The Low-Class Yuppie Takes Flight

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If there’s two things I’m good at, it’s approaching—but never quite reaching—a measure of urbane sophistication (hence the name of this column), and getting in way over my head on a given project. To that end, I’ve made the strange decision to rent a hangar at a local airfield. If that’s not diving in with both feet first, I don’t know what is (incidentally, diving in feet first is how you apply the brakes on an airplane while maneuvering on the ground).

Most small airports function as a sort of country club for aviation-lovers, a place for friends who share a common passion for indulging in their hobby somewhat economically. For this reason, it’s often not permitted for folks to rent a hangar for the express purpose of storing automobiles; you’d be keeping that spot out of the hands of an aviation enthusiast who could really use that space for its intended purpose. It wouldn’t be fair.

But what if the car enthusiast in question was an aviation enthusiast as well? Hangars are fairly roomy, and even with an average-sized airplane taking up most of the space, there’s still room to stash a couple of cars and add a small workspace. If you’re talking about a home-built experimental airplane, you’ve got even more room.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

I’d been looking for safe storage for a few of my cars for a little while now, and this hangar provides an optimal location. Of course, the fact that the airport also offers free classroom instruction and discounted airplane rentals is a nice bonus for me, and it gives me a great excuse to finally fulfill my lifelong dream of flying.

We all know the apocryphal tale behind the origin of the famous roundel that graces the hood of our beloved Bimmers. Said to represent a propeller against a blue sky, the meaning of the blue-and-white checkered pattern is actually much simpler: It’s similar to the Bavarian flag. It’s easy to understand why people would draw a more aeronautical conclusion, though; BMW has a rich history of aircraft engine design, with groundbreaking designs that pushed aircraft development to the bleeding edge during both World Wars.

While BMW hasn’t produced any aircraft engines since the end of WW-II, that boundary-defying spirit lives on in the brand’s automotive development. I have several friends who share that dual love of airplanes and automobiles, and all of them have an an appreciation for BMW. The combination of comfort, performance, and luxury present in the DNA of every BMW is likely the closest you can get to the feeling of flight with four wheels on the ground.

So that’s where I find myself: diving headfirst into a new world, carefully studying rules and regulations, and researching plans for homebuilt aircraft—all so that I can have more space to store my cars. I’m feeling overwhelmed and excited. And best of all, soon I won’t get the stink-eye from my Significant Other for having four cars in the driveway.—Cam VanDerHorst

 

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