Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shut Up And Fly


There’s no excuse to stay on the ground


There are a million reasons to get your hangar queen out of the hangar. I've flown myself to lots of functions and parties, and one always arrives in style flying to a hangar party. For something more formal, it's a lot easier to carry your party dress in your personal airplane than on a commercial flight. I sure miss Reagan National (KDCA), a five-minute cab ride to the hotel in Pentagon City, and another five minutes across the bridge to the National Air & Space Museum, where I've attended fabulous events. I fly into KSUA when I spend Christmas with friends in Stuart. I flew solo to visit friends on their boat off MYES, Staniel Cay, and that was the first of many trips flying solo to the Bahamas. When friends fly into KJAX, I often pick them up and fly them back to KSGJ. A 20-minute flight each way sure beats two hours on the road. Several years ago, I had knee surgery after a horseback riding accident, and I had a friend fly me to Atlanta to Emory for surgery. And, of course, the list of reasons I fly my own airplane go on and on.

One of the most rewarding reasons to fly is to help others. A lot of people fly for humanitarian reasons on a regular basis. You'll find Air Care Alliance, a list of organizations with volunteers flying to help others at www.aircareall.org/listings.htm. The pet adoption organization that I flew to Tampa for is SAFE (www.safe-pet-rescue-fl.com), and a national organization that flies hundreds of animals is Pilots and Paws (pilotsnpaws.org). Almost any small airplane can carry a dog or a cat, and some of them can carry several crates at a time.

If I haven't given you enough reasons to get your airplane out, then lend your airplane to a friend. There are some great pilot-potentials who can't afford both the instructor and the airplane. Let them use your airplane for the price of fuel. I've offered my V-tail with a throwover yoke to a friend who wants to get his CFI. All he has to do is rent a dual yoke for the flight lessons. Last summer, my godson, Pete, came to visit me in California, and because he's a responsible young man and an excellent pilot, I gave him my Bonanza for a week of traveling around California. Not bad for a 23-year-old! Like most women, I'm pretty generous. I once lent my Super Cub to a friend from Kenya. He took it out West and put 60 hours on it. A little excessive, sure, but the Cub wasn't flying much and I was happy it was being used.

I'm probably proselytizing, but when I'm flying along looking down at a crowded highway, I think, "Why aren't more people doing this? Why don't they save themselves the time, frustration, energy and go by air?" Stop whining about the cost of fuel—you know who you are! Start a flying club. Practice instrument approaches with a safety pilot. There may be some tax benefits to humanitarian flights. Grab a friend to help share expenses and go. Get the hangar queen out and go!



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