Flying for Fun
At Double M, we enjoy hearing from our customers about what makes general aviation special to them. We recently sat down with Tom Dillon, the owner and pilot of a Cessna 414 that we have maintained since 2017. We wanted to know how he got started in aviation, what he enjoys most, and why owning a Cessna 414 is so special to him.
How did you get into aviation?
My father did aerial photography and I started riding with him when I was five years old. At nine years old, I began hands-on flying in an AT-6, and my first airplane was a Mooney M-18 Mite that my father bought me for my 16th birthday.
I soloed at 16 out of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport after a few hours of working with an instructor who was an old family friend. He helped me smooth out some of the rough edges I had picked up from my flying with my dad. I got my commercial rating at 18, and had my airline transport pilot certification by the time I was 25.
Although my family’s business is in photography, a high school friend connected me with a job as a charter pilot, where I flew a Seneca out of Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas and back for day trips.
What do you enjoy most about your airplane?
I mostly enjoy the ride. The wings on the newer models aren’t so rigid, so they act kind of like shock absorbers. It makes the ride more comfortable. Also, I wanted a pressurized, air-conditioned, turbocharged airplane without paying a fortune for it and that is the Cessna 414. Way back in the day I flew one for a charter company, so it is kind of coming full circle.
How long have we been maintaining your airplane and how did you find us?
It’s been about two years now. It was luck, really. A friend (another longtime customer of Double M) referred me to you. Now you can’t get rid of me. It took some work on your part, but I have never had a plane run this good.
Why do you fly? And do you have any future plans with the Cessna 414?
After my first piloting job flying day trips to the Bahamas, I made my way up the ladder to fly commercially. But I don’t really enjoy the business side of aviation. So I started a Part 135 and went back to flying to the Bahamas and circling the islands for day trips. I did that for about five years before deciding to sell.
More recently, I’ve been assisting with dog rescues by transporting dogs, over a thousand of them so far. And I use the plane to fly between Central Florida and my new house in North Carolina. But most of the time I fly just for giggles, it’s my best flying yet.
To learn more about our inspections and to schedule an aircraft inspection or maintenance, call us at 863-940-3450.