October 27, 2007
Maybe. If I had this $450,000 airplane...
ADDED: I don't actually want to own a plane, even if I had an extra $450,000 to spend. But if one of my millionaire readers wants to hit the PayPal button for $450,000... well, don't impetuously give me $450,000 and think you've made a contract that obligates me to do any particular thing. I may eat an egg salad sandwich for $200, but I don't want anyone giving me $450,000 and then thinking they've bought the right to tell me what to do, with access to courts to enforce the obligation. Paying for the plane would only be the beginning. First, it might be taxable income, and I'd have to pay for a lawyer to advise me on the subject (unless TaxProf wants to give me free advice). Second, I'd have to get insurance and pay and pay for it. Third, I'd have to pay to keep the plane somewhere and to use various airports. Fourth, I'd have to use it to go places, with all the expenses of travel. Do you know how expensive hotels and restaurants and clothes are for a person with a $450,000 plane?
Therefore, I think I would need several million dollars before I could learn to fly. But if you love this blog and would love to see more travel and adventure blogging here and if you are very rich, you see the PayPal button over there. I say this, worrying that anyone who gives me several million dollars might feel entitled to intrude into my private — and mysterious! — life. I would really prefer more of a John Beresford Tipton character. A John Beresford Tipton who operates via PayPal. Isn't there some web geek turned billionaire who would find fulfillment giving $1 million PayPal donations to the bloggers he loves?
Anyway.... the inside of this Cirrus airplane looks and feels very much like a car (a very nice car). I thought the design was beautiful, and I enjoyed sitting in it — which wasn't my idea. The guy showing off the plane invited me to get in. His idea was to get lots of people to sit in the plane. Most wouldn't buy, but the company is surely correct to assume that there were a lot of rich people walking by here at a PGA tournament and that seeing the plane close up would plant the idea of owning it in the heads of some people who might actually buy it.
I think the plane was designed to make an ordinary car driver feel safe, at ease, and capable of flying. I can drive, so why can't I fly? The seats are constructed to adjust to your height, so as you pull it forward so your feet reach the pedals, the height of the seat changes according to an assumption about the length of your torso. I got into a discussion with the guy who was demonstrating the plane about leg-torso disproportion, and he admitted the design only took account of the average proportion. But he swiftly called attention to the way my eyes were at exactly the same perfect level as the eyes of the tall man sitting in the other seat, and had had me close the door to see how the comfy armrest put my hand in exactly the right place to hold the throttle. I've never considered learning to fly, but I had the real sensation that with a plane like this, I could do it.
ADDED: Hey, I got linked by Daily Aviator. Thanks. And a special hi to anyone who hasn't read this blog before.