“Let me be straight with you. What I'd rather have is an airplane. We just had a third kid. I don't like flying commercial. I like to take my family to Hawaii. When I go east, I'd like to have pilots I know. ”
Golf Legend Says Goodbye to the Cockpit
Arnold Palmer, who appeared on the February/March 2010 cover of BJT, took what he said would be his last flight as a pilot on January 31 when he flew his Cessna Citation X from Palm Springs, Calif., to his home in Orlando, Fla. Palmer, 81, flew for almost 55 years and logged more than 20,000 hours in the cockpit.
He has owned 10 airplanes, progressing from his first, a 1961 Aero Commander 500, to his current Citation X, which he bought in 2002. In 1969, he piloted a Boeing 747 before the airplane went into commercial service. In 1976, he set a round-the-world speed record that still stands. Taking off from Denver in a Learjet 36, Palmer circumnavigated the globe in 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds with stops in Boston, Paris, Tehran, Sri Lanka, Jakarta, Manila, Wake Island and Honolulu.
Today Palmer is a passionate champion of business aviation, appearing in print and Web ads for the National Business Aviation Association's "No Plane, No Gain" advocacy campaign.