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Monday, March 3, 2014


With 800 hours in my logbook, a little quick math says I must have flown around 100,000 miles as a pilot, assuming an average speed of 125kts.  Is that reasonable - four times around the world?  Almost half of my time has been cross country, probably at around that speed - my Sundowner cruised at 115kts, my Bonanza at 160kts, and these two airplanes account for over half of my 800 hrs.  The rest was probably spent in the pattern at 80 to 90 kts, or near the airport going a little faster, say 110 - 130 depending on the airplane.

The 150 hours I spent in a Cessna 152 was spent going much slower, around 60 during climb and decent, and around 80 to 90 kts otherwise.  I did a few cross country flights in a 152, probably going 95-100kts or so.  I also have 15 hours in gliders, mostly flying at 40 to 50 kts.  That will drop the average.

Of course there's a little extra from the fact that a nautical mile is 15% longer than a statute mile, so that likely 100k nautical miles is closer to 115,000 statute miles.

On American Airlines, Delta and United, flying 100,000 miles in a year gets you special status - on American I was Executive Platinum until the end of February 2014, for having flown 100,000 miles in 2012.  I've never made it that far on United or Delta, mostly because living in Dallas where American owns 90%+ of all flights from DFW, it makes sense to concentrate your flying on one airline.  United granted me matching status for 3 months, but I don't see how I can maintain it for long.  Still, I'm off to Denver tomorrow on United, and I'll see how it goes.

Flying my own airplane for 100,000 miles also has its benefits.  You always sit up front in seats with extra leg room and a great view.  You don't get free alcoholic drinks unless you bring your own, and it's illegal to consume them anyway while acting as pilot.  No cooked meals, only what you bring on board, almost like flying Southwest except you don't even get peanuts.

The personal benefits are tremendous - a sense of achievement, having overcome many obstacles put in your way by the FAA - private license, glider rating, commercial license, instrument rating, CFI and CFI-I and sign offs for high power and complex aircraft.  The freedom to fly (almost) anywhere, at any time.  The power that comes from knowing how to use the air traffic control system to achieve my goals, the knowledge of weather and its mysteries.

And sitting in my hangar - my own gleaming, white chariot of fire, waiting for me to go and breathe life and air and flight and speed.


Karlene Petitt said...

I'm liking the way you fly. Congratulations on making the 100K club! Now... keep flying. Looking forward to the next 100,000.

Gary said...

Not sure of my total mileage but I can tell you each one has been a blast!