My Other Vehicle Was a Spacecraft

Now that the space shuttle has retired, astronauts are rediscovering the joys of flying airplanes

(Robert Seale)

Garrett Reisman - American General Aircraft AG-5B

Garrett Reisman
(Courtesy of Garrett Reisman)

Garrett Reisman, his wife, and astronauts Steve Swanson and Paolo Nespoli decided to pool their resources and buy an American General Aircraft AG-5B (a variant of the Grumman Tiger). “The four of us owned it until Swanson’s wife decided she wanted some new kitchen cabinets,” says Reisman. Later, Nespoli sold his share of the aircraft.

“You can make the argument that [the AG-5B] is simpler than the Cessna 152” and less expensive to maintain, says Reisman, who left NASA last year and is now a senior engineer at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. One thing he doesn’t like: The previous owner had named the airplane Tigger, which is still on the canopy cover. “I can’t approve of that,” he says. “Sometimes it’s referred to as Bad Kitty.


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