Getting a pilot’s license is a major milestone in any aviation lover’s life and for good reason. The freedom to strap in and take to the skies at a moment’s notice is a feeling known to only a lucky few throughout history, making every trip to the air a special occasion.
Beyond the career potentials and personal freedoms that come with being a licensed pilot are many exciting opportunities to share your love of aviation with others. Whether you’ve already secured your pilot’s license or are still working your way through flight school, keep these secondary airborne activities in the back of your mind the next time you take to the skies.
1. Become a Tour Guide
Flying as a private tour guide in your area is a creative and beautiful way to share your love of flight with others. While you can’t charge for private flights (the FAA has pretty clear rules about that), that doesn’t mean your friends and family can’t chip in for gas money.
Even if your plane is cramped, the chance to take a look at the Earth from the air with your loved ones is an unparalleled experience – just be sure to take lots of photos!
There are plenty of opportunities for pilots to give back to their communities by utilizing their aviation skills and expertise. The Civil Air Patrol offers training to private pilots to become search-and-rescue operators or transport mission pilots. Other organizations such as Pilots for Patients provide opportunities to transport individuals who are too ill or far away from their hospitals to drive on a regular basis. Fly for the Cure provides recreational and pleasure trips to cancer patients and survivors around the United States.
No matter your interests, rest assured our society continues to need qualified individuals with pilot’s licenses to help accommodate those who are otherwise limited to the ground.
3. Restore or Build Your Own Plane
Much like the enthusiast automotive market, DIY aircraft and classic restorations are a major point of interest for die-hard aviation lovers. There are plenty of ways to build your own plane, drone, or fixed-wing glider on even a modest budget – just don’t plan to take them further than your native airspace on your first several flights.
Classic, antique, and damaged aircraft are easy to find. For as low as a couple thousand dollars, you can own a so-called “project plane” to provide a safe test bed for young or inexperienced pilots to learn more about the internal workings of an aircraft. While most will require a lot of work, the potential reward of restoring a decrepit airplane to stunning, like-new condition is difficult to quantify – you’ll have to take on that adventure yourself to find out.
Of course, restoring a classic aircraft requires a lot of room in which to work and utilize tools and equipment. We’d recommend a decent-sized private airplane hangar to house and service your airplane (if you don’t already have one). If you’re unsure where to start, Alaska Structures has a great guide to buying your first aircraft hangar.
4. Learn Aerobatics
Otherwise known as aerial-acrobatics, aerobatics is an advanced methodology of airplane flight (or not, depending on who you talk to). While its importance in crash avoidance theory is widely recognized, many pilots fly aerobatics for recreation or competition.
Entertainment is the main appeal of aerobatics, with air shows and flying circuses a regular event in most communities nationwide, but military pilots receive advanced training in aerobatics to gain tactical advantages over the enemy in air combat situations.
Helicopter pilots aren’t left out of aerobatics training. The British Army, Royal Navy, Spanish Air Force, and the Indian Air Force have helicopter teams that fly in formation and perform aerial maneuvers in concert with other aircraft.
5. Join a Flying Club
Flying clubs are a great way to offset the costs of owning and operating an aircraft. By joining up with other private pilots, you can help increase your time in the air and share your love of flight with others.
There are two primary types of flying clubs: corporate clubs, in which individuals rent out their planes to members at a lower tier and partnership clubs, where multiple pilots share the costs and ownership stakes in the aircraft amongst themselves.
The best part? The friends you’ll make in your flying club will likely last throughout your entire lifetime, with members-only gatherings, events, and parties at most flying clubs a regular occurrence.
6. Explore Off the Beaten Path
Simply put, if you don’t have the adventurous spirit to explore and see the world from the sky, you’re likely pursuing the wrong hobby. Being a private pilot means you have the freedom to take to the skies and explore the wilderness of your immediate area and beyond. You’ll need to become a professional bush pilot to truly explore off the beaten path, but learning how to land in short runways, water, and snow are all perfectly legitimate skills for an aspiring pilot to learn anyway, so why not take up the challenge?
7. Continue Your Education
Earning your wings is only the first milestone in your journey as a pilot. Once you become a licensed private pilot, you’ll be able to operate most recreational aircraft and unmanned (drone) aircraft. As you advance in your skills and capabilities, becoming a commercial pilot can bring many benefits to individual pilots. You’ll be able to fly for hire, pilot more advanced types of aircraft, and reduce your insurance premiums due to higher degrees of safety training. From there, becoming an airline transport pilot is a mere 1,250 additional flight hours away – an imperceptible amount of time when you’re doing something you love.
J&K Connectors is committed to helping individual pilots achieve their dreams of owning and servicing their own aircraft, big or small. With a massive selection of parts, connectors, and accessories in stock, we can ensure your plane stays in working condition as long as you call it your own. Check out our inventory or give us a call to learn more about our hands-on process.
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