Airplane of the Month • November  2005

1977 150M N714RV
Aerial Photographs by Gary Shreve   1977 150M N714RV

Ed Pataky's 1977 150M 150 "Mary Lou"
Year: 1977 Model: 150M Serial#: 15079383
878 of 900, 1977 150M's manufactured
21,382 of 21,404, 150's manufactured in the USA

Even before I was in kindergarten in the (very) early 1960's, I was captivated with everything that had to do with airplanes. My Father had flown B-24's in the Pacific, and was active in the Connecticut Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. Every chance I had I would ask him to take me to the airport, Westchester County and Danbury Municipal. Flying was indeed, my first love. After my first ride on Sunday, 31 March, 1968, the burning desire grew into a conflagration.

Relocating to Houston in August, 1970, one can imagine how a 13-year-old would react when, obsessed with such an interest, found out that his new home was less than a mile from a General Aviation Airport! Needless to say, every chance I got was spent there among those magical flying machines. Endless rounds of caddied golf, lawns cut, and many washed airplanes financed my pilot training allowing me to solo on my 16th birthday in 1972 and passing my Private check ride exactly a year later. As fate would have it, starting college and other things got in the way leading me astray from flying. My sabbatical lasted almost 30 years.

Two things I have learned. First, you never forget your first love, secondly, I have found it is true that every guy wants a girl like the one that married Dad (My Mom’s name is Mary Lou). I am no exception to these rules. That I mention this is important, in that in early 2003, I ran across my first love after almost three decades. I returned to flying, obtaining a Seaplane rating, an Instrument Ground Instructor Rating and completed my Instrument rating the following year. Because of many years of saving and some fortuitous stock trades, I found myself able to at least consider an airplane of my own. Like a single in a bar on Friday night, I began looking for a bird. 150’s, 172’s, Grummans, even Lake Amphibians.

Ed & Mary Lou at Clinton 2005
Ed and Mary Lou at the 2005 Clinton International Fly-In
Photo by Robbie Culver 

Then I met MY Mary Lou - N714RV. Mary Lou was just over 27 when we met. She was born, with the appropriate airworthiness (birth) certificate issued on Wednesday, 16 March, 1977. She was nearly the youngest in her family, having only 21 siblings born after her. The last of the "M"s. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. Her nose was slightly stuck up in the air as she stood on the ramp with her cocky little jaunt, her graceful and gently curving lines grabbing my eye. She still turns my head when I see her like that. I immediately fell in love with her. She was a rather simple girl, having grown up on the Northern California coast, then moving to North Carolina where she worked at a flight school. However, her employer decided she was outdated, and he was going to let her go. Well, I was able to get her to settle down in Texas in May, 2004, where we began our life together.

Since then, I have lavished her with (very) expensive gifts, and incessant attention. A complete set of new radios (a KX 155A and KX-155), new VOR heads, dual glideslopes, new audio panel and marker beacon receiver, a DME (KN-64), ADF (KR-86), (no GPS YET!), Mode C transponder, Micro aerodynamics Corp’s vortex generators, the Club’s belly drain STC (get it for yours!) and a number of other items make her the perfect traveling companion. Her four new cylinders we had to get during her first annual physical in April, 2005 were a bit unexpected, but her health is indeed, important. A new coat of paint is in the future, an interior makeover, maybe even a number change, but she doesn’t know it yet. I want to surprise her. After all this time, I often find myself gazing at her in mild disbelief that I have her all to myself. In return, she has been great. She’s a low maintenance lady, and I’m just a proud as can be to be seen with her. I know where she is at any given hour - at home at Hooks Airport (KDWH), and never goes anywhere without me. She doesn’t eat, drinks very little and behaves like the lady she is - never embarrassing me in public or private! Just treat her right, and she’s gentle as can be.

Even my Mom (the Original Mary Lou), after a bit of doubt - you know, the usual "Is she good enough for MY son.", and "Are you sure you're doing the right thing?" questioning likes her after having gone on a trip with us. She never does anything unexpected or dangerous. I guess you learn these things after 7,600 hours, but then again, she came from a very good family. She’s dependable and tireless, my companion anywhere I go, willing to take off (literally) on a moment’s notice, be it in rain or shine. Mary Lou and I are gonna be together for a while. All the years of waiting have been worth it. Flying is a big part of both of our lives, except it comes a bit more natural to her. And, while she may not be the fastest girl in the air, or the most powerful girl in the air, or maybe even the best dressed girl in the air, she suits me just fine. We’re a good match. Yeah, she’s my lady. Over forty years ago Rick Nelson said it as well as anyone -

Hello, Mary Lou, good-bye night Sweet Mary Lou, I'm so in love with you I know, Mary Lou, we'll never part So hello, Mary Lou, good-bye heart

Yep. You betcha! I’m in love with my Mary Lou!

Ed Pataky
Houston, TX  

[Posted November 1, 2005]

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