The First Two Weeks of My Owning N4105
by Harry J. Mitchell
I bought Mooney Mite N4105 on a cold Sunday afternoon in January '58 at Salina, Kansas. for $1800. The plane only had about 350 hours on it and was very much like new. I flew it the 100 miles to my home, Topeka, Kansas. To say that I was exhilarated is a understatement. I had been flying for several years a completely tired Fairchild PT23; the difference in condition and size was dramatic.
|N4105 parked by a hard surface road that connected to Route 66. I bought a few gallons of gas from a nearby Phillips station to get me to Albuquerque (1958).|
Six days later, with no further flight time, I left Topeka for San Bernardino, Calif. to show my new toy to a friend. I soon found the only two weak features in N4105 that I ever saw. The first was that the brakes would not hold it for a proper run-up: in hindsight I suppose that adjusting might be all they needed. At that stage in my life I thought that we simple mortals were not to tinker with the mechanical parts of an airplane. The second feature was the heater; Kansas is cold in January and I sure could have used more heat. Later I always referred to the heater as my left foot warmer.
My first stop was for gas and a sandwich at Enid, Oklahoma. I planned to make Albuquerque, New Mexico my second stop. The weather was on the ground in the Oklahoma panhandle and northwest Texas so I flew a lot of extra miles to stay in flyable but marginal weather. I connected with Route 66 somewhere west of Santa Rosa, New Mexico (Interstate 40 didn't exist in 1958). About 50 miles from Albuquerque I decided that my remaining gas might not last that far. I found a hard surfaced road that connected to Route 66 with a Phillips 66 station. At the intersection. I landed and taxied up to within a few hundred feet of the station. The operator loaned me a can, I bought a few gallons of gas and proceeded on to Albuquerque.
The next day I proceeded on to California by way of Winslow, Phoenix, and Blythe, Arizona.
Another memorable time on the trip was as soon as I went through the pass at Banning, California, I was in smog for the first time. Being from Kansas I knew about fog but I didn't know about smog. Since I had a sectional in my lap I was able to find my way the short distance to Redlands where my friend kept his twin Cessna UC78 (Bamboo Bomber).
This was the first of two trips to California in N4105. Both trips were very enjoyable and now in my old age I have fond memories both of these trips and others.
Before I sign off, I will mention another plus of flying N4105. I tended to stop at small, uncontrolled fields and always at my last stop of the day there would be one or more people come out to the plane to see it. Someone always would offer to take me to town or to a motel and tell me of a good place to eat.
Sincerely, Harry Mitchell, Topeka, Kansas.
|Harry in N4105, 1958.|
|Ivan, a professional wrestler and rather beefy, had stuffed himself into the Mooney and was preparing to depart. Later, when he returned to the airport, he decided that I had made a wise purchase.|
|A friend in Atchison, KS that also thought the N4105 was quite nice (1958).|
|My friend, Ivan, by his Cessna UC78 (bamboo bomber) at Redlands, CA in 1958. He is giving me a hard time about my new toy.|
|N4105 with a Beech T34 Mentor. In 1958, the Mentor was not available to civilians. This Mentor belonged to the SAC aero club at Forbes AFB, Topeka. Harry's trip from Topeka to San Bernardino would have been roughly 1000nm each way.|
10 January, 2007