Sport Aviation: New Year, New Goal

Something I’ve always had an interest in, but always have never hand anything close to the amount of cash required to pursue, is sport aviation. But you’ve only got one life, right? Might as well start toward those bucket list items sooner rather than later!

Is This Random?

Well, not really. My parents’ first date was in a little single-engine Cessna flying over Six Flags theme park near Atlanta, GA. My dad held his private pilot’s license for a few years until I came along. Eventually, it became too expensive to keep paying the hangar fees, annuals, operating expenses, maintenance, etc. However, despite expenses and life events, you could say sport aviation is in my blood.

So What’s The Plan?

As much as I’d love to have a small mountain of fun money just chilling in a mattress someplace, I have a very small budget to pursue this dream. I enjoy attending the Sun N Fun airshow. I’ve been two out of the past three years. Every time I’ve been, there has been a strong showing of home-built aircraft. Some of them are more affordable than I was imagining. There are several models that are around the same price as a new Nissan Maxima!

Baby Steps

So I’ll definitely need an action plan to get this sport aviation dream off the ground (pun intended). First, I’ll need a pilot’s licence. I’m still debating on whether or not owning an aircraft is everything it’s cracked up to be. There’s just something daunting about being locked into a single make/model of aircraft, and being completely responsible for insurance, maintenance, and operating expenses. I’ll be sharing my thoughts as this idea evolves.

I worked some extra side jobs this past Christmas and got about $100 USD to start this little journey (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had a very small budget to pursue this dream). I could do what I could to find a local airport that was selling discovery flights for that cheap (most discovery flights are in the $130-$150 range) and get about an hour of hands-on experience.

Or, I could take that money and get a joystick and flight simulator set up on my home computer. I went with the latter. While it doesn’t provide the sensation of real flight, it gives me a heck of a lot more time to learn when compared to a one hour discovery flight. At least when I start looking for that first discovery flight, I’ll have logged several hours in the simulator and won’t be completely lost in the cockpit of a Cessna 172.

Anyway, that’s it! This is definitely a long term goal an I’m not expecting to be anywhere close to achieving this one for another 5-10 years or so. Regardless, I’ll be posting more about this journey as the months roll on, and sharing all my discoveries along the way. Happy new year, and learn something new!