By Justin Willett, 'Columbia Daily Tribune'More and more business owners are pursuing pilot’s licenses so they can fly directly to meetings and relieve themselves of the stress of commercial flying or driving. One such entrepreneur is Taco Bell franchisee Dick Davis, who bought his own plane and began flying to franchisee meetings in 1993. Flying also spares Davis from the headache of a 2.5 hour drive between restaurants he owns. Chris Dancy with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says that up to 70 percent of general aviation flying hours are in support of business. Business-related flight is equivalent to almost 15 million of the 22 million general aviation flight hours logged in the United States last year. The AOPA reports that the majority of general aviation business passengers and fliers are middle managers and professional staff who fly between company locations or customer sites. Dancy estimates that there are over 5,000 public-use community airports in the country, versus 500 airports that serve commercial airlines. This means that business fliers can get closer to their destinations by flying themselves. Davis and other business owners who self-fly say the economy has not reduced their flying much because they have come to rely on their planes to increase their businesses’ efficiency.
September 16, 2009