Flying a personal airplane has never been easier or safer!
Modern aircraft offer all the bells and whistles and redundancy that the older fleet just did not have. Combined with the modern technology and safety features, flying a personal aircraft is a pure pleasure. Just flying from one place to another is like the difference of night and day using GPS navigation, where before “Pilotage” (Reading water towers and rivers) was the normal form of navigation, and then VORs helped tremendously, but nothing like today! They even have parachutes for the airplanes! Some of them!
Well, in the old days, you had things like the early radio navigation systems with the “A” sound and the “N” sound and when the two merged you were on course. The initials may have been different, but you get the point. Then to do a radio fix for location, you had to tune in two different VORs and where they crossed on your course of travel would tell you exactly where your were. Viola! Great, but try that, by yourself solo, in strange territory, with those old folded air charts and fly the airplane, all at the same time. Quiet a challenge!
Also, today, the airplanes that were at the top of the price list are now down at the bottom of the price list. This means that when you were 20 years old and longed to own a beautiful new airplane, that now when you are 40, 50, 60, ???, you may be able to afford to own that beautiful new airplane. Avionics and a few extra dollars can usually bring it up to par if it is not already with the modern technology. Airplanes themselves have not changed that much in general. Although, there are many new innovations and designs thanks to organizations like the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association), the AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association), and type clubs for nearly every kind of airplane you have ever heard of, like the Ercoupe Owner’s Club and the Clipped Wing Piper Club and countless others. But, a new airplane still cost a bundle!!!
Let’s look at some of these “Positive” aspects of personal flying today:
- Affordable “older” fleet of aircraft available to get started or keep going!
- Many, many more good airports which are available to all pilots all across the nation and the world.
- Good, modern airplanes available, if you can afford them!
- Rental cars available nearly everywhere including airports.
- Fuel available at nearly every modern airport or old. This hasn’t always been the case.
- Smart modern mechanics, flight instructors, A & Ps, Inspectors, FAA personnel, Tower Controllers, flight line technicians, FBOs (Fixed Base Operators), and Airport Managers.
- New academic degrees in education covering every aspect of aviation you can imagine.
- New paints, new fabric technologies, new metal analysis, etc. All this adds up to a better flying world.
- Even the weather has been improved – NO, just kidding, the weather is about the same as a hundred years ago, but, our ability to deal with it as “Pilots” has drastically improved over the years.
- Weather radar, Ryan Storm Scopes to detect electrical thunder storms embedded, and other new modern developments have vastly improved the safety performance of all flying activities.
- Modern maps and aeronautical charts for both low and high altitude flying, which are constantly updated every six months.
- Micro chip replacement cards for modern navigation devices.
- Portability of modern navigation devices from one “older” aircraft to another. This includes navigation and communication.
- See and be seen technology to avoid air collisions.
- YOU are the “Pilot” – YOU are the man or woman!!! It is up to you to become the good and safe and smart pilot that you should and want to be! It is largely up to you and you alone!
- Local pilot training is available, is affordable (not cheap) and reasonable for the type of activity that you are undertaking. It will take some money (est. $4,000 – $10,000 or more depending on your precise level of training – more like $20K for ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) and a lot of time invested. It is not easy, but it is doable!
- More training today is offered than ever before.
- Rental aircraft are available nearly everywhere for qualified pilots.
- And as the book says, Anyone Can Fly! Recently, a young lady, with no arms since birth, learned to fly and passed her check ride in an Ercoupe! My old airplane of choice! No rudder pedals in most – some do have them! This young lady, Jessica Cox, is “Right Footed” and has just published a book by that name! Read it and be inspired!
Being a “Pilot” takes aptitude and smarts and some skill, but mostly it requires a “longing” that takes precedence over nearly everything around you! It is a full body and mind sort of thing that requires you to give it all you have in both heart and soul!
It is one thing, in your life, that you most likely will never regret! Doors will be opened like you could not have imagined for your life and even if you go “solo” you still go off into the wild blue yonder!!!
What a rush!!! And a thrill!!! Like nothing else on this old earth!!!
Happy Landings!!! And, always