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Sport Pilot - A Day in the Life

Let The Imagination Soar

Typical Cross Country to Vero Beach for Lunch

Potential students may be wondering what life is like as a Sport Pilot.

Sport Pilot Picture

It's morning and the sky is the usual Florida morning sky, all blue. I get in the PC and check the weather. Everything looking good I check for NOTAMS and TFRs. You don't want to be flying over the president if he is visiting the Palm Beaches for the F16s may intercept you and you will have explaining to do with possible penalties. The weather is good the airspace is clear. I grab a bottle of water to say hydrated, sunglasses, and a hat. I hop in the car and 15 minutes later the excitement is building as I am standing in front of the airplane at Lantana Airport.

It's about 10 am, I preflight, kick the tires and gas up. We leave Palm Beach Park airport (Lantana) at 10:15 heading east to the beach. We are at 500 feet over the beach heading north. The day is beautiful. Boats are speeding up and down the intra coastal. Beach goers are walking the sand and some are waving at us. We wave our wings back. The sky is a light blue and the water is a glistening mufti colored green and blue. The white sand winds northward bordering the land. We are about even with the tops of the larger condos. The airplane vents are open and plenty of air is circulating the cabin. The view is fantastic and just blows you away with vast patches of green grass and trees on the left and blue water on the right.

Palm Beach approach port clears us to pass though their airspace along the beach. 10 mins later we are clear of their airspace and we bring it up to 2000 feet. The view gets longer and the air gets cooler. A few more calls to airports along the beach to clear their airspace and 30 mins later you are talking with the Vero Tower. The operator at the control tower wants to know about this Light Sport Aircraft. What kind of engine do you have? she asks. You get that kind of response with a this new class of aircraft. A few minutes later you are pulling up in front of the restaurant.

There happens to be a great restaurant right at the airport. The northern door faces the tarmac and the southern entrance faces the parking lot. You can drive or fly there. We park the plane in front, put on the parking brake and exit the airplane.

We walk up the pathway and are greeted as we enter. Yes, a table for two with a view of the runway would be nice. We sit down and outside the window we see the zodiac 601XL looking pretty. Soon the ice teas arrive with a salad. Now this restaurant CJ Cannons has world famous pot roast. We we order it and it is no disappointment we sook the last bit of gray with our dinner roll then comes the little hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream and we are quite satisfied. I couple comes over to comment on the airplane. "Is that a homebuilt or is the one of the planes from the factory? a young man asks. I smile and say "Its a SLSA from AMD in Georgia.". Nice plane he says. That must be the Zodiac 601. "Yes" I say. He continues to say he is building a RV7 and should be finished by spring. We chat a bit more and they part. We pay the bill and leave the restaurant.

Outside by the plane we chat for a while enjoying the beautiful day. Then we preflight the plane again and hop in. A call to the tower clears us for take off and up and away we go. A turn to the West, because this time you want to go inland. We head up to 1000 feet and turn South. We looking everywhere tying to recognize roads and towns, but the two moving map GPSs in the plane make it impossible to get lost. Off to your right is Lake Okeechobee with plenty of ground below you and the beach to your left. You recognize a few places and maybe fly over your home or the local mall. Soon you are talking to traffic over Lantana and joining a 45 for the downwind on runway 15. At Palm Beach Park you have 6 choices of runway so even if it's a little windy chances are you can land directly into the wind making a soft touchdown.

Taxi over to the tie down and fasten her down. Note the hobs meter and back to the office. Everyone is smiling and it is only early afternoon. Plenty of time left for a dip in the pool. Heading back to the car you look over your shoulder and get a glimpse of the plane. Was it a dream or were you really flying?

The Gift

Bill has gone off to work and Kathy is sitting at the kitchen table sipping her second cup of coffee. She is trying to read the paper, but can't seem to focus on anything. Something is bothering Kathy. She sees an add for watches and suddenly remembers. Bill's birthday is coming up. Last year Bill splurged for a short cruise and made Kathy very happy. Now she wants to do something special for Bill, but can't think of what to do. Kathy gets dressed and heads for the mall.

It's now 3pm and Kathy has a nice pair of sunglasses for Bill. She is heading home and tired from walking the length of the mall three times. Kathy stops in at the local grocery to pick up a few things for dinner. While there, she bumps into Bills friend Peter. Peter lives over in the ritzy section of town. Kathy and Bill do all right, but like most Americans strive for an better life style. Peter is friendly and Kathy chats with him for a while. Kathy mentions Bills birthday coming up and Peter says "Hey, Bill has always wanted to fly and now there is a new class of license and airplane that makes getting your license and flying much less expensive than before. The local flight school has a new light sport aircraft and it is beautiful." Kathy says. About how much would that be for Bill to get his license. Peters say about $3000 and less than a months time. Katy's heart skips a beat. She composes herself and asks if she can call him tomorrow for details. He agrees and they part.

By late morning the next day Kathy has check for finances and excited about getting more information from Peter. Peter fills her in on all the details of being a Sport Pilot. Unlimited distance, small noncomplex airplanes and only one passenger, no flying at night and not in bad weather. Peter also fills her in as to the convenience and opportunities of being a sport pilot. Afternoon flights to the keys and the Bahamas. Bill likes auto racing and frequents Sebring and Daytona once a year. Flying there would make the event twice the fun. Disney would only be an hour away instead of the 3 hour drive. Kathy contacts the local flight school and pays for the 20 hours of flight time and a starter kit with books. She gets a print out of what she paid for and a brochure on Sport Pilot. She puts the receipt and brochure in a big card and surprises Bill over breakfast with her gift.

At first Bill is in disbelief. Bill has always had and interest in flying, but never wanted to make the huge commitment of money and time for a Private Pilot license. Kathy explains what Peter had told her about the new Sport Pilot license and Bill is sold. Kathy's heart swells up as she witnesses Bill's joy. Bill just can't get the grin off his face.

By the end of the year Bill and Kathy have both earned their Sport Pilot license. Sometimes Bill gets off early on a Friday afternoon and they head out to the airport for a short trip to their favorite place is the keys. The arrive about 6pm have dinner and drinks and spend the night. The following afternoon they head home. Sometimes they fly over Peters house and wave their wings to him while he's cutting the grass.

Sport Pilot Picture

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