Meet Attorney + Pilot Jim Magner

Just Another Day Above the Office

Article by Melinda Gipson

Photography by Michelle Lindsay

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

When attorney Jim Magner has a court date in Richmond, he heads down, not I-95, but rather down Sycolin to Runway 17 at Leesburg Executive Airport, the second busiest general aviation airport on the East Coast. There, he can board a plane and be in court in just under an hour.

“Flying to my out-of-town business meetings saves me a ton of time and my clients a ton of money over driving ad charging for the travel time,” Jim says. He can leave the office, make a court appearance in Richmond and be back at his desk by mid-afternoon.

"Being able to reward a client with a private flight to my alma mater for a football game is great for client retention!” he says.

But that’s not why Jim, or any pilots, really fly. He says, “For each of us, there was a moment when we knew that we never wanted to do anything else. Maybe it was the first time we saw the sun rise over the Outer Banks from 5,000 feet, or the first time we saw a child’s face light up, pressed against the window, or the first time someone referred to us as a pilot.”

Jim and a few other local plane owners are backing flight instructors. Tim Fisher, a sixteen-year flight instructor, launched his new Aero Elite Flight Training school to share their wings. Tim says that, spurred by an acute pilot shortage, youth as young as 15 are starting training on leading-edge computer simulators. Given their familiarity with the technology, those aged 17 and up can become flight certified over the summer in as little as two months.

Students who take advantage of the opportunity may find that training in a Cirrus or Diamond is a bit like learning to drive in a Ferrari. To see if it's right for you, start by joining the local Smoke House Pilots Club on Facebook, or come the first Wednesday of every month at The V Eatery and Brewhouse in Ashburn.


Flying the Cirrus SR22

—Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS)

—Cirrus Perspective+(TM) by Garmin Cockpit

—Weather Datalink and Audio Entertainment

—Dual 12" Screens and Comm/Nav/WAAS GPS

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