Every so often, I, and probably you as well, get asked the question: “Why Do You Fly?”. While there can be varied and convoluted answers, it really boils down to “nothing else can do what it does.” When it comes to a business tool, only our company plane can bring us home on an early schedule of our choosing, following a wrapped-up deal. Or, conversely, allow us to stay over a few more hours to wrap up the deal. Our plane leaves when we do.
As a personal indulgence, our aircraft often makes memories that are worth much more than the cost. I have done birthdays and anniversaries and games and, yes, funerals, that were more easily accomplished because my airplane let me be there, on my schedule. Life experiences can’t be replaced, so I’ve learned not miss the opportunity. Just having an airplane at our disposal is a tool to create these experiences.
But sometimes it’s just about the journey. I have often flown without a specific destination, when I just needed the uplift. Seeing the world from altitude both humbles us and recharges the soul. As the landscape spreads out before us, we realize our puny earthbound accomplishments count for very little, in the grand scheme of things. Seen from above, my holdings disappear into the matrix, as do those of my neighbors. How refreshing it is to just bore a hole in the air, feeling the feedback of the controls and carving a path around a cloud.
And so, our answer of “Nothing Else Can Do What It Does” may be reason enough to fly, if we need a reason at all. Do not apologize for having a company plane waiting to take you on a vital trip, any more than you would apologize for the standby generators in the plant or replacement of the building’s roof when isn’t leaking, yet. When the airplane’s needed, it’s worth every bit of the capital investment. In business, you have to be ready at all times.
The National Business Aviation Association and General Aviation Manufacturers Association have long collaborated on stressing “No Plane, No Gain”, citing evidence that companies employing business aircraft are more successful. It’s not that firms doing well can better afford to buy a company plane. Studies have shown that the most growth occurred AFTER the airplane was put into service. Business aircraft, properly sized and used, are just one more way to go out in search of new business and to retain current clients through improved support.
On the other hand, my personal airplanes are an indulgence, but one I’ve never regretted. I like the option they present, such as turning a hazardous five-hour drive into a relaxing, routine hour-and-a-half flight. Having them in the hangar means I can choose how I travel, just as when I leave the car in the driveway and ride the motorcycle. Nothing else will take the place of flying in our lives.