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Flying 60 at 60Flying 60 at 60

For one pilot, turning 60 was a reason to look back on his life—and more specifically, his logbook.

As his birthday neared, professional pilot Tim Carter from Ft. Worth, Texas, wanted to do something new. “As I approached 60, I started thinking what I’d do for the big day,” said Carter, who flies a Citation CJ3 for a living. “A lot of people plan big things for their sixtieth, so I tried to think of what I’d do.”

He wanted something with more substance than a party with cake, streamers, and friends. So, instead of planning a party, Carter planned a feat.

“I was looking in my logbook, at all the aircraft I’d flown, and I realized I’d flown around 60,” Carter said. So he decided to do whatever he had to do to fly 60 aircraft during his sixtieth year.

He is giving himself until his next birthday, Nov. 1, to fly 60 different heavier-than-air aircraft, and he must be able to perform a confident takeoff and landing in each.

“I figured I could do it just hanging around the airport,” he said. He knocked out a good chunk of his quota that way. He’s flown jets, propeller-driven aircraft, and even two helicopters: a Schweizer 300 CBi and a Robinson R22. He says the helicopters are among his favorite aircraft—and among the most difficult in which to confidently take off and land.

Eventually, what began as hanging around the airport evolved into an efficient system where Carter could fly several aircraft in one hour. “One instructor would be flying in the pattern with me, while another instructor on the ground would be waiting for me with the next aircraft,” Carter said, remembering one particular day. “We managed to fly seven airplanes in an hour.”

Thus far, he is just over halfway there, having flown 31 aircraft. The whole operation is picking up steam. He has even managed to fly eight aircraft at the US Flight Academy, not to mention garnering them as a sponsor and coordinator of various flights. Despite the success, Carter speaks modestly about his progress. “I’d better get a move on.”

You can find out more about Carter’s mission and track his progress online.

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