Flying|June - July 2020
William M. Burke
In 1980, as a local banker for 15 years, I was asked by the bank’s directors to become more involved in community affairs—specifically, to take over the position of chairman of finance on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America in our town of Greenwich, Connecticut. In that position, I was responsible for the finances of the organization, and much of my time was devoted to increasing its income in order to fund projects.

As a pilot with 400 hours under my belt, I decided to get creative and use the talents of others on our finance committee, which included a CPA and an advertising executive. We decided to inform every registered aircraft owner in the Northeast about the substantial tax advantage of donating their (mostly unused) aircraft to our organization and utilizing the IRS tax deduction allowed for the donation. In turn, we would dispose of the asset to create income to fund our community projects.

The advertising executive board member donated his agency’s time and talent to create a brochure picturing hundreds of aircraft parked in a line at our local airport, Westchester County Airport (KHPN) in White Plains, New York, with the caption: “Thinking about selling your aircraft?” We purchased a list of registered aircraft owners from the FAA and mailed out the brochures. The response was absolutely amazing—five aircraft in various stages of condition, ranging from excellent to unflyable were offered to us.

One of the letters we received was from a professor at one of the foremost colleges in New Jersey, who was getting close to retirement and wanted to donate his 1961 Cessna 210, which was located at his vacation-home airport in Marathon Key, Florida. We would have to fly down to Marathon Key commercially, and after giving us instruction on his 210, he would transfer the title to our organization.

It was January 1981 when the time came to depart for Marathon Key. I asked a friend—a young, newly minted CFI—if he would fly back with me to White Plains in the 210, and he agreed. We got a motel in Marathon Key and began the indoctrination with the owner on the nuances of the older Cessna 210. After a full week, we decided it was time to get going and return to White Plains.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine