September 2008 Issue

Unfamiliar Territory

Going wisely where you’ve never gone before means putting in a lot more preparation than you did for your last trip to Grandma’s house.

There’s little I find more exciting than launching for a new destination across unfamiliar territory. Exploring the great unknown makes adventurers out of pilots who use their planes for, you know, actually going places. But, getting there requires a little—sometimes a lot of—extra planning. My bride enjoys the adventure of personal airplane travel as much as any pilot; she also appreciates the added risks involved when tackling new terrain, new airspace, new weather systems and new destinations. She’s such a good sport, in fact, we’ve enjoyed the thrill many times. Our first "real" trip took us on a 2300-mile journey starting only five days after passing my private pilot checkride. Then, there was our first time to Sun ‘n Fun; to coastal North Carolina and the sands of the Wright Brothers; our first flight to Oshkosh and—well, you get the picture. We also made a couple of international trips that still stand out years later: Key West to Grand Cayman for one, and Cancun, by hugging the Bay of Campeche to Vera Cruz, then the West Yucatan city of Campeche and across the Yucatan. The latter one took two days each way.

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