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Once you’ve successfully passed your checkride and become a certificated pilot, the fun really begins! It starts when you give your first passenger a ride. It could be your spouse, a sibling, or just a close friend. And it just keeps on getting better every time you fly. You’ll always be learning, always be perfecting your flying skills, and always be expanding—and sharing—your horizons.

Your personal time machine

Flying is a great way to shrink the world around you and to bring distant destinations within easy reach of a simple day trip. In many ways, a private plane is a personal time machine.

After all, you’ll typically fly at speeds between 120 and 200 mph. You’ll be able to fly over traffic jams, toll booths, mountains, deserts, water, speed traps, and other obstacles that slow travel by car. When you combine all of these aerial advantages, a typical four- or five-hour trip by car can be cut to just 60 minutes by private plane. You even can hopscotch your way across America, while visiting dozens of locations during a weeklong trip.

Thousands of destinations

When you lift off from your local airport, you can fly yourself, your family, and your friends to any of America’s 5,400 public-use airports, many of which are co-located with other fun recreational facilities and cultural activities like golfing, skiing, hiking, amusement parks, museums, and art galleries.

Easy and practical

The nation’s largest airline

Each year, 166 million passengers, including many from your community, fly on the small airplanes of general aviation. That makes the 224,000 airplanes of GA the nation’s largest “airline.” That’s more passengers than American Airlines, United Air Lines, and Northwest Airlines combined.

Once you’ve become a pilot, most of the airplanes that you’ll fly will have two or four seats and a baggage area for your luggage and gear. So you’ll have room for everything you’ll need for a day trip or even a long weekend. Most four-seaters will have room for golf clubs, skis, or a pair of bicycles.

Most small airports are ready to assist you with ground transportation from the airport to your destination. Many offer free rides or shuttles to local attractions and hotels, or even the use of a free loaner car for use by visiting pilots. For longer stays, the airport can often provide a rental car.

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