Back to the future

March 24, 2010 by Craig Fuller
Ready for takeoff!

Ready for takeoff!

I always have a great time when I am traveling for AOPA and talking to members, general aviation business leaders, airport representatives, lawmakers, and others who help make the GA community so robust. But once in a while, I also get to really indulge my pilot side.

That’s what happened today when I made a stop at a company that calls itself America’s smallest aircraft manufacturer–WACO Classic Aircraft   in Battle Creek, Michigan.

WACO President Pete Bowers took me on a tour of the facility where craftsmen build WACO Classic airplanes.

Now, these open-cockpit beauties owe a lot to the planes of a generation or two ago, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the instruments–panels full of glass with all the latest technology. What a fabulous way to merge the past and future into an airplane that is both nostalgic and capable.

The new WACO YMF Model D will soon be in production.

The new WACO YMF Model D will soon be in production.

I was lucky enough to get a flight in the new WACO YMF Model D, soon to move into production. What fun! It’s hard not to smile and remember why so many of us love flying for visceral, as well as practical, reasons when you’re doing lazy eights, chandelles, and steep turns in an open cockpit plane over countryside that’s just beginning to take on spring’s vibrant green hues.

  • Rich

    We need to continue the emphasis (like this) on the joys of looking out the glass above the cowl, that’s how you inspire the ones we want in the next generation of pilots.

  • GatorRob

    Commercial aviation is going to get harder and harder in the future. The new laws passed requiring 1500 hours is almost impossible for the average person to achieve. At a cost of 140$ and hour who can afford the 200,000$ to get there. So I took the chance that 39,000 people might donate a dollar to send me to a flight academy..check out