Flying with Martin

in our Vintage Cessna 170B

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Story of HW and AY

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The story of HW and AY

We had enjoyed flying our previous plane a very pretty Cessna 140 for nearly five years but she was having difficulty getting in and out of short strips when carrying two people who like their bacon baguettes.
Martin researched what plane he would like and decided that it would have to be a Cessna 170 or 180.  We soon discounted a 180 on cost, but hoped that maybe the funds might stretch to a 170.  There were three 170's on the British register but none of the owners wanted to part with them.  So in February 2003 while on a business trip to the US we went to visit our Californian flying friends, Neal, Tom, Lloyd. Jack and Bob.  We had heard that Bob, who owned two 170's may be persuaded to sell one of them.  We went to Livermore airfield to meet him.
We flew for a while with him and it did not take Martin too long before he fell in love with her.  We even went with him to a 170 flyin to Concord, North of Livermore at the Sheriton Hotel.  Flyins in the US are quite different to those we enjoy in the UK.
After many faxes, Emails and very early morning telephone calls to the bank in England.  Remember there is an eight hour time difference.  We got the money wired over to Bob's bank and a typical US burger meal with Bob at Livermore restaurant sealed the deal.  We had already discussed with our friends at Aerofab our intentions and they started the paperwork before we left California to return home.
We had decided against flying the plane home, far too risky and time consuming.  So we opted to have her shipped back.  We were so fortunate to have our friends in California, as they, under the close supervision of Bob de-assembled and packed the plane after it had been removed from the US register.  This involved lots of paperwork.
Ready to leave California They ensured the safe storage of the plane into a forty foot container.  Bob was determined to look after his "baby" and ensure we got her in the best condition possible.  We received this picture of the container on its way to the railway station to try to reassure us.  It did sort of....
The container went by rail to Houston, then by ship to Felixstowe, and finally by road to the airfield.  The worst three weeks of Martin's life.  Many a time had we looked out at the container ships passing the Isle of Wight, wondering how unsafe their cargo looked.
Finally on 23 May 2003 five years exactly since we had bought HW we headed off to Aerofab to await our precious cargo. The following pictures tell it all, go left to right then down and hover the curser over each picture in turn for the narrative.  Apologies if the pictures take a while to open

The crane is ready

Now the lorry has also arrived and is ready to have the container removed The container is off the lorry and they are trying to open it
Still trying ...... Is she in there?
Relief as Martin see's her for the first time in three months Pull everyone, harder.....
She's out Happy at last
Goodbye lorry Crane ready to leave
"Pants" stowed away Wings stowed away
Champagne and chocolate cake for the workers Then the fun began and Aerofab did a magnificent job getting her back together again, sorting out all the paperwork and arranging her to be flight tested.  Making sure everything met the CAA regulations.  We visited her often to see progress.
Almost a plane again, and the new registration visible Amazingly on 21 June we were informed that she was ours and ready to fly.  We raced down to the airfield to take her for her first flight around the British countryside.
Martin's first flight in UK and then there were two!!
We sadly had to sell HW, but she went to a lovely lad who is looking after her and enjoying flying her as we did.  
For Martin's 50th birthday Jan had persuaded Cedric de la Nougerade a very good friend of Martin's and a member of the Guild of Aviation Artists to paint a surprise picture of HW.  Martin was delighted.  Ced said never again.  However ........since we now had a new plane would he do it again? Yes, he kindly did and the second surprise picture, this time of AY was presented to Martin
Thank you Ced for two fabulous paintings, the pride of our living room. Thank you also to the boys in California, and the boys in Aerofab and especially to Bob