EAA Chapter 108

Chad Baker (Oct 2018)

I've been interested in aircraft and aviation almost as long as I can remember.  My dad was an avid Radio Control flyer and so we would fly RC almost every weekend.  We also attended any airshow that was within a couple of hours away.  My dad was part owner in a Cessna 150 for 7 years; however, he sold it before my passion for flying really took off.  In fact, he said he didn’t think I was going to be interested in aviation because when he took me flying I would fall asleep.  Boy, what I wouldn't have given to have that little C-150 while at college.

 As a sophomore in college (1987), I earned my Private Certificate while flying at Arlington Municipal Airport (KGKY) South of DFW in Texas.  During and shortly after college, I ended up working for the flight school as a dispatcher/lineman where I signed all my paychecks back over to the school so I could fly from time to time.  By the time I graduated and headed off to the Air Force, I had amassed a whopping 100 hrs. 

19 yrs old with my trusty C-150 i did       
most of my PPL training in.            

 The next almost 20 years is the typical story of family, kids, job, and other priorities that kept me from flying.  I wasn’t a pilot in the USAF but I had great jobs where I was around aviation.  I even have 2 hrs of back seat time in a Taiwanese F-16.  I never started flying again...UNTIL, in 2010, when I attended an open house at SkyPark Airpark (18FD).  That visit, a flight in an RV, and some urging from my wife Gina, rekindled my passion and determination to find a way to get back into flying.  Throughout the next year, I joined the Eglin Aero Club to regain my currency, used my GI Bill to start working on my instrument rating, and looked for an aircraft I could own or become a partner in.  I was the slowest instrument student I know; taking almost 3 years to get it done, but I did get it done.  By the way, I don’t recommend doing it that way.  

 My solution to finding an airplane was to build one.  After convincing myself that I could build an airplane, and securing Gina’s support, I began building an aircraft my Dad and I always loved...the Cozy MkIV.  The Cozy MkIV is a plans-built, all composite, 4-place version of the famous Rutan Long-EZ.  It has become the very definition of a long term project, but I'm enjoying the building of this fascinating airplane.  Here you can see what a finished Cozy looks like vs. where I’m at on mine as of 2018.

Since my retirement from the USAF in 2013, I've worked to become more active in the EAA and recently I’ve started training for my commercial certificate.  In the next few years I’m looking forward to becoming an active full-time instructor and having the opportunity to exchange my life in a cubical for a life sharing my passion for flying. 

 In April 2018 I became a partner in a sweet little white/blue Cherokee 140 Cruiser Gina has dubbed "Dorothy".  I'm still building on the Cozy which, when complete, will become our traveling machine that will take us on many amazing adventures.  Keep up with my progress on the Cozy at www.mycozyadventure.blogspot.com .


Hints for Homebilders videos at eaa.org