Airplane of the Month • June 2007

Hung Flies the Contests at Clinton

Hung Pham's Sky Blue 152
Year: 1980 Model: 152 Serial#: 15284033
442 of 950, 1980 152's manufactured in the USA
4,628 of 6,628, 152's manufactured in the USA

I was born and grew up in Saigon. Living only a few miles from Tan Son Nhut Air Base, I developed an early interest in aviation. However, there was no GA activities in Vietnam, and the only way to learn to fly was to join the VNAF. To do so, one must have excellent grades and political connections. Unfortunately, I had neither.

I came to the US in 1975. I finally had time and money to start taking flying lessons in February 1995. I got my PPL in August of the same year. The local flight schools had two 152's: a 1979 model (N46370) and a 1980 model (N4938H). I preferred 38H because its instrument panel is more modern and I like its colors. Since I always asked for 38H when scheduling, the FBO secretary jokingly referred to it as "Hung's airplane". Little did we know that one day it would actually become mine.

In March 2001, the flight school went out of business and put the planes up for sale. I wasn't really shopping for a plane, but there were no 152s available for rent locally, and I had a good year in the stock market, so I went ahead and bought 38H. At that time, it had 9000 hrs TTAF and 2000 SMOH. The high airframe-time would probably deter other buyers, but I had been renting it for 6 years and knew that it's a good airplane. It was flown very frequently and had 100-hr inspections about every 3 months.

I've put 450 hours on 38H since purchasing it. It's been quite trouble-free and at annuals only needed normal maintenance items like tires, brakes, batteries, oil changes, tune-ups, etc. The engine made it to 2450 SMOH (50 hrs past TBO) before the compressions dropped below acceptable level. I bought a freshly overhauled engine from a fellow club member and just had the engine installed last month.

I made some small improvements to the plane: replaced the carpet with a kit from TN Wings, patched and repainted the interior plastics, added a high-power Whelen strobe system, replaced the original RT-385 radio with a TKM MX-385, added a yoke-mounted Lowrance Airmap 500.

I've really enjoyed owning 38H. I've flown it to 2/3rd of the airports in Kansas. I flew 38H to 5 of the previous 6 Clinton Fly-Ins, and I'm planning on flying it to Page, AZ at the end of May to meet with a group of Club members. It would have been difficult to do all that without owning my own airplane.

Hung Pham
Topeka, Kansas

My Shiny Newly Overhauled Engine
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