Flight of a felon, almost.

So, I am a retired police officer and my uncle, also a retired police officer told me all great stories begin with, “No shit, this really happened.” This is one of those stories.

I am one of the lucky cops, I got hurt very badly and had to retire while still alive but very hurt. As such I lost my medical and got out of GA, went into the fractional airlines dispatch department for 18 years and while hanging out with my fellow midnight dispatch scum I was reinfected with the GA virus. My teen age daughter complained that both of her parents work for the preeminent fractional airline and she had never flown.

So the search began. I found an Arrow that passed my inspection and bought it, then found out all the AD’s and annuals had been pencil whipped for the last 17 years. The Arrow was down for a while for in essence a D Check but now my Arrow is in pristine condition and we are enjoying flying it.

My midnight dispatch scum friend is also a CFII at a local airport, he is not in need of hours but it is not hard to find young CFI’s who want to go to the airlines and need hours. One such pilot loves flying my Arrow and he wanted to go have breakfast and tour the museum at KPCW, Port Clinton, Ohio located on the shore of Lake Erie, just about exactly 1 hour from our home base of Lancaster, Ohio, KLHQ.

So we did all the normal stuff to get ready and had an uneventful flight north. We overflew Cedar Point Amusement Park and a mile or so over Lake Erie then the 2 miles into KPCW. From our time over the park to our approach, 4 aircraft arrived all without ADS-B and 3 took off and stayed in the pattern, only 1 of the planes that took off had ADS-B. It quickly became scary busy and Doug my CFI took over the landing. He got us sequence in with the other traffic but the other traffic was 20 knots slower than us. One of the other planes realized we could not play well in their sandbox and he allowed us to go in front of him while he did a 360. It was an incredible air show and my 50 year old Arrow was the newest plane in the pattern by several decades. There was a real Cub, TriPacer, a 1959 Cessna 180 on amphibious floats and a few others.

While turning final there was a black spot out in front of us. This dot began taking shape, white tail feathers and a white head and bright yellow legs. We got to see a Bald Eagle in flight at no more than 20 feet off the wing. His wings were out stretched and his talons aimed at the plane, I don’t know if he put his feet out to slow himself down or if he intended to engage in close range combat. Either way we turned leaving him to fly through our prop wash and we landed safely, rolling to the end of the runway and right to breakfast/lunch at The Tin Goose Diner. Everything looked good and we enjoyed our food and heard no complaints from any table.

After we ate we toured Liberty Aviation Museum. They have several planes, all airworthy including a B25, Boeing Stearman and a new arrival a PBY Catalina flying boat. They have some WWII German tanks and weapons along with a Sherman Tank that they take out in the parking lot and play with it on some Saturdays in the summer. We were allowed to stick our heads in the PBY and have a look while museum staff sprayed the aircraft with degreaser. The old P&W’s gave the plane a generous coating of oil that the staff was using a large lift to reach the tail to degrease it. The Cat is registered N4NC.

All in all it was a great flight, 1 hour each way, good food and a little bit of aviation history for my daughter. Helping my teenager understand the sacrifice and loss her family endured to give her the Rights and Freedoms we enjoy today.

My daughter explained to Doug, he better sign her off to solo on her 16th b-day, her dad, me, the meteorologist, pointed out she was born in January, my fault, and we live in Ohio, kinda my fault, and Ohio weather in January may push her solo back to March. I was told I have 2 years, work on my forecasting. I think my kid has the aviation bug so looks like we have a future Piper Owner Society member. She plans on becoming a lawyer. She is interested in protecting family farms, equine sports law and has spoken to a lawyer at the airport and has become interested in aviation law. In 10 years we may have a lawyer here to help. Especially if you fly your horses to your family farm.

If you are interested in good food and a fun small museum, a flight to KPCW is great just please don’t have a mid air with our National Bird and commit a felony by killing a Bald Eagle.

That was one of the most impressive sights I have seen, an Eagle full span with its talons pointed at me.

1973 Arrow II factory AC removed

G5’S, G275, GNX375 Still can get lost.


  • Great story, thanks for sharing it! :)

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Awesome that your daughter is interested in aviation. She sounds very ambitious.

    "Get your kids into racing or aviation and they'll never have money for drugs."

    Great story!

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • @griff390

    We have horses, and everything that goes with them. Trailer, big trucks. She said she wanted an inexpensive show saddle, only $5600 marked down from $7800. We have no money nor does she have time.

    My kid is either at a horse show or 4H meeting or riding lessons. She does not have time to get in real trouble and she has so many friends who keep her on the straight and narrow. It does not hurt that she has Officer Daddy who will not put up with much.

    That was a kewl place to eat and visit, if you are in northern Ohio it is worth a stop.

    1973 Arrow II factory AC removed

    G5’S, G275, GNX375 Still can get lost.

  • Resq5hvy;

    I had my baptism into aircraft ownership 24 yrs ago. I thought aircraft were expensive until I compared notes with friends and family who own horses. We've got nothing on them.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Congratulations on the near miss and building interest in a future aviator :)

    Too bad that the avian population does not have an ADSB IN / OUT requirement or take recurrent see-and-avoid training. It's not like they cannot hear us coming though, or easily recognize the nesting location of the bigger and constantly noisy variety.

    I regularly have to take evasive action from seagulls. Am less worried about legalities of what type of bird, and more so with survive-ability. It is kind of surprising how some birds freak-out and try to fly *into* the plane's path, especially if they are a little bit higher. It seems their natural reaction is to scramble straight down once they 'wake-up'. Am finding that a bank-and-yank maneuver is working when at same, or lower, altitude than the bird. Am sure that chopping the power might help, but my hands are already busy.

  • There are horses that know they are not papered:

    There are horses that think they are papered: my mare, she is a stubborn as a mule and cute as a kitten.

    Then my boy, he is cow bred, reiner and terrified of cattle. He does think he rides with my daughter in the truck but agreed to ride in the trailer because she gave him carrots. He will do anything that is asked of him. Small children who want to sit on a horse, there is nothing they can do to anger him. At that point all the money is worth it.

    1973 Arrow II factory AC removed

    G5’S, G275, GNX375 Still can get lost.

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