Past Places

New Smyrna Beach: Art & Artist Enclave (Fall 2016)

Charleston's Most Unique Low Country Dishes (Fall 2016)

Grab a Life Vest, Helmet, and a Paddle (Fall 2016)

Upcoming Exhibitions at the North Carolina Museum of Art (Fall 2016)

The Ultimate Staycay? A Homegrown Mediterranean Get-Away (Fall 2015)

Eight Uniquely Charlotte Experiences (Fall 2015)

Hitting the High Notes of Macon's Music Scene (Fall 2015)

Florida's North Peninsula (Fall 2015)

12 Reasons to Visit Huntsville, Alabama (Fall 2015)

Alabama's Captivating Capital (Fall 2014)

Exploring South Carolina Old 96 District (Spring 2014)

Weekend Getaway to Lake Charles, La. (Spring 2014)

Exploring Northwest Florida's Natural Side (Spring 2014)

Discovering the Lake Oconee Area (Fall 2013)

Cumberland Island National Seashore (Fall 2013)

The Best of Today's Waterpark Rides (Summer 2013)


Have a Southern Houseboat House Party (Spring 2013)

Take Flight: Yes, You CAN Get a Pilot’s License (Spring 2013)

Discovering Hollywood's Backlot (Fall 2012)

Color-Fall Tennessee (Fall 2012)

NASCAR 2012: Upcoming Events Around the South (Summer 2012)

RVacations (Summer 2012)

People Go Wild for Glamping (Summer 2012)

Best Beaches for Beach Bums (Summer 2012)

Heirloom Gardens (Spring 2012)

Unforgettable Experiences Await You at Select Registry Inns in the South (Winter 2011)

Golf with a Southern Drawl (Fall 2011)

Bring Rover on Over - Hotels That Want to Pamper Your Pooch (Fall 2011)

Cabana Mania! (Summer 2011)

Time to Plan for Summer Sleepaway Camps (Spring 2011)

He Said Golf, She Said Spa (Spring 2011)

Edu-Vacation Destination: Charleston, S.C. (Spring 2011)

Getting Your Adventure on in the Mountains (Spring 2011)

Freeze Action (Winter 2010)

No Ordinary Love (Winter 2010)

Spa Spectacular: The Natural Choice (Winter 2010)

Freestyle Mountain Adventures (Winter 2010)

Take Flight: Yes, You CAN Get a Pilot’s License

Visit almost any small airport in the South and it’s likely there will be a certified flight instructor (CFI)  on hand at the FBO (fixed base operator). An introductory flight in a small trainer is free or highly discounted and you’re soon on your way to getting a pilot’s license that will let you rent an airplane to fly almost anywhere.

Don’t let aviation lingo put you in a tailspin. Start with the FAA website,  to get acquainted with the language. Licenses are called certificates and additional ratings are issued for flying on instruments, flying different types of aircraft, and flying for hire.

As a Student Pilot you’ll be allowed to fly alone only under specific conditions. As a Sport Pilot you can fly only light-Sport planes. As a Recreational Pilot you can fly planes up to 180 HP and with up to four seats, daytime only and not for hire. When you reach Private Pilot status you can fly for fun or business, with guests but not for hire.  A Commercial Pilot can charge for the flight. An Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) is certified to fly for airlines (although having an ATP alone won’t get you a job until you’ve amassed the flying hours required by employers and/or their insurance company.)

All this sounds dull as dishwater until you experience the euphoria of flight, the thrill of taking control of an aircraft and the outright triumph of landing safely after your first solo and  cross-country flights. As a traveler who flies, you’re in a new world of elite tourism. Take a plane up just for an hour of flying over the seashore or seeing autumn colors. Vacation in places airline travelers can’t reach. Land at small airfields at  iconic resorts such as Chalet Suzanne or Cedar Key  in Florida, Jekyll Island, Georgia or Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  As a business person, fly into “executive” airports, which are usually closer to business centers.

Propel yourself into a new and exciting travel world. To find a CFI near you go to

Myth Busting: Private Planes  (also known as General Aviation)

  • Myth: You don’t have to be in perfect health.  Truth: A long list of physical challenges, including some sight loss,  does not prevent you from getting a certificate. Medical exams are required, then FAA doctors can issue exceptions.
  • Myth: Those little planes are dangerous. Truth: According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) light airplanes have only one-tenth as many accidents than cars per vehicle per mile.
  • Myth: Businessmen who fly are privileged fat cats. Truth: Save hours of time in traffic when you fly to the closest airport to your business meeting, often an airport not served by airlines. Usually you can fly direct, with no connections and layovers. In business (and on vacation), time is money.


About the Author
Janet Groene co-authored Cockpit Companion (Jones Publishing), a guide for people who sit in the passenger seat but are not pilots themselves.