Category : adventure
Congrats, you’ve gotten your pilots license….now what? There are many different reasons why someone wants to get their pilots license. Some want to fly professionally, some to get places faster, to reduce the stress of traveling or just for the fun of it.
Whatever your reasons for learning to fly you can always have a list of things to try. A list of fun and exciting ways to use your license when you’re not traveling from point A to point B.
Call this the pilot’s bucket list.
$100 Hamburger Flight
Almost all pilots have done this. Jump in the plane and fly somewhere just for lunch. Or breakfast. It’s the total sense of freedom. There is no agenda around your flight, other than to grab a bite to eat. Flying for flying’s sake. This is the simple and basic essence of flying.
Why $100? Well, if you add up the cost of getting your hamburger from about 100 miles away… you get the point. But the experience and enjoyment is well worth the cost.
Night Flight Over A City
You’ve seen your town or city during the day from the air and that is impressive and awe inspiring. And I’m sure you’ve seen your city lights from the ground at night. But imagine what it looks like from the air!
Peaceful, beautiful, amazing and down-right magical are the best way to describe the view. The twinkling lights and lack of thermals make night flying a must do on every pilots list.
Learn A Different Type Of Flying
In the United States alone there are several different climates and altitudes that you can fly in. If you’ve only ever flown at sea-level during the summer or fall then you are shortchanging yourself.
Take a lesson or two and learn how to fly in different environments. Some of these include mountain flying, bush flying, backcountry flying, high altitude flying and cold weather flying. Expanding your knowledge and experience will make you a better and safer pilot. And will add even more stories to your book as you talk with other pilots.
Fly In Actual Instrument Conditions
If you are instrument rated and you have not flown an actual instrument flight you are selling yourself short. Flying through grey clouds and completely unable to see what’s around you while trusting your instruments and your knowledge to get you right where you need to be is a thing of pure skill and delight. If you’re not instrument rated go flying with someone who is and experience the awesomeness of what is possible in flying.
Fly Something Different
Don’t get stuck in a rut and have only one type of plan in your log book. Part of the fun of flying is trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone. Tail dragger? Yup. Learn the real use of the rudders. High wing vs low wing? See the difference in views and handling. Seaplanes will give you the experience of landing where most planes try to stay away from. Whatever you currently fly, take a lesson or two in a different type of plane and open your world. At the very least you’ll get a new perspective. You may even discover a new passion.
Take A Kid On A First Flight
Introducing a young child to flying is a rewarding experience. The future of Aviation relies on pilots like you to keep the up and coming generation interested in planes and flying. Taking a child up in the air for the first time and seeing the smiles and joy is worth a few hours in your log book.
There are many organizations that put on a “first flight” event and you can volunteer for them, or you can find family and friends who want to experience flight. The memories you make will last both you and the kids you fly a lifetime.
Go On A Family Flying Vacation
You’ve taken the family in the car. And spent hours on the road in traffic getting to where you want to be. Pack them up in the plane and get there quicker. Or better yet, try going to a place that roads don’t go!
Fly Low To See The Fall Colors
In today’s world of speed and getting to the next place it’s nice to stop and smell the roses. Or in aviation sometimes it’s fun to go slow and see the changing of the leaves. Fall brings beautiful colors with it and a well-timed flight over the foliage during the peak of colors is a breath-taking experience.
Fly In A Different Country
Do your research, plan your flight and fly out of the country. Experiencing aviation in different countries can be a fun and rewarding adventure. It’s not as hard as you think and most places will cater to you as the pilot.
Fly In To A ‘Fly-in’
A large gathering of like-minded people all in one destination location to celebrate the joy of aviation. What better way to exercise your privilege of flight? Joining other pilots at a fly-in is one of the best ways to see different airplanes, talk with other pilots, learn something new and test out your skills at a new airport.
If you’re brave enough to give the “world’s largest fly-in” a shot then Oshkosh, or EAA AirVenture should be a bucket list item for all pilots. Just remember to read the notams before you attempt this one.
There is almost no better way to learn the limits of what a plane can do than aerobatics. Taking your skills and your plane to the limit is thrilling, heart-pounding and a rush of adrenaline that you can only get with flying. Become a safer pilot as you learn the techniques required to handle your airplane like a pro.
And if you get good enough at it, you may find yourself entering a show or three. But please, not in our planes. And make sure it’s done in a safe environment.
Join A Flying Club
Or at the very least check one out. Flying clubs are great ways to meet like-minded individuals and talk aviation. They usually have two or three different planes that you can get checked out on. They can be a way to reduce the cost of flying while potentially making lasting friendships.
Volunteer For A Charity Organization
Donating your time and costs to help someone in need is always a rewarding experience. There are several organizations out there that are looking for pilots. Some help patients get to their appointments and some help relocate animals to places where they are wanted. The list of these organizations is quite broad so there is guaranteed to be one that suits your fancy.
Explore Non-Paved Strips
There is a long list of non-paved strips around the country. Some can be found in fields and other in destinations so remote you can only get to them by plane. Make sure you understand your plane’s performance data before you show up at these strips as they can be shorter than you are used to.
Fly In A Different State
Each state has its own beauty and things to experience. You could compound your flying by setting a theme to your visits. Maybe you are trying to hike the tallest peak in each state; Or land on a grass strip in each state. Or even grab a $100 hamburger in each state. The possibilities are endless and you build hours, experience and memories with each one.
Bonus: Become a CFI
This is the only one on our list that requires you have an advanced certificate which is why we’ve listed it as a bonus thing to do. We believe that teaching something to someone else is a little way to pass on your legacy. And teaching another person to fly is like sharing freedom and excitement with them.
There you have it. 15 interesting things you can, and should, do with your pilot’s license. Was there something we missed? How many of these types of flying have you done? Let us know in the comments.