Flying on the cheap

Picture from Lobby area, Barnstormer’s Restaurant, GA2

Since I first flew at age 19, I’ve been flying on-the-cheap. It was the only way to make it happen back then and, as life moved on, the one guaranteed way to get everything I wanted out of life….. especially flying airplanes. Balancing life, work, kids, college, not to mention basic survival can take its toll on anyone’s finances. Fun money (i.e. flying money) can be hard to come by and even harder to justify. Balancing it all is exactly how the “on-the-cheap” in me developed, succeeded and thrived. Honestly, it doesn’t take that much money to live the life of your dreams …. if you’re willing to forgo the least important and focus on your goals.

Long ago I figured out how to make my budget work, although sometimes it worked better than others. The one thing it always included was aviating. Back then, even though most would have considered my income far less than required to own an aircraft, a few minor sacrifices here and there, allowed me to live below my means. Before I was 25 I owned, flew, and ultimately sold 3 different airplanes.

Fast forward a bunch of years. You may think that because today I own a Decathlon and my husband Boyd owns an RV-7, we’re flush with cash. Trust me, we’re not. It’s all about priorities and continuing to focus on goals.

Yesterday we had an absolute blast flying 984 nautical miles in the RV-7 (yes, taildragger!). Living in today’s Covid-19 world we’re still not “signed-off” for extended, overnight fun flights but what we can do legally is get in our bird and fly. Yesterday, we chose to fly from home base, Indiana to Georgia, one of the first states to relax its coronavirus restrictions and open restaurants to the public. Luckily, there was an inviting airport south of Atlanta, a grass strip with an newly opened onsite restaurant. The Barnstormer’s Grill at GA2.

I was THRILLED to depart KMQJ yesterday at 0800, heading south to GA2 Alexander Memorial Airport on a beautiful, blue sky morning. Kayla McLeod, Marketing Manager at Peach State Aerodrome, had posted an invitation to all pilots on Facebook to attend their fly-in at GA2. That’s all it took!

Kayla McLeod at GA2

Turned out Kathy Davis was hosting a CubCrafters flyin there too!

And amazingly, Julie Vessigault was there too!

The Barnstormer’s Grill was open for inside and outside patio seating!

And the employees were VERY HAPPY to be back to work serving their anxious, long overdue customers.

So about that “on-the-cheap” flying I’ve built my flying life around. Yesterday we flew N3XG 984 nautical miles at a total cost of $153.55, including lunch! We blew the standard $100 hamburger out of the water considering the distance we flew!  We spent most of the day flying, with not only a long lunch stop at GA2, but a visit with fellow LadiesLoveTaildraggers member Sharon Tinkler at Tullahoma, Tennesse.

Sharon Tinkler, our happy host at Tullahoma, Tennessee

Fuel at GA2 was a bargain at $2.99 gallon with total gallons used the entire round trip – 45 total gallons = $134.55. Add to that a lovely lunch for two @ $19.00 = $153.55 for one incredible day of flying! Hard to beat!

I know, I know. Not everyone has an airplane to fly. Many must pay the hourly cost to rent an airplane and pay higher fuel costs. Aircraft owners have the cost of hangar fees, insurance and maintenance. But my point is, over time and with planning and sacrifice, an affordable future of flying exists and awaits those who are determined and focused.

Check out these quick videos from a very busy Alexander Memorial Field. Kayla McLeod tells me they have never had so many planes flyin any one day in the past.

1 Comment
  • Sharon Tinkler
    Posted at 08:31h, 04 May Reply

    It was so good to see you and Boyd! I would love to see others come through, too. At KTHA in southern middle Tennessee, you would be half way to almost anywhere. 🙂

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