For most people here in the USA, the Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom. While there is nothing wrong with grilling, fireworks, and a long weekend in the middle of summer, it is also important to remember that our freedoms are not free. First and foremost, let’s say thank you to the many men and women who fought to give us these amazing freedoms.
We aviators have benefited greatly from our freedoms. Take one quick look around at many of our international counterparts and you will realize that our open skies and plentiful airports are not very common in most of the world. Show your appreciation by exercising your freedom to fly.
- Fly to breakfast. There are few things I enjoy more than taking off on a crisp morning to watch the sunrise as we fly off to a neighboring airport for biscuits and gravy. My two personal favorites are the Airport Cafe in Urbana (I74), Ohio, and the Skyline Family Restaurant in Portsmouth (PMH), Ohio. You’ll find friendly faces, cheap fare, and delicious food wherever you may roam.
- Fly kids. Seeing the smile on a kids face on their first flight will warm your heart. Give them a memory that will last a lifetime. I still remember my first flight and you probably remember yours. Whether it is through the young eagles program or just some friends, get some kids in the air this summer. Not sure if you are qualified to fly kids? Check out our blog on Top 5 Questions and Answers for flying with youth.
- Fly for a weekend getaway. What good is a pilot’s license if you don’t use it. There are tons of adventures out there within a couple hours of flight time from your home airport. Go find one and create your next “Remember that time…” story. Looking for some good ideas? Adventurepilot.com has a great database of stuff near you or along your route of flight. A couple of my personal favorites are Rough River State Park in Kentucky (2I3) and Put-In-Bay near Sandusky Ohio (3W2). Both offer convenient options for planes and pilots.
- Fly to a Fly-In. You have a pilot’s license. Fly-Ins are held at airports. Coincidence? I think not. Make it a point to experience aviation at its finest. Even if you can’t make it to the granddaddy of them all: Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, try to make it to a regional fly-in or at least a pancake breakfast. For a list of Fly-ins, check out socialflight.com.
Make it a point this summer to get out and exercise your freedom to fly. Every flight is another celebration of the freedoms that we so proudly enjoy.
A special thank you to all of the military aviators out there. May your landings always equal your takeoffs.