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O Bee Blog

Home Sweet Hangar

Bob Chester spends much of his time in his airplane hangar at the Olympia Regional Airport. He’s turned the hangar into a workshop where his hand-built crafts, including a wooden shop table and suspended wood beams mounted with an electric pulley system and heat lamps, are on display. He’s also working on rebuilding a VariEze aircraft with his partner, Naomi. When asked how long he’s been flying, he grabs a small, visibly worn log book and flips a few pages. “January 16, 1987. But I didn’t pass my flight test until two years later, September of 1989” he chuckles. 

The Mitchell Wing ultralight was the first aircraft Bob bought. “Interestingly, you don’t need a license for that type of airplane” he quipped. Bob went on to share an unnerving experience he had while flying the ultralight. “I was taxing around the tarmac trying to get a feel for controls when the plane hit a bump, and I was suddenly airborne just a few feet off the ground. I panicked and took a nose dive right into the runway,” he said. Bob was okay, but his airplane got banged up a bit. Some of his most rewarding flights were treating his adult students to occasional plane rides during the many years he taught English as a Second Language in Florida. 

Bob has lived in Tumwater for the past 20 years. When the opportunity arose to purchase the hangar in December of 2017, he couldn’t pass it up. He wanted a place where he could pursue his passion for building airplanes, but he needed financing and was having a hard time securing a loan. Then Bob came to O Bee Credit Union. “No one else would finance me,” he stated blankly. “After about a month of looking, I found O Bee and got financed with no problem. The whole process was quick and easy.”

So, if you see a small, one-seater aircraft flying a “Financed by O Bee Credit Union” banner around Thurston County, be sure to give a wave. We love helping our members pursue their passions. How can we help you? 

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