Watching my brother and my brother-in-law fly their own airplanes ignited a desire I could not satisfy without a plane of my own. My brother Ron flew F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam and became a test pilot in F-16s at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Jim Vyduna, an owner with my sister of his own electronics company, is really a professional pilot at heart. He has a Cessna 210 with all of the latest gadgets.
In 1998, the FAA offered a new program to allow diabetics to get a third class medical certificate with a waiver. I became one of some 85 who got their certificates within a year of the start of the program. With certificate in hand, I took training for my private pilot license, single engine land, with training in a Cessna 152 and Cessna 172. I took my training at Butler County Airport (KBTP) , north of Pittsburgh. I joined the marvelous Condor Aero Club at Zelienople Municipal Airport (KPJC) with their 7 aircraft, 170 members, 8 flight instructors, and full time mechanic. I was in heaven. But still no plane of my own. Brother Ron suggested I consider restoring a classic aircraft satisfying my limited budget, my need to build, and my desire to fly “low and slow”. I considered the Piper Cub, the Taylorcraft, and Aeronca Champ.
I bought a Moni motorglider in a rebellion against high towing fees and also checked out in a Grob 109B motorglider with Fred Herr at Fort Collins airport in Colorado. (See later article on the Moni N87TW.)