Planes & Projects

Don Wentz

Planes:   RV-6 (built, sold)

End of an Era

That's how Randy Lervold put it. After almost 30 years with a Pilot's License, I'm hanging-up my wings. My RV-6 is in it's new home in the Midwest with a happy new owner who is now living out his dream of flight.

It's hard to say what happened, but what is real for me is I've become so uncomfortable in the air that I just can't do it any longer. I'm OK with very local flying and oddly enough, aerobatics, but even a flight to the coast causes me so much anxiety that I don't want to do it.

I was so anxious before our last trip to Oshkosh in '06 that a week before we were scheduled to leave, I tried to bail on the trip. Finally, Janet stated, "we have reservations, we have people we've committed to, and we're going!" So we went, and we had a good time, but inside, I was very nervous during the whole flight, while we were there, and most of the time in the air all I could do was wish we would get to our next destination.

By the time we left for home, I had internally vowed I'd never go again. So, after the last 3 years trying to come to grips with my 'fears', I decided it wasn't worth it and put the plane up for sale. Fortunately I was able to find a buyer. Was I sad watching someone else take-off and disappear to the east in the plane I put so many hours and years into building; that had so many good memories and wonderful friends tied to it? I was, but only a little bit. More, I am absolutely relieved to have a huge weight off of my psyche, and not worrying about flying and maintaining the plane.

The new owner has since been back thru town and insisted I take him up in my old plane. I did and after one time around the pattern I made a nice landing and taxied back to the parking area. Once was all I needed to know that I had done the right thing by selling 790DW.  In the half year he has owned it, he has put more hours on it than I did the last 3 years put together, so it is a better home for the plane.

I have some thoughts about what things have changed, but even if I analyzed them all and tried to address the causes of my discomfort, I know I'd never get to a point where I'd enjoy aviation like I once did. So, in case you were wondering, well, now you know why I sold my plane.

The Duck

Eds Note:  The above article appeared in the January 2011 EAA 105 Newsletter.  Pictured above are Don and Janet Wentz in their RV-6 over Hamilton MT, on the return trip from Oshkosh '97.  Don "Duck" and Janet Wentz are proprieters of Duckworks Aviation and make those landing lights for RVs we all know and love.