The power of purple

“I’ve never seen one that color before!” That’s what people usually say when they first set eyes on the Cessna 152 owned by Mary Rosenblum of Troutdale, Ore.

Unlike so many airplanes that are predominantly white with an accent color, in the sunlight Rosenblum’s aircraft appears purple, as in Barney the Dinosaur was the painter. The airplane attracted a lot of attention during the Arlington Fly-in and Sport Convention held at Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO) north of Seattle in July.

“It’s really dark blue, but most people think that it’s sort of a purple with purple trim,” Rosenblum explained. “It was this color when I bought it, but most people agree that the color suits me.”

According to Rosenblum, the trip to Arlington was sort of a homecoming for the airplane because it was rebuilt by a mechanic at the airport.

“I bought it in 2009 and since then I’ve put 600 hours on it,” she said.

The 152 is powered by an O-235 Lycoming and sports a Garmin 430 on the panel. Rosenblum also personalized the airplane by having her name painted on the cowling.

“I have to be very well behaved,” she noted. “It’s not like the ordinary blue and white Cessna that cut me off in the pattern — it’s the PURPLE Cessna and I am the only one!”

Rosenblum has taken her airplane all over the country. “I flew it to Wisconsin and back and we got over the Rockies just fine,” she said.

Rosenblum also got her instrument ticket in her 152. She admits that using a Cessna 152 for IFR flight can be vexing to air traffic controllers.

“They yell at me to keep my speed up on final and what they don’t realize is that I am at cruise power on the approach and I can’t go any faster!” she laughed. “They vector me out of the way of traffic.”

Becoming a pilot and having an airplane of her own was a life-long dream for Rosenblum.

“I was a single parent with two kids so I didn’t have the time and money for flying for a long time,” she said. “Then about three and a half years ago the kids were out of the house and I could learn to fly. I bought the airplane even before I had my ticket.”

Now Rosenblum is making up for lost time. She is the president-elect of the Oregon Pilots Association and has been doing a lot of backcountry flying and camping with her airplane.

“I can do short fields no problem,” she said.

Getting to her intended location is also fairly economical, because the Cessna only burns between five and six gallons of fuel per hour.

“It’s the Honda Civic of the air,” Rosenblum laughed. “It’s economical. I might get there slower than the other guys, but I don’t mind getting there slower.”

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