Pilots and Cars – Lifestyle choices
Pilots make interesting choices when it comes to cars.
One of the things that makes a pilot’s parking lot at the airport different from say a corporate parking lot is that pilots’ cars are more often than not clapped out old bangers.
If you go down into the ExecuJet parking lot at Cape Town you will see a collection of old bangers – notably that most un-pilot like of cars; a 20 year old Rover. These old Rovers are known to be the choice of old gentleman who smoke pipes and wear hats – not hot shot corporate jet pilots. But these are the pilots’ ‘airport cars’, so named because airport cars sit waiting patiently for their owners in dusty airport parking lots.
They are often extremely unimpressive as the impressive cars are left at home.
Thanks to Porsche South Africa’s marketing efforts to pilots – in particular through this publication – a significant number of SAA pilots use a variety of Porsches as their home cars. The Cayenne Sport Turbo petrol version is a popular option – and the owners of these are no-doubt eying Lamborghini’s Urus as the next logical step up. The Lambo is surprisingly competitively priced – especially compared to the other top marque SUVs.
The bottom line may just be that most pilots who fly 300 ton jets generally don’t feel the need to show off cars to their colleagues – but they do enjoy a good handling and a rewarding drive – which is why responsive and sporty upmarket cars are popular choices for pilots ‘home cars’.
Of course, there are also the family men who like roughing it and they are often to be seen in the latest 4×4 SUV. Land Cruisers and the latest Land Rovers are popular, kitted out with all the options.
Airline pilots have been hit particularly hard by the Corona-virus pandemic but there is a compelling argument that in 3 – 5 years’ the pilot shortage will be even worse than it was pre-Covid – and when that happens pilot pay will increase and there will be yet more income for lifestyle car choices.
And then of course there are the aircraft owners and operators. For these well-heeled individuals, money may be no object – especially when it comes to the pleasure of owning a car rather than the burden of trying to comply with aircraft ownership regulations. The superlative Bentley Bentayga’s are often to be found in their garages. Mere mortals can only dream.