Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Dodge Airport Security And Still Fly

From my current location in central Louisiana, to visit a friend in Nashville is 10 hours on the road, or really about 12 hours when you include the bathroom and stretching breaks. (Meals were pre-packed and eaten in the car for frugality and time.) We spent around $150 each way in gas, or around $300, on the travel.

To fly in a commuter jet takes about one and a half hours, plus security, which makes it 5.5 hours right now. Recent ticket search shows $242 for one-way, or $429 for round-trip. And you'd be unable to bring toothpaste, get charged heftily for all luggage, ($20 to $140, depending on how many bags you packed), subjected to unreasonable search under low-wage responsibility-free authority, and either pay airport parking or taxi fare there.

If I go down to the community airport - almost every town has one - and got in my own plane, well, she's older and slower, and doesn't have a great heater. She'd take 3 hours, 41 minutes to get to Nashville, and that's probably 4.5 hours because I'd stop for fuel and get a meal on the way. It'd cost around $100 in airplane gas each way, or $200 round trip.

Parking's free at your tie-down, or if we have two cars, I poke my head in to the manager's, tell them you're leaving the extra car for a trip, and nobody bothers it. Luggage is restricted by weight, but no extra charge. Luggage and carry-ons are restricted by airplane weight and balance, and will be arranged so the don't re-arrange with turbulence. Bring your own food and drink unless we're sharing my sandwiches on home-made bread, fruit, trail mix, and bottled water. (Short trips have water and Clif bars).

Weapons, including guns, are encouraged, and will be inspected for how I like them. You will be asked to safe them and remove the round from the chamber because I have a bugaboo about guns and turbulence, and I'm the pilot. If you're flying your own plane, you can do what you want. You are to keep your door closed, body parts inside the airplane, and hands and feet off the control surfaces until I'm not busy and feel assured that you're safe in a small cockpit.

From here to there, with the occasional exception of busy airspace I don't want to play with or restricted airspace, it's straight-line, no stops, no signs, no left, no right, no stops, no slowing down.

And no speed traps. No TSA. You do have to put up with the pilot, though, until you learn to fly and get your own damn plane. Which isn't as hard as it sounds.

Come fly the curmudgeonly skies, where freedom reigns!

No, TSA and FAA, I am not "holding myself out for hire" in violation of the regulations as a private pilot. I'm pointing out that despite your bureaucratic nincompoopery, there are still ways to be free and get where you want to go. All readers are encouraged to get their own licenses and their own planes, and to go fly.


  1. MissD Airlines!

    I'll sign up for that.... found a place you can do sandbar landings down there? :)

  2. I'll fly with you! Need a tail gunner?

  3. Good choice.

    Oleg has a great reputation for shooting nice tail. ;)

  4. Those are all reasons (and more) that I decided to get my private pilot cert.

    Going hunting with friends, no TSA, no checked firearms, depart and arrive when I want to.