Sunday, July 03, 2005

I bought a Phantom

I went to Dahlonega, Georgia this weekend to personally see a Phantom that was for sale on eBay. My son visited this weekend so we decided to make a camping trip out of it and pitch a tent at the airport. We arrived at Lumpkin County airport about 9:30PM and it was very dark. We picked out a place in the sandy ground and erected the tent and moved in. Previously I had made arrangements to view the ultralight early Saturday morning.

It gets light really early in north Georgia. The gentleman who posted the ultralight on eBay (not the owner) arrived bright and early at about 5:45 and opened up the hangar. The ultralight was suspended from the steel roof support of the hangar and looked good. To make a long story short, when the owner arrived, he wouldn't fly the plane because of a cracked motor mount, and I don't blame him! Also, I asked him outright what he would take for the airplane, thinking he would end the auction early if I bought it. He said that he needed to let the auction finish and I could place a bid on his computer in the hangar. I couldn't believe this line of reasoning, but what can you do? Anyway, during my conversations with him, he mentioned that his friend had one that was for sale also. I revived this line of conversation that ended up with him taking me to his friend's house to inspect HIS phantom.

This phantom was in pretty rough condition. It has algae growing on the sails, the wings are disassembled and the entire plane is in disarray. The engine is a 440 Kawasaki with a belt redrive. The guy said he wanted $2000 for it...I offered him $1800 and he took it. Upgrades that I intend to purchase and install are the new dynafocal mount, a Rotax 503 with a gearbox, new elliptical front tube, and drum brakes on the main wheels. The addition of dual CHT/EGT gauges will complete the altimeter and airspeed already on the plane. The sails will get a good scrubbing and inspected carefully for any damage, dry rot or any other non-serviceability issues. For this price,(I already have a 503) I think I can have a decent Phantom in good condition for under $4000. It's extremely difficult to find a great condition Phantom for that much.

Wes and I spent some time in the north Georgia mountains that afternoon, and stayed one more night in the tent. We were awakened by thunder in the distance on Sunday morning and packed up post-hast, just missing the thunderstorm by minutes. I'm now a Phantom owner. I hope to pick it up this coming weekend!


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