Chris and Liz Bron’s Wonderful Airplane
By Dan Brownell
Chris and Liz Bron fly a Cessna 172M from their home base, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (KSPI), in Springfield, Illinois. N9687Q has become somewhat of a celebrity. It’s been featured in the music video “Flight’s Been Good,” a parody of Joe Walsh’s hit song “Life’s Been Good.” Liz wrote the lyrics as a humorous tribute to the adventures and unique quirks of general aviation. Adding to the video’s cachet, legendary aviation pioneer and entrepreneur Burt Rutan guest stars in the song. Liz dedicated the song to her husband, who’s not only a pilot but an A&P. View the video at flightsbeengood.com.
Different Paths, Same Destination
“I’m so proud to say my husband is a pilot,” Liz said. While Liz isn’t a pilot herself, she assists Chris in flight. “I do the ForeFlight navigation for him. I had wanted to be a stewardess for Lufthansa when I was young. Now I’m living the dream!” she said.
Chris began his aviation journey early in life. “I have had an affinity for aviation since I was a child. My mom drove me to the airfield in Rolla, Missouri, for flight lessons, as I wasn’t old enough to get my driver’s license yet.” While he hasn’t had a career in aviation, his job was an asset with his aviation aspirations. “Having a degree in mechanical engineering has been a great asset in getting my A&P,” he said.
Chris and Liz have shared their passion for flying since the beginning of their relationship. “Chris and I met eight years ago,” Liz said. “I’d been single for more than 25 years. He’d just lost his wife to cancer. They were both engineers and pilots. We were fixed up on a blind date. Two weeks later he asked me to marry him. Three months later we were married!”
Their love for their aircraft is apparent from the nickname that gave it. “We named her “This Wonderful Airplane” or TWA for short,” Liz said. “We tell people we fly TWA!”
They like the sense of freedom and adventure TWA provides. “We enjoy flying to lunch or dinner around the area and out of state,” Liz said. “Chris will say things like, ‘Hey, what do you have planned for tomorrow? Want to have lunch at Lake of the Ozarks?’ “My response is always, ‘Yes, I would love to go!’
The couple like taking extended trips too. “We flew the president of our local EAA chapter to Oshkosh in June,” said Liz. “We had lunch and came home dodging thunderstorms.” They recently enjoyed the excellent cuisine at Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview, Arkansas, which hosts a 3,000-foot grass landing strip.
Chris and Liz are passing their love of aviation on to their family. When Chris and Liz married, “Chris became an instant grandpa,” Liz said. “My oldest grandson, Coury, adores him. He wants to be a pilot and engineer just like grandpa. We took him with us to AirVenture when he was 5. Then we flew him out here last year when he was 10 to go again. He’s totally hooked on aviation!”
“We told him that if he gets his pilot’s license, he gets the 172,” Chris added.
But their passengers aren’t just human. “Our dog Rolf (a Bernie-doodle) loves to fly,” Liz said. “He has his own seat and sits with his ‘Mutt Muffs’ on like a good boy. The only odd thing about Rolf is that he barks at rivers when we fly over them!”
IN GOOD HANDS
Chris is an A&P, so he does the work on their plane. “It’s easy to work on,” he said. “Since it’s a common airplane, parts are easier to obtain. We use Wicks Aircraft Parts, as it’s not far from us. We also order from Aircraft Spruce and Sporty’s Pilot Shop.”
N9687Q has 2,666 total hours on its airframe, 380 hours SMOH, and features the following equipment:
- Full IFR Narco Mk12 suite with dual comms and dual navs and glide slopes
- Original ARC ADF
- Auto gas STC
- Ney nozzles for camshaft lobe lubrication
- RMD wing tips with Precise Flight Pulselight System
- Whelen Anti-Collision Light System
- Sky-Tec lightweight starter
- Standby vacuum system by Precise Flight Inc.
- Power Flow Exhaust System
- Millennium cylinders
- Engine control cables replaced with McFarlane vernier control cables
- JPI EDM 700 Engine Data Management System.
- Tanis dual element CHT, heater probes, and oil sump heater pad
- AeroLEDs LED taxi and landing lights
- NuLite instrumentation lighting system