We first dipped our toes into the sometimes troubled
waters of aircraft ownership in 1980. A friend invited us to
buy into a partnership that owned a very nice, fairly new,
well-equipped Piper Cherokee 140. We knew the airplane
and its history, and we knew the people involved, so we
said yes, and became 25% owners of the airplane.
The airplane was built in 1976 for the 1977 model year, the last model year for the Cherokee 140. It had all
the interior and trim refinements of the later PA-28 models, but retained the short body and stubby
"Hershey-bar" wings of the original Cherokee. It had previously served as an instrument trainer, so it had an
impressive Bendix-King avionics suite for the day -- two KX-170B navcoms (one with glideslope); transponder,
ADF, analog DME and three-light marker beacon.
We had a number of memorable trips in the airplane -- a romantic getaway to San Francisco; a trip with my
mother to southern Oregon to scout out a new homesite for her and my dad; to San Diego to deliver relief
supplies to a missionary in Tijuana; and wonderful trips with our young boys to such places as southern Utah,
Catalina Island, Lake Havasu City and Santa Barbara. It was an ideal airplane for a young family to learn to
stretch their wings.
One of the more unusual trips put the airplane to use as a "getaway car" for a newlywed couple. When a
pilot friend planned his wedding day, he asked me to fly him and his new bride over the hill to Santa Monica to
evade rowdy well-wishers. When the day came, I decorated the Cherokee's cabin with paper wedding bells and
waited, expecting the newlyweds to have changed clothes before coming to the airport. Nope. He was in tux
and she was in full wedding gown. Somehow they squeezed into the cozy "2+2" rear seats, while her brother
rode shotgun. Fortunately it was a short trip.
The partnership was cooperative and congenial, and it was overall a good experience. It would have gone
on longer, but one of the partners joined the military and left town, and another had medical issues that forced
him to stop flying, so the airplane was sold in 1983. I am told it now belongs to a flying club in Illinois.
On my last trip in the airplane, I took my dad to Las Vegas for the AOPA Convention there. On the way home
we flew over the Grand Canyon (in the days before the Special Flight Rules Area).