In June 2012 the EMPOA – European Mooney Pilots and Owners Association - organized the third EMPOA Mooney Proficiency Training in cooperation with the MAPA Safety Foundation. Rainer, my husband, and I participated in each of these three trainings and we already knew „our“ MAPA flight instructors. After flying to the U.S. with our own Mooney in 2009 we have always wanted to fly in the U.S. again. But we cannot always fly over with our own Mooney so we need to rent a plane there. But we prefer flying a Mooney and usually Mooneys are not for rent. When I mentioned this during our Training in Erfurt, Germany, Capt. Rich Lytle, one of our instructors said, „you can fly my Mooney“. This idea became reality in January 2013. Rainer and I and Heike and Peter, our friends who also fly a Mooney came to Florida for one week. We drove to Naples and met Rich and Elaine in Wing South where they live. Wing South is a private flying community. Where other people have the garage for their car they have the hangar for their Mooney and they live upstairs and can watch the plane from their living room.
Our first plan was to fly to the Bahamas but as it took us more time and bureaucracy with the FSDO to get our German pilot licenses converted to an U.S. license we had less time. I made my checkout on the Mooney with Rich, we flew to Miami and to Marathon. In the meantime Peter and Heike rented a Cessna at the local flying school. Then the four of us flew with two planes in South West Florida. We made nice trips to Venice and a to Key West.
The last day of our stay we had an EMPOA – MAPA summit meeting: Rich (MAPA) and Elaine invited Bud Johnson (MAPA) and his wife Tiffany and the four of us. Rainer is president of the EMPOA, Peter vice president and I am the treasurer, so the EMPOA board was complete.
We talked about possible events together with MAPA and EMPOA and that we should increase our collaboration.
We had a great time in Naples and flying in Florida and we made new friends. We all want to come back soon and may be next time make it to the Bahamas.