The economic woes that afflict our country do not discriminate between wealthy or poor. The political rhetoric of late would have one believing that the rich are always getting richer, but nothing could be further from the truth.
As evidence of this, take a gander at the following story. A newly minted private pilot reserved a plane so that he could fly to Atlanta for the weekend. This was to be his first long cross-country after getting his certificate and I'm sure he was very excited. Unfortunately, a few days before the planned flight, he received a call from the flight school telling him that the plane was no longer available for rental because the owner had taken it off of lease-back. That wasn't quite true.
What has now been revealed to me is that another renter took the plane to South Florida. While tied down at the out-of-town airport, Cessna Finance repossessed the plane. Apparently, the owner had not been keeping up his payments. This left the renter stranded and my friend without a plane for the weekend.
What I find amazing about this is that the owner made no attempt to sell the plane and Cessna Finance hasn't attempted to put the plane on lease-back to the flight school that was using the plane on a daily basis. Seems like both Cessna Finance and the owner are not the most brilliant businessmen.
So renters, beware. I don't know what the answer to this problem would be. At least with a Skyhawk like N2469U, you could lock the cabin and the ignition requires a key. But what about all those Warriors and Archers that don't need a key to start. A repo-man could easily fly off with the plane. Should you take a length of chain to lock the plane to a tiedown? And perhaps a set of bolt cutters would be in order to free your plane from a lock installed by a repossessor.
It is too bad that Cessna Finance chose to behave in this manner. They could have easily repossessed the aircraft at its home base. It seems rather vindictive for them to repo the plane far from its home. Unfortunately for the renter, he became the victim of the finance company's vindication. I'll bet this even sticks in his mind should he ever decide to purchase an aircraft in the future.
If I learn more details, I'll be sure to post them here.