AirCam Country—Past and Future?


The AirCam has been for sale not quite since I got it, but almost. Let’s face it: In the competition for least practical airplane out there, the AirCam gets a bye in the first four rounds. But that’s not really why it’s been for sale. I got it at a government auction, and the plan was to give it what it needed, enjoy it for a year or two, then sell it. But I wasn’t prepared for what I was to find.

What I discovered is that the AirCam is absolutely the world’s best airplane for giving rides. People just go crazy after flying in it. Of course, it helped that I had a magnificent canned route in the hills of northern Arizona. Right after takeoff, no more than 3 seconds–clock it–I’d start pulling back the power and turning downwind, level with the top of an adjacent hill. We’d soon be on downwind at 50 feet, looking for pronghorn antelope on the start of an hour-long flight.

Then we’d go around the shoulder of Mingus Mountain, then up the canyon of the Verde River, maybe 400 feet deep and spectacular by AirCam, then fly up Granite Creek to Prescott Airport, elevation 5040 feet. Once when I was on a two-mile base, along Granite Creek, tower asked me my altitude: 4900.

Now I’m in Iowa, and for at least six months of the year, this is definitely not AirCam country. But finally, two weeks ago, I got started putting a new panel in the AirCam. No surprise, there were enough mistakes in the first version of the replacement panel that it made sense to have a new one laser cut. Then came the phone call, out of the blue: a sale by word of mouth.

Bottom line, his mechanic is coming tomorrow for a pre-purchase inspection and a flight, so we went from no panel (top photo) to significant progress (middle photo showing my respectful assistant) in an hour and a half, and an hour later (bottom photo) back to the original panel. It helped that when we took the original panel out the first time, we cleaned up a bunch of wiring, and that made the restoration much easier.

I just got laid off, and hope that I’m not selling the AirCam six weeks before I move back to AirCam country. Who knows? But, assuming that the sale goes through, my buddy Colin will join me on the delivery flight to the East Coast. We won’t see any pronghorn, and we won’t fly at 50 feet like we could safely and legally in Arizona, but we’ll have a great time. More to come.


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