The number one reaction from friends and family, upon hearing about my new private pilot license, was some variation of this:
Congrats! So…what can you do with it?Friends and Family
So, I thought I’d share what I can and can’t do, and what a private pilot license means and doesn’t mean.
- Fly for fun, without an instructor on board!
- Carry passengers, friends, and family
- Fly day or night
- Fly (almost) wherever the heck I want, even all the way across the country, or to other countries!
- Fly to any airport, even big ones (if I want to pay the high landing fees!)
- Fly any airplane I am certified and qualified for, which is a lot of them!
- Take a paying job as a pilot, like flying for the airlines
- Fly in clouds or bad weather
- Fly over certain prohibited areas (White House, Camp David, etc)
- Fly airplane categories I’m not qualified for (e.g. multi-engine, airplanes with engines over 200HP, airplanes bigger than 12,500 lbs, seaplanes, etc.)
What does it all mean?
FREEDOM! I can hop in a plane right now and take my beautiful wife to Nantucket for lunch. I think that’s pretty cool (and she does too).
The only major hurdle now is that I don’t own a plane (darn!), so I have to rent, and that means I have to schedule a rental plane that lots of other people want to fly. Plus, flight schools don’t take kindly to you taking their rental plane off for a week-long trip where it sits on the ramp at your destination, when they could instead be making money renting it out at home.
So, I have to plan ahead a bit, and my trips can’t be epic vacations, but STILL, I GET TO FLY A PLANE TO COOL PLACES.