The Personal Benefits of Aircraft Ownership
Some errands had me out and about early on a Sunday morning not too long ago. My chosen route took me past a local strip mall and I saw something that took me back a few years; it was a kid taking the first steps in learning to drive.
Mom had taken her son to an empty parking lot to give him some experience with low-speed steering and to get a feel for the pedals on the floor. It was a pretty standard scene for an American teenager, but one thing troubled me: this lesson was taking place in a fairly new Ford Expedition.
While it’s possible that the truck belonged to the son, it’s far more likely that it was a family vehicle. He’ll learn to drive in it. He might even take his driving test with it. But then the time will come for him to buy his own car, or maybe he’ll get a car for his 16th birthday. Either way, one thing is certain: he’ll need to re-learn the dynamics of driving all over again in what will most likely be a significantly smaller vehicle.
This got me thinking about the benefits of learning in your own vehicle and, of course, I started thinking about how that translates to learning to fly. There are a lot of benefits to owning your own plane, not the least of which is the ability to learn in your own aircraft.
Safe execution of flight maneuvers requires the ability to predict how your aircraft is going to react. And, just as no two cars drive the same way; even if they’re the same model, no two aircraft fly exactly the same way either. Factor in differences in instrument placement between manufacturers, differences in the various aircraft control surfaces, aircraft weight distribution and balance, and engine power, and what you have is a completely different experience in executing a maneuver in one aircraft versus another.
Repeating an exercise in your own aircraft mitigates this. And, when the time comes for real-world execution of the lessons you’ve learned, you already know exactly how the aircraft is going to respond. This can impact your comfort, but more importantly, can also impact your safety.
There are, of course, other benefits to aircraft ownership. Convenience and the freedom to fly where and when you want are at the top of the list.
It’s hard not to recognize the convenience of having your own plane at an airport that is ready to go whenever you are. Rather than dealing with the hassle of securing and booking a rental, owning your own plane allows you to fly at a moment’s notice. You don’t have to worry about delays or unavailable inventory. You don’t have to worry about scheduling or whether a rental facility is open. You simply make the decision that you’re going to fly today and you get in your plane.
No Airport Terminals or Security Lines
The ability to travel long distances without worrying about airport terminal or security aggravation is another benefit of owning your own plane. We’ve all arrived at an airport two (or more!) hours before a flight to ensure that we find a parking spot, find our terminal, get our bags checked, and endure security before the final boarding call. Imagine arriving at the airport, putting your bags in the plane, and taking off, all within minutes. This is flight on demand and it is exactly what happens when you have your own plane waiting for you. There are no passengers to bump into. There are no gate agents demanding a hundred dollars for that extra bag. There are no TSA agents waiting for you to take off your shoes. It is simply you and your plane.
And it is pure bliss.
Go Where Others Can’t
There are only so many places that you can land a 737. Your choices are greatly expanded when you are flying your own plane. Municipal airports, fields, frozen landing strips, and even bodies of water become potential landing sites when you’re in something small, light, and free of the limits of airline/airport agreements and restrictions. You have the freedom to go where you want, when you want.
Sure, you could still fly to the large airport and taxi to general aviation parking. But instead, why not fly to the small municipal airport that is hours closer to your destination? Why not fly to a remote airstrip along a river and spend a day in the woods rather than driving for hours to reach a camping destination?
You are not bound by roads. You’re not bound by distance, geographic obstacles, or double-digit speed limits. You are free to use the skies as your highway and any suitable landing site as your exit. Go explore.
Finding your first aircraft is easy when you know where to look.
Once you’ve decided to buy your own plane, you have a lot of decisions to make. What models do you want to look at? How much do you want to spend? How far are you willing to travel to get the plane that you want?
You also need to take the aircraft’s history, maintenance records, and seller into account. At High Performance Aviation, we assist buyers in finding the right airplane for their needs. http://flyhpa.com/services/aircraft-sales-and-acquisitions/aircraft-for-sale/
I sometimes wonder what it must have felt like to be one of the first car owners; to look outside and see the key to a whole new world of exploration sitting there waiting to be driven. I imagine it felt a lot like knowing that your plane is there, always waiting for you to start the engine and apply the throttle.
What will your destination be?