As 1998 began we were without wings and without much money for the care and feeding of an
airplane.  At the same time a 1966 Cessna 150F sat in a hangar in Grants Pass, Oregon, in an
advanced state of disassembly, for an annual inspection and a major engine overhaul.  Its owner
had just purchased an old Cessna 172, so the 150 was for sale, and at a very attractive price.  Lo
and behold, we were airplane owners.
   It seemed as if my flying career had come full circle after thirty years.  N3104X was nearly
identical to the
1966 Cessna 150 in which I had much of my basic flight training in 1967, and it
brought back a flood of pleasant memories.  It also reminded me of the first airplane in which I had
ever flown, a
1962 Cessna 182 whose registration also ended in "04X."
I'm not exactly sure
how the airplane
came to be known
in our family by the
name of "Rex."  
Perhaps it was a
contraction of its
radio call sign
("zero four X").  In
any event,
somehow it
sounded right, and
it stuck.
  "Rex" came to us with a newly-overhauled, 100-
hp Continental O-200-A engine.  Its panel held
VFR instrumentation and radios adequate for an
airplane of this type, including a single, modern
Narco Mark 12-D navcom with VOR-localizer
indicator, and a very early model Apollo 602
loran.  The 602 had no built-in database, and
required that the loran chains to be used and
latitiude-longitude coordinates of each waypoint
be manually entered.  We soon swapped the 602
for a more sophisticated Apollo 618 loran with a
database, which worked exceptionally well for
this airplane.  And atop the panel was a quaint
feature of Cessnas of that era – a rear-view
mirror!
   The airplane was sound mechanically and
structurally, and its interior was in good shape,
but it was anything but a beauty queen on the
outside.  It still wore its original factory paint
scheme, but we soon became suspicious as to
whether some of it had been repainted.  Areas of
the oxidized, fading red trim paint had flaked off,
leaving traces of orange paint underneath, and
the trim stripes on the upper cowl did not quite
line up with the stripes aft of the firewall.
   One day I was sorting through some old
vacation photos and happened upon a photo
taken at Grants Pass in 1990.  In the background
was N3104X, resplendent in a bright orange paint
scheme.  Sure enough, at some time between
1990 and 1997, someone had just painted over
the orange with red paint.  It was a "twenty-foot
paint job" – beyond that distance the paint
looked okay, but any inspection closer than that
revealed that it was not a very good job.  The
white base paint appeared to be original, and in
at least serviceable condition.
  In good weather conditions, a 150 is a delight to fly.  It is light and responsive, and feels like an extension
of the pilot's very thoughts.  It can be landed with a light touch to a full stall at about 40 miles per hour, and
roll out in just a couple of hundred feet, nosewheel high in the air until the airplane has slowed to walking
speed.  But in turbulence it can be a handful, and a moderate headwind can treat a 150's pilot to the view of
large trucks down below, passing the airplane.  Going uphill.  We recall one trip from Pearson to Grants
Pass (189 NM) taking the better part of three hours – an average groundspeed of 74 knots.
   We owned the 150 for about a year and a half.  It served well and dependably, and expenses for
maintenance, fuel and insurance were about as low as could be.  It was a good ownership experience, but
we came to realize we needed a larger, faster airplane, capable of longer trips.  We bought a Grumman
Cheetah, and put the 150 on the market.  We were delighted that "Rex" found a good home with an
enthusiastic owner in Eugene, Oregon.
"Rex" poses at his tiedown spot at Pearson Field.  The airplane was
outdoors for a couple of months until a T-hangar became available.
"Rex" (the airplane) and "Bailey" (the
dog) participate in our Christmas
card photo for 1998
The 150 meets its successor, Grumman Cheetah
N116MC, at Independence, Oregon
1966 Cessna 150
sales brochure