...Flying Just For Fun...

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On the far side of the field, Ron Karwacky sits in the sun, sheltered from the wind by the fuselage of his polished aluminum 1952 Cessna 195. "I soloed in this airplane," he says. He bought the plane for $15,000 in 1983 and recruited a few friends to help with the restoration work. The beefy taildragger is great for cross-country flying, he says. It cruises at about 165, and he got to Florida from southern California in two days and 12 and a half hours of flying, with a 30-knot tailwind. Karwacky said he has about 1,900 hours total time, just about all of it in taildraggers, and he and his plane are both VFR-only flyers. "I fly for a hobby only," he said. He plans to retire soon from his career as a backhoe operator and relocate to Arkansas. "Well, I'll have to only half-retire if I want to keep the airplane," he said. And judging by the spitshine, the scrapbook of pictures stowed in the cockpit, the meticulous attention to detail, he probably does want to keep that airplane.