Pilots joyfully take advantage of flying opportunities

Whether sporting floats or wheels, aircraft owners welcome all the air time they can get


Brad Thornberg

Brainerd, Minnesota resident Howard Pihlaja takes his Champ with a Lycoming O-235, 115 hp. engine for a peaceful cruise over Gull Lake one evening in late August.

August 27 was the kind of day that just cried out "Picnic" to a group of friends in the Brainerd Lakes area. Destination, an island on Whitefish Lake with a sand beach just made for welcoming sea planes, pleasant conversation, and luxuriating in the sun.

Brad Thornberg

Rory and Jan Fredstrom's Super Cub nestles into an island beach with Brad and Debbie Thornberg's PA-18-150 Super Cub on Aqua 2200 floats and Jim and Diane Whiting's Found.

While formal Fly-Ins are a big draw, there are also times when a small group of flying friends have the desire for a little more laid back, private outing.

Throwing lunch in a basket, donning comfortable summer clothes, and taking off for a day of fine flying in a personalized aircraft is among the best of reasons a pilot gets out of bed in the morning, declaring that it's going to be a great day!

While many trips must be planned weeks in advance, there are those singular moments aircraft owners simply set aside the current task, check the weather, and determine that a late afternoon flight is in order.

Those exclusive sunsets, those, "I've-never-noticed-that-before" views, those mind refreshing minutes with your plane are the very reason people become pilots. Fly free.


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