Bob Oswald

Pilot lands in Payson revving to wing it

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Even though Bob Oswald had a potentially great pick-up line when he first met his new bride, Stephanie, there were two reasons why he didn't use it.

First of all, he explained, it's sort of built into the pilot's credo to say things like, "Hey, baby, wanna go for a ride in my plane?"

And secondly?

"We were in the Caribbean on a cruise ship the only place I couldn't have used the line even if I'd wanted to," Oswald remembered with laughter and little visible sign of regret.

Oswald is indeed a pilot who owns his own plane, and he's turned those two qualifications into a company that he launched in Payson just last year: CAVU Aviation, through which Oswald takes tourists and locals on scenic flights over the Rim Country and northern Arizona; operates a taxi-flight service to any destination within 200 miles; and offers flight instruction.

In conversation, obviously, you don't have to waste any time wondering what Oswald most loves to do with his personal or professional free time. But one is compelled to ask this native of Cleveland, Ohio, how and when he became so passionate about zipping through the clouds.

"Well, there really was no real, defining moment," Oswald says. "My dad was also a flight instructor and, for a while, a professional pilot. In fact, he was the pilot on the first flight I ever took back when I was about 5 or 6 years old. And I've just always been an airplane guy; I built model airplanes, read airplane books and all that."

No matter how he got the bug, he got it bad.

Although Oswald graduated as a mechanical engineer from Cleveland State University, from which he later received an MBA, and although he spent a number of years working in the clinical engineering department of a major Ohio hospital, he never stopped trying to figure out how he could spend the rest of his life behind the controls of an airplane.

The answer came to him about six years ago, when Oswald began increasing his pilot's rating so he could become a flight instructor "and recoup some of the money I'd spent on learning how to fly.

"I wanted a full-time career flying airplanes, and there really wasn't much of a way to do that all year in Cleveland, due to weather restrictions," Oswald says. "So westward to better weather" and to Payson only the second hometown the 44-year-old Oswald has known.

"As soon as I saw the airport, I knew this was the place."

It certainly was. Nowadays, Oswald is always at the controls of his airplane and often in the company of Stephanie, a native of England who just so happens to be both his favorite pilot-in-training and, since January of this year, his wife.

Which brings us back to the original question. What was the pickup line Oswald used on that cruise ship?

"He was working on a New York Times crossword puzzle and was stuck for an answer," Stephanie says. "I knew some of the answers he couldn't get, so we knew we were a match."

For information on the scenic flights, flight packages and flight instruction offered by CAVU Aviation, call 468-8888 or direct your Internet browser to www.cavuaviation.homestead.com.

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