There are a few standard responses to the question, “Why did you get your private pilot license?” The freedom of being airborne, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, the thrill of taking your family, friends or a date on the ultimate trip—you have probably given a few of these requisite answers yourself. However, when it comes to being a pilot, there are a few lesser known items you should add to your bucket list. For example, when is a burger worth $100? When you have to take a short flight to get it from an airport restaurant you love. |
Many private pilots don’t extend their flying into the nighttime, but this is perhaps one of the easiest items to add to your list. A night flight over a sprawling metropolis provides an entirely new perspective. Plus, there’s usually calmer wind and less traffic which allow you to really enjoy the view. Here are a few other musts to add to your pilot log.
Share the Experience
You have probably taken a few special people on a flight with you—but nothing beats taking a kid on a private flight. It’s easy to lose that sense of wonder and excitement, especially after you have logged hundreds of hours in the air. Take a child up with you and you’ll see things through their eyes. After all, your hobby is truly a phenomenal one, and it’s good to be reminded of that. Plus, who doesn't remember their first flight?
Another option is to fly a tail dragger right out of a grass strip, which is a thrill that not even the latest tech-heavy planes and jets can compete with. Ideally, do this on a balmy summer day with the windows open. Flying off the green is especially magical if you personally fly a newer plane—go vintage, at least for a day, and experience all the great things about the good old days of flying.
Redefine Vacation The next time you’re planning that family vacation, why not take it to the air yourself? You fly a plane in order to go places, so make it happen and avoid the costly commercial flights or gridlock of driving out of town for a long holiday weekend. The first time you do this, it’s not going to be stress-free and it will take some adjustment (especially if you have a plane with a low weight limit). However, in the end, nothing beats flying to the beach yourself.
If you’d prefer avoiding the heavy holiday travel times altogether, you can schedule a “low and slow” cross country trip in the autumn. There’s nothing like watching the changing colors from the air, especially when you have unplugged as much as possible. Use your GPS to pick obscure airports that you've never been to, nix the radio, and simply follow a river or country road, complete with a good camera on board, this is the way to go.
When you bought your first aircraft, it was a real dream come true—but don’t get too comfortable. Try flying a real instrument flight, even if you’re not sure about pursuing that instrument rating. If an instrument flight through thick clouds just is not for you, simply try a different aircraft like a seaplane, glider or helicopter. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, an aerobatic plane might be the ticket
However, if it is the destination that has got you thinking, nothing compares to a flight to Mexico or the Bahamas. This can be a quick trip that is dependent on your location, but those turquoise waters will make you feel transported to another world. Plus, there are a number of airports that cater to private pilots in both destinations. Many even provide free land transportation. Of course, this list just skims the surface. Try adding your own dreams to the pilot’s bucket list and see what materializes.
Written by Jillynn Stevens in support of CB Aviation, a leading aircraft broker and the company and pilots featured in TV's Dangerous Flights.
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