat Cessna 150 and upgrade later. A wellequipped 1973 model popped up on eBay in Chesapeake, Virginia, that even had an autopilot. A student had once collapsed the nose gear, but I figured that was to be expected on a 35-year-old airplane. “I offered $22,000 for the plane sight unseen, and the seller accepted. So I purchased two one-way tickets to Virginia Beach, and first saw the plane the day my instructor and I flew it away. Kurt warned me beforehand that, ‘If I have a bad feeling about this plane, you’ll hear about it.’ But I figured at the price, even $2,000 or $3,000 of repairs would be reasonable, so the risk was small. As it turned out, we both felt good after interviewing the seller’s mechanics, who’d just completed the annual inspection. Since then,Kurt often says that I got a great buy.” “How did it feel, flying your own airplane home?” I asked. “Great, though I got nervous when we experienced engine roughness two hours into the flight. But after Kurt calmly applied carburetor heat, the engine chugged for a moment and then ran fine. ‘Congratulations!’ he said. ‘Your first experience with carb ice.’ We decided to stop at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, rather than proceeding home over mountains at night in a new airplane, as originally planned. “Ultimately it took one and a half years to earn my license, primarily because of my busy work schedule. My 75 hours of training time included extra solo practice thanks to owning my own airplane; I feel I got my private much cheaper than had I rented throughout. After that, I flew weekly to Poughkeepsie—a four-hour round trip versus 10 hours driving.” Last summer he flew to AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with his mechanic
“Did you fly yourselves here?” I asked. “Oh, no,” said Matt. “I pilot a Cessna 150 out of Ogdensburg, up on the Canadian border. Flying here would have taken forever.” Along with working Ogdensburg’s emergency room, Matt practices as a travel nurse in Poughkeepsie. “Flying myself there saves time, and is affordable.” “How did you get into flying?” Jean asked. “At the time I worked full time in Poughkeepsie—eight days at a stretch to minimize the number of five-hour drives from Ogdensburg. I remember thinking, ‘There must be a quicker way to get here.’ “Someone suggested I look into flying down for work. They meant by airline, but it triggered the thought, ‘Why not learn to fly myself?’ I found my instructor, Kurt Thomas, on the Web, and was hooked after my first lesson.” Thirty hours into training, Matt bought his own airplane. “I figured, ‘Why not apply $5,000 of my training cost against buying my own plane?’ Originally I wanted a Cessna
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