The $100 Hamburger

Got some time over lunch tomorrow? Consider having a 100$ hamburger at your neighbor’s airport. The New York Times published an interesting article recently on the popularity of local pleasure flying, where one can get through a private airport, fly around for an hour or so and be back in time for a 1:30 meeting — all for a hundred bucks in rental time.

So I tried this the other day (not because I’m a scenester — I had this planned way in advance) and it’s remarkably easy. It happens that the guy in one of the back cubicles is a private pilot and that the Ann Arbor airport is nay 1000 feet from my office door, so shortly after work we set off.

Checking out our plane was as easy as driving up to the flight company, walking in, picking up the keys and walking over to the hangar. After unlocking the hangar and unplugging the block heater we went through the preflight check and were off. Since lunchtime was so far away we decided to tool around and find some of our friends houses. I sent some text messages to the effect of “look up!” as we buzzed a few houses at 1000ft, landed and took off from some rural runways, circled the Big House and dropped back to Ann Arbor before the sun set.

Total cost? 130 bucks. Sure, it’s more than a hamburger at your neighborhood joint, but for the exhilarating sensation of landing on a grass field, flying over your buddy’s apartment and dodging blue heron on the runway, it’s well worth the single investment.