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    Kevin Ware is an ATP who also holds CFI, MEII and helicopter ratings, has more than 10,000 hours and is typed in several different busi- ness jets. He has been flying for a living on and off since he was 20, and currently works as a contract pilot for various corporations in the Seattle area. When not working as a pilot he is employed part time as an emergency and urgent care physician. He can be reached at  arriving, we were met by the FBO’s (Jet Center) “follow me” truck and es- corted to our parking area where we found our rental car with the engine running, air conditioner on and trunk open. We were not required to sign any paperwork or meet with any official – just kindly instructed how to exit the airport gate. Only in America do we have that kind of service. Two days later, speeches having been given, we departed Santa Fe back for home. There were thunderstorms scat- tered around the airport and I decided to file an IFR flight plan. However, when getting the clearance, I could see that the instrument departure route would take us through an area of heavy rain that I could see both out the window and on the iPad. On short notice, I told the ground controller I decided to depart VFR but would accept radar following. Not a problem, he said, and we soon made our way around the scattered thunder- storms in visual conditions with the help of the departure controller. Fifty miles northwest of KSAF, when clear of all the weather, I thanked the radar controller for his help and changed the frequency to 121.5. For the next two hours, we flew 500 nm across the vast Southwest, with rare evidence of human habitation and the frequency completely silent. While en route to the Salt Lake area, Kari and I discussed where we should land for fuel and lunch. Ogden on the north end of Salt Lake is always a nice stop, but then Boise was only another 45 minutes to the west and we knew of a really good BBQ restaurant not far from the airport. And so, while airborne and needing permission from no one, we chose our destination almost on a whim. Only in America can that be done. The next morning, we departed Boise in bright sunny conditions. But knowing there was a cold front on the west side of the Cascades with low IFR conditions throughout the Puget Sound area, we departed Boise VFR but with an IFR flight plan we planned to pick up along the way. The switch from VFR to IFR was handled as an everyday event by the Seattle Center controller, and we were soon bouncing around in the rain and clouds as we descended to 5,000 feet over Paine Field (PAE), the IAF for our approach into KBVS. We were switched to our old Whidbey Naval Base control- ler, greeted warmly, and cleared for the GPS 29 approach into BVS. Upon break- ing out of the overcast and seeing the airport, we closed our flight plan in the air and landed without incident. Only in America do we have such a flexible air traffic management system that permits that sort of operation on a routine basis without any folderol at all. From time to time, I fly jets interna- tionally and after putting up with all the rules and bureaucracy other countries require, I fly trips like this and am re- minded just how free we are America to operate our aircraft as we choose. It is a freedom we should always cherish and always defend.  In America, private pilots are granted much freedom and access – such as flying over national landmarks like El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. 40 • TWIN & TURBINE / November 2019 

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