The Car Enthusiast's Guide To Flying

You're a car enthusiast. Something about having a personal rolling exoskeleton strapped to your body, obeying your every command, is appealing to you. Your car is not just a hunk of metal, but a physical extension of your transportation desires. Maybe you should strap on your own personal flying exoskeleton.

Chances are, that if your car is more than just a means to get from point A to B, then you already have the basic understanding of completing your own personal flight in private aircraft. 3D transportation is only a small progression from the art of driving. The next logical step would be mastering the controls of an airplane.

Weather
Is it snowing today. Its hard to pull out of the driveway without knowing whether snowmageddon is upon us, or if a typhoon is predicted for later this afternoon. Is it cloudy? Sunny? Are you putting the top down on the Miata? Looks like you already have the basic skill to check for good flying weather.

Preflight
I know every one of you is a responsible driver and does a thorough preflight of your vehicle before you click the seatbelt and fire up the motor. No?? Well you should. And even if you don't realize it, you probably do to some extent. Tires properly inflated? Oil and fuel quantities acceptable? Headlights burnt out? (Piddidle!) See you do preflight your car and now your ready to hop in the plane and start the engine.

Run Up
Here's another item pilots do before every flight that drivers usually do without thinking about it. Any check engine lights on? Check the brakes? You'll probably detect a brake failure before you get out of the driveway. Engine running properly before you pull onto the highway? I hope you would notice car trouble before you leave your neighborhood.

The Car Enthusiast's Guide To Flying

Takeoff
Takeoff is like a drag race that you win every time. Shove the throttle forward and you go along for the ride. The plane wants to fly, you just keep her strait and wait for lift off. Balls to the wall and you're off.

Navigating
Does your car have a GPS navigator? No? Me neither. But I'm sure you've used a handheld Garmin or have a fancy app on your iGizmo and can figure out how to program in a destination. Great News! It's even easier in an airplane. No confusing address to look up, or wrong turns into rivers or lakes. Just put in the airport you want to fly to and the GPS draws a line right to it. If you're lucky, the auto pilot will follow the line for you.

En Route
Think of the En Route portion of flying like setting the cruise control and kicking back, only without merging traffic neglecting their turning signals. Most airplanes will practically fly themselves, and if yours is equipped with an autopilot then your primary task while cruising is to just stay awake and avoid any clouds.

The Car Enthusiast's Guide To Flying

Landing
So landing might be the one phase of your flight that will be hard to compare with its driving counterpart. There's really no other experience that can compare to landing your own airplane, which makes it hard to draw a suitable automotive analogy. The best I can come up with is like trying to parallel park on a busy street in rush hour, but with more feels. There are lots of factors to work into the equation, but once you figure out the formula, its quite simple and satisfying.

Securing
You pull a car into the garage, put it in park or pull the handbrake on. You made it. Maybe give it a quick wipe down and take a mental note of any strange noises along your journey. Not much else you need to worry about in a plane as well.

The Car Enthusiast's Guide To Flying

Flying is easy. If you love driving, the satisfaction of slicing up the pavement, and freedom of the open road brings you, then imagine that satisfaction increasing exponentially as you navigate and experience the freedom of the open skies.

If you are a professional MS Flight Sim armchair pilot, then please feel free to comment about how much more complicated flying really is.