N1032H

N1032H

Dreams are powerful things. They can define what you do in life and how much effort you put into things. I have had many dreams, now long past and I still have many dreams that I hope to see achieved one day, but on May 1st, 2009 I was able to say that one of my dreams came true.

N1032H

N1032H

You see, I have dreamed about owning and flying a turboprop (Propeller aircraft powered by a jet engine) for many, many years. For me the sophistication of the jet engine, the higher altitudes, higher speed and increased comfort were all things that I aspired to obtain and command as PIC or Pilot in Command. The ability to jump aboard your plane and launch out to visit family in Arizona (or anywhere for that matter) at a moments notice, no security, no price gouging because I made last minute plans, no hassles – just do a preflight, check the weather and launch are all things that have driven me forward in aviation.

After many years of hard work, many years of 20+ hour days, 6 and 7 days a week, after many years of renting or leasing different fixed wing aircraft, my good friend Steve and I were lucky enough to be able to set up an investment in the  2007 Piper Meridian shown above. The fantastic team over High Performance Aircraft in El Cajon California really helped us find the perfect Meridian. This aircraft holds 6 people, cruises at 30,000 feet with a true airspeed of 265 knots or just over 300 mph. We often times see over 350 mph.

297 KIAS

297 KIAS

297 knots across the ground (342mph)

Now many might say that 300 to 350mph is a lot slower than the airlines, and you are right..its is a lot slower than the airlines. But the time savings comes in when I don’t have to drive to an airport capable of supporting a 737, don’t have to wait in line to get a ticket, don’t have to wait in line to get searched (maybe two or three times), don’t have to wait in the lounge for the aircraft to arrive, don’t have to wait on the aircraft while 140 other people heard their way to the back of the plane, don’t have to wait around to deplane at the other end and I don’t have to wait around to get my bags once off the aircraft. By the time you add up all of those “I don’t have” having a 300 to 350 MPH plane means that I can beat the airlines (portal to portal) generally within 800 to 1000nm from my departure point. In the two or so hours it takes a person to do all of the above, I have already traveled 600 or 700 miles.  If I am going to Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc – I will be on the ground at my destination before the airliner ever leaves Runway 27 at KSAN!

Instrument Panel

Instrument Panel

Of course there is a price to doing so of course. If I am by myself, my fuel cost one way to Phoenix will be around $250 or about $500 or $600 round trip. With a Southwest flight costing $89, there is no savings there. BUT….just the other day I had to fly to Phoenix with my CEO and we found out about it two days before and it cost over $700 on Southwest to get a ticket. Too bad I didn’t have the Meridian then…not only would we have saved countless hours dealing with the airlines, it would have cost me less out of pocket.

I know some of you are saying to yourself….yea, but you had to buy the plane…..

That is true, however it was acquired as an investment, one that will pay off due to the timing of the market when we got the plane. There is no doubt in my mind that in three years, we will sell her for more than we paid for her. That is the nature of aircraft (unlike autos) and why they make good investments. You have aircraft that are 30 years old selling for 5 times today what they did new.

Of course, the other nice thing about this airplane is that every seat is first class !!

First Class Cabin

First Class Cabin

Of course, Steve and I could never leave well enough along…there were a few bells and whistles missing, so into the shop our new bird went….but that is a story for another day!

Panel Upgrade

Panel Upgrade

Richard J. Sears

Hi – I am the author – Richard Sears. I have been a pilot and flight instructor for over 20 years!

If you live in the San Diego area and would like to arrange a free airplane or helicopter flight for your child (age 8 to 18) through the EAA Young Eagles program please email me at richard@sears.net

If you are a Scout Master, I can work with your troop on the Aviation Merit Badge and provide all ground training and flights necessary to meet the latest requirements of the Aviation Merit Badge. I am a registered Merit Badge Counselor with the BSA San Diego – Imperial Council.

All my flight time is donated, there is no cost to the parents or the troop.

Parents are always welcome to ride along and get hooked!

View Richard Sears's profile on LinkedIn