Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For sale: 1959 Cessna 150

Own a piece of literary history, aviation division: the 1959 Cessna 150 that was used to re-enact Cal Rodgers' historic 1911 flight from New York to California for my 1997 book Flight of the Gin Fizz: Midlife at 4,500 Feet.

Yes, old N5859E is on the block, and since her availability has to be advertised, that might as well start here.

For fifteen years and more than 1,300 logged hours, this little two-seater served me well, lifting me away from groundbound cares into the joyous freedom of the skies over Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Last month, as regular readers of this blog know, my ticker missed a few tocks and seized up like an aero engine run dry. That required a heavy-duty hospital overhaul involving considerable rearrangement of piping.

Since the FAA looks askance at cardiac cases in the cockpit, it's time for me to hang up the helmet, pass the airplane on to a new owner, and find pursuits closer to earth.

Old N5859E has been lovingly maintained all her 50 years of service. She's in great shape. For prospective buyers, her particulars, in proper airplane-speak:

FOR SALE: 1959 Cessna 150. TTAF 5830, TSMOH 993. Panel: Narco COM IIB, Narco NAV 12, RT459 Mode C transponder, Flybuddy Loran, clock, EGT. Engine: Spin-on oil filter, Tanis heater, carb overhauled 2008, last compressions 78-73-76-76. Cockpit: Four-point harnesses. Misc: Trimble Flightmate GPS with yoke mount, Bruce's canopy cover. All logs intact. Hangared since refurbishment in 1994. Repainted 1999. Next annual October 2010. $16,000. Based at 5K6 Westosha (Wilmot, WI). E-mail

Of course I'll throw in an inscribed copy of Flight of the Gin Fizz.

NOVEMBER 16: Old N5859E has been sold to a pilot in North Andover, Massachusetts. More on this later.


  1. I still remember when my wife's grandpa had to hang it up and sell his plane. I have read your book twice now and know you will miss this piece of history.

  2. Sorry to hear that your wings have been clipped. What about the LSA route?

  3. The Light Sport Aircraft route is a distinct possibility. I wouldn't buy one -- because of liability insurance for the manufacturers, those things cost $80,000 to $110,000. But I might be able to find a flying club hereabouts that has one.

  4. I feel for you, Henry.

    Have you considered replacing the Cessna with a Vespa? It provides the same constant fear of imminent disaster at much lower cost, and the FAA is not a factor. And first-person books by old farts taking long two-wheel trips are eagerly read by other old farts.