Question number 2, flying new versus flying used, was a gimme. I figured that as long as I had good access to it, owning a new airplane would beat the heck out of renting the kinds of old war horses you generally see in the fleet-if you rent, you know what I mean. Still, I underestimated the benefits of flying new. The 2002 Skylane, my 2002 Skylane, with its perfect paint job, plush leather seating and that indescribable new airplane smell, gave me an immediate and dramatic improvement in the quality of my flying life. It had other charms, too, most notably its high-end Bendix/King avionics stack, with a multifunction display, autopilot with altitude preselect and Stormscope. For a guy who for the past seven years had been renting airplanes, many of which soldiered on with missing or "collared" systems, not to mention the interiors, a new airplane was an incredible treat. It was also, I think, a real upgrade in safety.