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A 140 for Europe


For years, I have been asking myself, if I should ship N5581M to Europe, where I still live, work and fly most of the time. I even started to make arrangements with logistic services. But having flown only over a small part of South America so far, it just didn’t seem right to take her over. In the Fall of 2022 I decided to purchase a second Cessna 140: A 140 for Europe.

There are not many 120/140 in Europe. When I looked for sale ads, I found only two, one in Northern and one in Southern Germany and only the seller of the 140 in Northern Germany disclosed his phone number. I phoned him and arranged a meeting in late November 2022. On a rainy day, the seller opened the hangar doors and I saw NC3514V for the first time:

Time took its toll on NC3514V, a lot of polishing will be needed to make her shiny again.

Every aircraft has its story. Initially, you know nothing of it. The seller told me his part: He purchased a 140 in the USA and - by placing her in the shipping container - found out that there was enough space in the container for a second one. So he purchased NC3514V and placed her in the same container. Weather didn’t allow a test flight. After finishing the pre-buy inspection, I went home, without her.

February 3rd and 4th

Checking the logs, waiting for the FAA CD, title searches, talking to the mechanic who did the last annual, following-up on structural issues, etc, needs time - we didn’t seal the deal for another two months. But then, February 3rd, I took a Lufthansa flight to Hamburg in the evening and continued by train to Flensburg (EDXF) in the next morning. Weather was better this time, so the seller and I did a short flight, agreed on a price and she was mine: My second 140.

Dear reader, I must tell you: Purchasing your first aircraft is much harder than purchasing your second. In most cases (like mine) owning an aircraft makes no economical sense. It is a time-intense hoppy. The difficult thing is to convince yourself the first time. Purchasing your second aircraft makes even less sense, but convincing yourself that you need it is much easier.

NC3514V complied to the FAA ADS-B 2020 mandate, but it had neither a Mode-S transponder, nor the 8.33 kHz radio which are both required for flying in Europe. The Escort radio and the King transponder probably work, but I didn't use them much.

While flying her home, I stayed in uncontrolled airspace and used my portable Yaesu radio to talk to the Info stations of the airfields I used. There is not much snow on the mountains any more these days. But between Osnabrueck (EDWO) and Reichelsheim (EDFB), they even had some ski lifts running.

In Reichelsheim my family and later my former PPL student Tim came to have a look. Tim showed interest to start a co-ownership and get his IFR training in this 140, so we started to discuss the unusual idea to convert a little VFR taildragger into an IFR trainer. It was a fantastic evening and she glowed in the sun.

February 6th

Between Reichelsheim and Dahlemer Binz (EDKV) are the Taunus mountains. I didn't dare to climb above the clouds, but preferred to circumnavigate the wind turbines above the tree tops. NC3514V safely reached her new (temporary) home in Dahlemer Binz. She has to wait here, until I am back from South America.

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