Student finds, buys his father's former airplaneStudent finds, buys his father's former airplane

Malcolm Lawton

Malcolm Lawton has an early memory of a big AOPA decal on his father’s 1956 Ford station wagon and said he flew with his dad in his Stinson 108-3 “from in-utero to 18 years old.”

After his father died, he found himself looking at Stinsons on eBay. He wanted to begin flight training and said, “With much discussion, my wife reluctantly allowed me to take flying lessons.” During training, he would look at the free publications in the airport terminal and look at the ads for Stinsons for sale.

“There was an L5 for sale with a 714 area code, which I knew was Orange County, California,” he said. His father had owned an L5 prior to the 108-3. He called the number to learn that the airplane had not flown for 17 years. After a conversation with the seller, Lawton began to wonder if this airplane could be the one his father once owned.

A friend said, “You have your father’s logbook, don’t you?”

“Duh! So I looked in his logbook until I found the same tail number for many pages, and put the number into the FAA website to get the name of the current owner.” It matched the name of the seller in Orange County.

When he told his wife, he recalled, “To her credit, she said, ‘Buy it!’” On the trip to complete the purchase, he began to have second thoughts. “I said to myself, ‘Malcolm, you’re a student pilot. How is this going to work?’” So he called a friend who advised him to have the owner get an annual inspection, fly the airplane, and give him his asking price. “And that’s what happened,” he said.

And then came the issue of insurance. “I already had AOPA renters insurance for my training, and so it was natural to contact AOPA. They were able to set me up with insurance, along with what it would take for an instructor with many tailwheel hours, but not in an L5, to give me instruction.”

AOPA Insurance was not the only company he called. One major insurance company told him, “Call us back when you have your private license,” while another “was not interested in giving me a quote.”

“So I very much appreciate AOPA Insurance and their ability to insure my airplane.”

The experts at AOPA Insurance understand airplanes and review each request for a quote as a unique situation. Whatever airplane you are flying—as an owner or a renter—AOPA Insurance has the right policy for you. For more information or to request a free quote on aircraft insurance, please call AOPA Insurance Services at 800/622-2672 or visit Don’t forget: You may qualify for a 5-percent discount just for being an AOPA member.

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