Eli’s 30 Shares

By Pat Halligan, EAA 363158

A number of months ago, I was visiting with my daughter and I was telling her how expensive general aviation flying had gotten. The airplanes, parts, fuel, insurance, etc. I told her I must be crazy, because I was in the process of buying a Cessna 206 on floats and was going to have a new engine installed. We were at her house and my five-year-old grandson was asking to see pictures of the airplane. As my daughter and I continued our discussion, my grandson jumped down off my lap, and bolted from the kitchen area. A few minutes later he showed up and said, “This is for you, Grandpa.” He handed me $30 and said it was all he had in his piggybank and wanted me to have it so I could buy the airplane. I told him, “Thanks, but you need to keep your money,” so I gave it back to him. On a few more occasions he tried to again give me the $30. I kept saying no thanks.

Well, finally I told my daughter to have Eli bring his $30 over the next time they visited. In the meantime, I typed up a certificate of ownership. It had his name, the aircraft N-number, and it said he now owned 30 shares of the airplane. I decided 30 shares for $30. I even had a picture of the airplane developed and fastened to the front of the certificate. When they showed up, I made sure he was still okay giving Grandpa the $30, and he was, so I explained how he now owned part of the airplane. I know he didn’t understand “shares,” but he did understand that he and Grandpa “owned” the airplane. I’m not sure if you, or anyone else knows of a five-year-old who “owns” part of a Cessna 206 on amphibious floats?

In early March of this year, I took Eli, his mom and dad, and his younger brother, Luke, for an airplane ride. It was their first ride in the 206. My wife and I picked them up at the Buffalo, Minnesota, airport and flew them to the Olivia, Minnesota, airport for lunch. Everyone had a blast. Eli even got a few minutes of stick time.

I found out afterward that Luke cried almost all the way home, in their car, because he didn’t want to go home — he wanted to go back to the airport and go for another airplane ride with, as he put it, “My buddy, Grandpa.” Not Grandpa, but his buddy grandpa.

Now, I need to figure out how to get Eli his $30 back. I think I’ll have him help clean a small area on the floats and give him $5 each time. So, by the time summer is over he will have earned his money back, but still own part of a 206. Thirty shares to be exact.

Grandkids are the best, especially when they may be heading toward being pilots someday.

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