10:43 PM

An Impossible

I have just returned from a trip that exemplifies to perfection what it is like to fly your own GA aircraft for business. We beat that drum loudly all the time at my ad agency, trying to get businesses who still torture themselves with commercial air travel to see the many benefits of operating a company plane.

The itinerary for this trip was one that could not have been completed for ANY price on the scheduled carriers, which is why I choose the headline shown above. The route took us into far-flung places that would have required magic, luck and several extra days to complete had we chosen the Friendly Skies.

Here is a look at what we accomplished on a perfect business trip flown via Dano Airlines in the KatyLiner:

Day One: Scheduled for a 7:00A departure, we awoke to – guess what – low overcast in the Southern Willamette Valley. The crud was only 1,500' thick, so had I obtained my instrument rating bu now, it would have been a no-brainer to punch through it and be gone. So we finally departed for Pine Mountain Lake Airport (E45) in Groveland, CA (near Yosemite Nat'l Park) at 1:30P. We arrived a little past 5:00P, and after a 15-minute drive, we were at the photo shoot location and was able to get in four hours of shooting. Had we flown commercial, we'd have arrived in Modesto at noon, picked up a rental car (+30 mins.) and drove the 1.5 hours up to the shoot, putting our boots on the ground at about 2P. We would have saved three hours...BUT...had we departed on time from EUG and arrived at E45 at 10:30A, we'd have been at the shoot by 11A, a full THREE HOURS earlier then the best delivery time with the airlines.

Day Two: I was up before the sun, and shot the location until we departed E45 at 11:30A. After an easy one-hour flight, we arrived at the Reedley Airport (O32) east of Fresno at 12:15P and was seated at a business lunch in town at 1P. After grub, we moved to that client's location for a shoot that ended at 5P. Had we tried this leg on the airlines, we'd lose an hour of shooting time to make the a 1.5 drive back to MOD where we'd catch a flight into FAT arriving at 3:40P. After the standard 30-minute rental car sign-out hassle, we'd arrive at the shoot just in time to watch the staff close the doors at 5P.

Day Three: Our mission today was to deliver one of our passengers to the San Francisco Bay area for a seminar. With Katy parked at dinky little Reedley Airport overnight, our choices were (a) fly to FAT, and buy him an expensive airline ticket to SFO, or (b) make a quick 1.2 hour blitz up to Buchanan Field (CCR) in Concord to drop him off and also lunch with my sister. This was the only part of this multi-city trip where the airlines might – MIGHT – have provided an affordable service on our schedule. So we dropped him at CCR, enjpyed some quality face time with family and was back in the office in Eugene at 5P.
Bottom line: Yes, we could have bought airline tickets weeks in advance to save a few bucks, and yes, our clients, models and anyone else involved in the photo shoots would have had to re-arrange their schedules to match that of the airlines. This quick three day trip would have been stretched to five days, and losing two solid days of billable production time would have erased any savings we might have reaped by flying commercial. Not to mention additional costs for rental cars, gas, and per diem costs for two more days of meals and hotels.

So if I really need to get to Australia, Orlando or London from Southwestern Oregon, it's best to take the big pressurized cattle hauler. You'll get there when THEY want you to (if you are lucky), and do business when THEY want you to. But if I want to get around the Western United States and see numerous clients in different towns not served by the Bigs, I will beat them every time in the Katyliner. And did I mention that I do not have to charge myself $15 per suitcase? Or that Dano Airlines serves the finest in Clif Bars and energy water? Or that the pilot always greets me with a smile? Or that I don't have to take my shoes off if I don't want to?

Fly GA, it just makes sense.

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