Most unfortunately, my 7 year old paint job is failing: the paint is peeling off of the primer and the
longer I fly, the worse she gets. It is time for a change. I have spent quite a bit of time in the Fort Worth, TX area and gotten to know quite a few of the airplanes out this way - mostly
warbirds. This past weekend, I met the man who paints these incredible pieces of history - Kevin Miller, KM Aviation. I talked
to Kevin and he has agreed to paint Wild Mama and give her a new look. Stay tuned ....
October 28, 2019: The beginning: So here is where we are starting: today was to be the flight
from KFTW to KJSO to deliver Wild Mama and meeting with Kevin to pay the deposit, hand over the keys and choose colors. Not
so. The weather at KJSO was LIFR until arund 2 pm. Just abouot the time I was looking to get there, the weather at KFTW started
going south and by the time the destination was open, the departure point had closed in. Plan B: meet Kevin at a local coffee
shop, choose colors and detrmine his piloting qualifications to have him fly Wild Mama to the paint shop when the weather
clears in a few days.
We had a nice meeting and I agonized over the colors. I found a paint scheme and colors that I liked that we tried to match
but the coloration in the photo was not quite the same as the real aircraft so matching was quite difficult. In the end, I
was drawn to one main color then selected complimentary colors to go with it. I was pleased. I went back to the airport to
finish cleaning out Wild Mama, left sticky notes of instructions all over the panel and hugged her. I will not see her again
for a couple months until she is finally unveiled.
15, 2020 - the reveal: Nothing like just skipping to thepunch line. It was
a long and tortous winter with Wild Mama gone. Christmas and New Year were positioned just so the minimum amount of work could
reasonably be done. Life got complicated and I lost my neighbor to cancer after his year-long battle. I miss Al.
Rob decided that it was time to paint Victor as well so we arranged for me to fly Victor out to Texas to pick up
Wild Mama. I had not flown Victor in years so Vern was going to fly with me for a few flights so I could get used to flying
the Saratoga again. Weather, dead battery and other delays made it so that the test flight came the night before I was to
leave. It did not go as I had hoped. We will leave it that my landings were good but everything else in between had issues.
Things were not working properly from lack of use; a door popped open on one take off so we had to abort. I could not see
the GPS screen fro mthe pilot seat, etc. Vern deceided to go with me which was fine by me. We departed the next morning and,
other than the screen issue which he could see fine from the co-pilot side, all of the mechanical and other issues resolved
themselves within the first hour of flight and we had an uneventful flight to Texas.
I was happy to see Wild Mama - she was BEAUTIFUL! I gave her a long overdue hug and put
her back to bed for the night. It would be several days before I could get back to her to take a flight.
February 22nd - First Flight:
Today was a great day for a local flight. I got out fairly early and headed over to the Midland Air Museum. After spending
the better part of 2 hours admiring the planes, I came out to Wild Mama to find a fuel leak. I made the trip back to the mechanic
in Addison for another down time. I was able to get her fixed and finally take off for Oklahoma City a couple days later in
one of the worst headwinds. Fortunately it was straight down the runway so landing was not an issue. I laughed when I was
taxiing with an airspeed of 45 kts but a grond speed of 10 kts!
29th - Homeward bound: At long last, time for Wild Mama to go home. I got a late start
after days of 99s meetings so I made a beeline for Mobile to spend thenight with Inger before launching early the next morning.
Both flights were uneventful and I made it to Fort Myers to spend a couple days with Vern and take care of some busness before
getting home on March 3rd ..... then promptly falling down the stairs, resulting in 2 hairline fractures of my right foot,
tendon and ligament damage. Grounded!