Meet Mike Land

Mike Land grass roots galtI’ve been involved to some small extent in aviation ever since my father bought me a ride in a Cessna 172 as a child, while on vacation in Missouri. The air, the view, and the feeling of freedom had quite an impression on a young eagle (1970s, long before there was a Young Eagles program).

Unlike a lot of you, I got the bug but wasn’t able to do a lot with it until I was older. I finally had an opportunity to start my flying adventure, right here at Galt airport. It was the late 1980s. The first flight was in a two place T-Bird (today we would call it an ultralight trainer). It was exciting to zip up the doors and take to the skies.

Progressing through 152s then to 172s, and moving over to Waukegan airport to complete the training, I was able to finally get the coveted private pilot license. It took longer than expected, due to commitments, both financial and family. But I did it.

I wanted to own my own airplane, but budgets were always limited. I bought a Sonerai project and tried to complete it, but other priorities caused that endeavor to fail. I sold the Sonerai and watched it leave on a trailer bound for Texas. I don’t know if that project was ever completed. Something like 90% of scratch-built planes never get finished.

Soon after, I started travelling for business, in excess of 100,000 miles a year. I had to put the flying on the back burner. Fast forward 22 years, I finally had time to get my wings back and start flying again. Coming back to wonderful Galt airport, where my flying started so many years ago, I jumped into the C172s and got back in the air.

Next dream; ownership. I reviewed what my mission was and all of the planes available that fit that type. Grass strips and shorter X-country trips are the plan.  A two place used EAB or Light Sport would keep costs down, and I really like tail-draggers (despite the insurance rates). I’ve always liked the looks and construction of the Kitfox, so I flew out to Idaho, took a factory tour, and flew their demo plane, a model 7. It handled very nicely, and has folding wings for trailering.

Becoming a habitual Barnstormers viewer, I just happened to stumble on a fellow in Minneapolis area that was getting out of the sport. He had a Kitfox model 4 (faster and more stable than earlier models, but not as roomy as the newer ones). I was able to pick it up for a very good price. You get a lot of weird looks while driving your airplane down the road on the back of a trailer, but it does tend to start a lot of conversations.

Long story short, I am currently planning to sell the Kitfox and buy into a partnership of some sort. There are a lot of advantages, if you find the right group of pilots.

Note from Chapter President  Arnie Quast….

Mike will be joining our team as a Young Eagles coordinator.  Daniela Knoll will continue to stay active with our Young Eagles initiatives.  Please welcome Mike to our EAA 932 team!  We look forward to his volunteerism in our chapter!