If you’re a pilot, you’ve got goals. That’s just the way it is.
Maybe it’s the fact that we have goals that lead us to this life where we have it so good.
Just ask anyone you meet wandering around the mall. Everyone knows pilots are rich elitists with wads of cash stuffed into the trunk of their Mercedes-Maybach sedan (the 2018 model pricing starts at $168,800, in case you were wondering).
That may be true for some of us. Not many, I suspect. At least not many I know on a first-name basis.
Yet, pilots do tend to be somewhat better off than the average guy on the street. My best guess is that’s true because pilots try to find a way to get things done. Maybe they’ll follow a conventional path to meeting their goals, or maybe they’ll stray off into the weeds and pioneer a new process. Whatever it takes.
It’s not like we’re the people who invented the phrase, “Ya’ can’t get there from here.” Nope. We’re the polar opposite of that sentiment.
Give us a nice flat-ish stretch of hayfield, a few gallons of avgas, and a chart and we’ll take you anywhere you want to go. TFRs notwithstanding, of course.
It took me almost 25 years to get to the point where I could afford an airplane of my own. It was a cute little 1963 C-150 fastback with a straight tail. I don’t own it anymore, but I saw it taxi by this morning when I was leaving the airport.
After all these years it’s still doing what it was designed to do. Its pilots get to fly for a relatively modest price, but the experience they gain can take them on to careers and adventures they might never have dreamed of before.
That C-150 may be very near the bottom of the general aviation market of aircraft, but it served me well, as it served so many before me, and so many more after I let it go.
The value of an airplane isn’t really measured in dollars. It’s measured in availability. If you can climb in, fire it up, taxi it out, and lift it up into the heavens, you’re ahead of the game. Way ahead.
Unfortunately too many of us get caught up in the trap that held me back for so long. We labor under the illusion that we can’t afford to buy an airplane. We want one, we can see a use for one, we imagine the adventures we’d have if we could only eek out the dollars to put our name on the registration slip of the airplane of our dreams.
Well you can. Yes, you really can. If you modify your dream just slightly, if you dream differently, your fondest goal is not only in sight, it’s well within your reach.
This is not a pipe dream, it’s a plan, and a proven plan that really works. Not just for me, but for plenty of others, too.
Consider Carl, Lance, and Ernie. They don’t know each other, and you probably don’t know any of them. But that doesn’t make their individual stories any less true, and it doesn’t make your path to affordable aircraft availability any less practical. You can do what they did. Because they each did pretty much the same thing, with pretty much the same successful result. That alone is a good reason to emulate Carl, and Lance, and Ernie.
Their plan worked. They all have affordable access to an airplane they initially thought was out of reach. But it wasn’t. They just had to massage their dream a bit. When they discarded the unworkable, utopian Plan A and replaced it with the less obvious, but far more practical Plan B, the world started to really open up to them.
The key to their success, and very likely the key to yours, is the realization that exclusive ownership of a big-ticket item can be expensive. Once Carl, Lance, and Ernie, independently of each other, realized that they didn’t actually need exclusive ownership, and couldn’t make practical use of exclusive ownership, their fortunes changed. They began to plan for a more practical dream to come true, which would only require them to shoulder a portion of the full cost or acquisition and ownership.
Imagine, you can have your cake, eat it too, and only pay for the slice on your plate – not the whole cake.
Carl, and Lance, and Ernie each found the airplane of their dreams in a flying club. Each either founded or joined an equity flying club, effectively making them co-owers of an airplane they couldn’t justify sole ownership of, but could absolutely find room in their budget to become part-owners.
Think of it like Magic Johnson and Will Ferrell being minority owners of the Los Angeles Football Club. Gloria Estefan owns a piece of the Miami Dolphins, as do Serena and Venus Williams. Jon Bon Jovi kicked in some bucks to get the Philadelphia Soul (arena football) up and running.
Just like those big-shots, you could own something bigger and more majestic than you ever imagined. The airplane of your dreams for instance.
Of course getting involved in a flying club that operates a Cessna 182 (like Carl does), or a Cardinal (as Lance preferred) or even the Chevy Impala of the skies, the Cessna 172 (as Ernie chose to do), isn’t nearly as costly or as hard as buying into a sporting franchise.
It’s actually pretty easy. And it costs whatever you want it to cost. If you want to cut the cost, accept more members, or buy a less expensive airplane, or get creative in other ways.
Your dreams aren’t beyond your reach. Not by any means. All you have to do is dream a little bit differently.
2018 is coming. Maybe it’s time to make your aeronautical dreams come true – finally.