After a lot of consideration, more than a bit of wrangling with an outfit that sells Diamond aircraft, and an absurd amount of time on the phone with a CPA and a tax consultant, I have a plane that is available at Santa Monica Airport, my home base. It is almost too complicated a situation for me to keep in my head.

It is owned by a corporation. As long as I rent it a certain amount in the next six months, and as long as my architecture studio rents it at least that same amount plus one hour in the next six months, then I can be the only person using the plane. The Internal Revenue Service even considers it worthy of “safe harbor protection,” which means the corporation doesn’t pay the sales tax. If it doesn’t really make sense after six months then the corporation will, instead, put it on lease-back with one of the flight schools on the field and other people will rent it along with me.

It’s a used plane, because there are stupid premiums on brand new planes. It is a demonstrator that the dealer used to show off this model. They were a little pressed to get rid of it by the end of the year, so they were offering two years of free maintenance and two years of free fuel (just a debit card with a significant balance, but a decent amount of fuel cost covered).

It was a little bit of a difficult commitment to make. Nell was supportive of the concept but thought we should wait six months. I have never been a waiting sort of person (witness proposing before knowing her for six months and getting pregnant before moving in together). I know that when people die they always have a bunch of things left that they wish they had done. My way of keeping that list a little shorter is to try not to wait for things. I’ll wait when I’m dead.

The important thing is that I know have a plane that I think of as mine. I leave the headsets in the front seats. I only bring home my logbook (it contains my medical and certification to fly). Every time I fly I get a little better at flying this particular airplane, which is a real safety consideration. I am not a good broad-subject student. I’ve always been foolishly focused on one thing at a time. After nearly thirty years I still order the same three items at McDonald’s; my friend from seventh grade can probably order my hot dog vendor order as easily as I can. Monomaniacal. One girl, one kind of t-shirt (Gap), one plane.

So now we will start to have adventures without the hassle of renting a plane that has fifty other people trying to break knobs off. And I will try to keep learning to be a better pilot.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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