My uncle turned 80. He has been a pilot since he was a young man. He has seen so many years that even the airspace he flies in has changed. He is retired, so his income is fixed. He is not poor at all, but his income no longer supported maintaining an airplane and upgrading it, so he rarely flew anymore. The only time he took to the sky was in the second seat of aircraft operated by friends who still flew. It was an order I placed with New Century Components that got him flying his own plane again.

My wife and I along with several other family members got together and hired an aviation mechanic and got some parts to upgrade my uncle’s plane. The old single-engine aircraft still had a lot of life in it. It was in great shape. What got me started in the project was when he and I were talking about him not flying much anymore. He said that the new airport required his aircraft to be equipped with a Mode C transponder, and that was sort of the last straw for him. When he was young, it was pretty much all Class G airspace for many miles in every direction. Now the VFR charts for the region were filled with Bravo,Charlie and Delta airspace, and there was even a restricted area in a valley used by the military. He said he used to fly low in that valley back when there were nothing but trees and wildlife.

He said that the cost for the upgrade to the Mode C transponder, because he was within 35 nautical miles of a big airport, was the cutoff point for him as far as maintaining his plane. It had been in storage for a few years now, and we had it checked out from prop to rudder. We had the new transponder and some other upgraded avionics installed along with a complete engine overhaul. When we presented it to him, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He spent the next couple of years teaching me how to fly, and we still go out practically every weekend.

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