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A HOBBY ON HOLD DRE AMING OF TAK ING TO THE SK I E S
O ne day a few months back, I was about to taxi out on the runway in a little Cessna 172 trainer with my flying instructor when we received a message on the radio from the tower. Some big-shot Fortune 500 CEO was flying in on his $65-million Gulfstream G650. He was coming into our little airport to do some quail hunting on a local plantation he’d recently bought, and let me tell you, at the airport, this was quite the event. We were told to wait while they shut down the runway. The 100-foot, gleaming machine touched down and was quickly surrounded by black Suburbans and a frenzy of activity. I have to say, as I watched that ridiculous piece of equipment land in my small town, I had a moment where I wondered if I had made the right career choice. I could hardly imagine flying in such a streamlined, cushy, high-class aircraft, much less piloting it, but I will say that I did my best to fantasize. The entire production just screamed “big money,” and as I patiently waited for this incomprehensibly rich man to make his way out of the Gulfstream and off to his sprawling plantation, I could only chuckle to myself. Somebody recently asked me what my dream plane to own would be, the vehicle I’d most like to fly someday, and that Gulfstream immediately came to mind. It may not be the most exciting answer in the world — many aviation buffs would cite some obscure dogfighting plane from WWI, or the lightning- fast SR-71 Blackbird from the late ‘90s — but we can all dream, can’t we? If I had to give a more traditional, realistic answer, I might say the wide-winged Evangel 4500, or the breakneck Aerostar 702 that my dad used to fly. I’ll admit though, with my limited, 20ish hours in the cockpit, I’m not sure I’d be able to handle such a fast machine just yet. Unfortunately, I haven’t really had any time at all for the past year or so to get up in the air myself. Even if I had a Gulfstream, I’d be too busy to ever take it out. Between opening a second location for the firm, searching for an
associate attorney to take over a small share of my growing workload, and just generally wrangling cases day in and day out, I’ve had my hands full. While I’m far from complaining — I absolutely love doing everything I can for my clients — I do wish I could make time to take to the skies every once in a while to continue my flight training. But even as the thunderstorms continue and my schedule piles up, I’m certain that I’ll get the chance again in the future. I guess the cost of having such a complicated, involved hobby is that it has to go on the back burner every once in a while. Until then, I’ll just look out the window at the passing clouds and wait my turn to cruise among them again.
-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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