Adventures With Ahtra: Private Aviation

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Jason Erickson has always had a thing for the sky. Now a family man with three kids and a wife, he works as a financial adviser; instead of jumping out of planes, Jason flies his own.

“I got interested in aviation back in the 90’s and got my certificate in ’99, so I’ve been flying for a long time,” says Erickson.

Erickson flies around the country with his family on his own Cirrus SR22T aircraft. Naturally, he avoids flying commercial.

“You don’t have to wait for somebody else’s schedule and get herded in with cats like they like to do,” says Erickson.

However, that convenience comes with safety concerns.

“The biggest thing with any aviation, whether it’s commercial or private, like the one we’re gonna do, is weather,” says Erickson.

Fortunately, modern technology makes preparing for nature a lot simpler.

“Most of us will jump on an app on our iPad,” says Erickson.

His plane has state-of-the-art equipment to keep him informed about sky conditions while he’s flying but if something goes horribly wrong, his plane has a specific feature that could save his life.

“It’s got a parachute built into the airframe,” says Erickson.

If he hit another plane or a flock of geese and wouldn’t be able to land properly, all he would have to do is pull a lever and the parachute would get Erickson and his passengers to the ground safely.

Though it’s not his day job, Erickson says any kid who wants to grow up to be a pilot should go after it.

“It’s a great career. You wouldn’t believe the places you can go and see and get paid to do it,” says Erickson.

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