In these days of heightened airport security and the concurrent stress on travelers, it is no wonder that some choose to fly themselves via private plane. While there are charter companies that will fly you and your family or friends, I recently became aware of a growing number of people that have their own planes, strictly for recreation and travel adventures.
Geoff Nelson, who happens to be my son, has a growing family. He is now on his second plane, a Piper Lance, because his family has had an addition. With two growing girls, Mom and Dad, and sometimes a grandparent or two, the six-seat Piper Lance has been perfect for weekend getaways and longer vacations.
So what do the Nelsons do with their flight time? Well they don’t have to go through TSA security when flying, that’s for sure. They can bring baby bottles galore with them when they fly and a the stroller doesn’t have to be gate checked! Sounds good, doesn’t it?
There are two types of flights the Nelsons take. One is the “let’s go out for lunch” flight. I recently had the pleasure of flying from their home base in Jacksonville, Florida to an airport restaurant, Highjackers, in Palm Coast. We got in the plane, 15 minutes from their home, and flew to the Palm Coast airport had a marvelous shrimp plate, and watched the children play on the playground equipment . After a fun afternoon we flew back as the shadows lengthened and the sun was setting.
On the way back, we flew over historic St. Augustine. I got a bird’s eye view of the old fort and marveled at all the boats in the harbor. I had visited beautiful St. Augustine many years ago, but this was a different type of vista.
The other type of flight, this one requiring considerable pre-planning , is the vacation flight. The Nelsons have traveled to the Bahamas several times. Often they go to isolated resorts most of us haven’t even heard of. If you’d like to get some ideas on where to go for a special Bahamas getaway, have a look at the Bahamas section of their blog.
Chances are you know someone who has a private plane. Chip in for some aviation fuel and you may be invited to adventure by air with them!
Recently I worked with the magazine, Pilot Getaways, on an article about Gallup, New Mexico. Pilot Getways is a glossy, well-written magazine catering to pilots, and their families, who are looking for getaway flight ideas. I had the pleasure of providing photographs for their article on Gallup, New Mexico.
The focus of the article for this particular getaway was the December Gallup Red Rock Balloon Rally. The Red Rock Balloon Rally is small compared to the huge Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, but I found it to be well worth the trip (or the flight). You’ll see colorful balloons dipping up and down among the huge red rock cliffs.
When not flying, balloon pilots and general aviation pilots can gather at such historic Gallup sites as the El Rancho Hotel (where old Western movie stars stayed) and go shopping at Earl’s Restaurant or the many trading posts in the area.
There is quite a bit to see in the Gallup area whether you fly or drive in.
Gallup is just one idea for a flying Getaway. It’s fun to look through their magazine to dream and get vacation ideas.
General Aviation Travel
It is hard to believe but I have heard that some people own planes and just use them for business or transportation. There is a whole world out there to see and using your plane, or flying with a friend who is a pilot, can open up travel in ways you could never imagine. The views from the air and the joy of white fluffy clouds so close you can touch them will take your breath away. Private plane travel is a whole new way to see the sights and have fun getting there.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose, Kristi Nelson, Pilot Getways