I had the good fortune of growing up near the Covington, TN airport which was coincidentally the home of the original Ez Hangar - where the CozyJet was born. My father has an old Navion based at M04 and for many years, I would watch with great interest those fast, little airplanes coming in and out of Robert’s shop. Dad and I would occasionally walk over to Robert’s hanger to get his advice or see what cool, new project he was working on.
For a couple of years, I had been making spreadsheets trying to decide which twin engine would be my first airplane, but the gas prices and insurance forced me to look at alternatives. Robert had an old AeroCanard project that was up for sale and from my research I knew this was a fast, efficient machine. Little did I expect that I was about to embark on a composite education.
For two years on almost every Saturday, Robert would give me a new assignment to complete on the airplane and would then show me the process to complete it. I didn’t intend to become an aircraft builder, but with Robert’s expertise, patience, and encouragement, I knew that I was being presented with the chance of a lifetime – to learn from one of the best. He would listen to my great ideas, and the not so great, never making me feel like he already had all of the answers. We even ended up using a few of my ideas. I am now the proud owner of a safe, 4-seat, 200 mph, IFR family aircraft with autopilot. Oh yeah, and a repairman’s certificate!
There’s more to this Covington shop than just Robert. The caliber of people attracted to visit and work around the shop is second to none. Regular visitors include experts in electronics, computers, machining, aerodynamics, and of course many, many pilots. It’s been a privilege to learn in this environment, but more importantly, fun.