1. No TSA “Pat-Down”
While 9/11 changed flying forever, being your own pilot means you have access to thousands of airports that don’t serve commercial airlines. Many of these airfields cater to the general aviation (GA) community. Step back in time when flying and freedom were synonymous.
2. Attend the World’s Largest Aviation Geek-Fest
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh attracts more than 500,000 aviation enthusiasts each summer to the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, WI. You have to see it to believe it! The largest air show of its kind, Oshkosh will be held this year from July 28 to August 3, 2014.
3. One Word: Seaplanes
Seriously, is there anything cooler than taking off or landing on the water? Especially when it’s planned. While Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed his A320 in NY’s Hudson River, most seaplane pilots use amphibious landing gear (aka floats) to navigate such moves. Get your license and fly to your next island vacation!
4. Thousands of Regional & GA Airports
With more than 5,000 public use airports - and thousands more private airfields - you can fly to ten times as many places than a commercial plane. While many airfields have been abandoned or annexed for development, there are still thousands more in rural and urban areas waiting for you to touch down.
6. Leave Your Mobile Devices On
Unlike commercial carriers, using your smart phone or tablet isn’t just welcome on board the plane, it’s encouraged. With new apps debuting every week, you can plan, document and share your flight while in air.
8. The Only Thing Sitting on the Tarmac for Hours is Your Plane
Pull up, tie-down and get out once you arrive. While your plane sits on the tarmac, you can explore aviation museums, visit local attractions or enjoy a fabulous meal. Many small airports have beautiful views and amazing restaurants on or near the field. The Sedona Airport’s Mesa Grill has been wowing pilots and non-aviators alike who flock to this critically acclaimed restaurant overlooking Arizona’s famed red rocks.
10. Enjoying a “$100 Hamburger”
Pilots coined the term “$100 Hamburger” referring to the cost of fuel to fly to an airport diner for breakfast or a burger. Often hidden in ‘plane’ view, these restaurants are well known by pilots, but often unknown by most people. From steakhouses and sushi bars to 50’s diners and BBQ joints, local airport eateries are great finds for foodies and aviation enthusiasts alike. Visit Air Fare America on Facebook or our map of 350+ airport destinations to learn about the great dining destinations at small airports across the U.S. http://airfareamerica.net/Home/Pilots See more photos from our Georgia Magazine collaborator John Slemp at Aerographs Aviation Photography.
11. Simulators Make Learning Easier & Faster
Flight schools across the country like Middle River Aviation in Baltimore use full motion flight simulators to make learning to fly more efficient and cost effective. Discover how you can cut costs and earn your license faster even when the weather grounds you.
14. Because You Can!
Earning your pilot’s license will challenge you physically and mentally. It will make you stronger and smarter; maybe even more successful. It will open up new worlds and new opportunities. But you have to take the first step. As an airport manager once quipped, “A mile of highway will take you one mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere.” Blue skies.
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