The evils of private planes

from Wikipedia, Boeing 727

Once I was told a story about a world famous celebrity.  This celebrity, the story went, was in a new-ish religion.  This celebrity had some sexual desires and proclivities that he was ashamed of.  Maybe the religion made him feel bad about it.  But in the theology of this religion, what you did at say 30,000 feet of altitude wasn’t technically on Earth or something and thus was bound by different rules, or maybe no rules at all.  So the celebrity would fly up in a plane and fulfill these desires up there between here and space.

Whether that story is true I dunno.  It wasn’t told to me very reliably.  Pure gossip and alleged.  But doesn’t it ring kind of true?  Mythologically if not actually?

There’s something evil about private planes.

What plane did Jeffrey Epstein even have?  I went looking for a photo of it, and couldn’t find one I felt came from a reliable source.  Christopher Maag, writing in the North Jersey Record (is that a good newspaper? I don’t know!):

His planes, which ranged from a Cessna to a Gulf Stream jet to a Boeing 727, recorded at least 730 flights to and from Teterboro between 1995 and 2013, according to flight logs contained in documents unsealed last week by a federal court in a lawsuit brought by one of Epstein’s alleged victims against one of his close associates.

Look for a photo of Epstein’s plane, if you have idle Internet time.  See if you find one that you’re pretty confident is a confirmed, legit photo of his plane.

Making sense of his flight logs is beyond my expertise.

Did Epstein own these planes outright?  Did he pay the bills on the gas and stuff?  The hanger?  He had a 727?

Gladwell, Malcolm: Writer.

“I was invited to the TED conference in maybe 2000 (I can’t remember), and they promised to buy me a plane ticket to California,” Gladwell says now. “Then at the last minute they said, ‘We found you a ride on a private plane instead.’ As I recall, there were maybe two dozen TED conferencegoers onboard. I don’t remember much else, except being slightly baffled as to who this Epstein guy was and why we were all on his plane.”

You and me both, buddy!  From NY Mag’s roundup of everyone who knew this guy.

found this here at the Museum of Flying, kind of hard to find a photo of the Caroline, and I can’t figure out who took this one

When John Kennedy was running for President his father Joe Kennedy bought a plane.  Other candidates had chartered planes, but unless I’m mistaken he was the first candidate to own his own plane.

The President has use of a plane, Air Force One.  Supposedly JFK helped pick the colors.

Cecil Stoughton photo of Air Force One in 1962 from the JFK Library.

But it’s not his (her) plane.  It’s our plane, the people’s plane.  Once you leave office, it’s not yours any more.

For eight years Bill Clinton had Air Force One.  But then he left office, and he wasn’t rich enough to buy his own plane.  What was he supposed to do, fly commercial?  Of course not!  He called his friends who were rich enough to have private planes, and got rides from them.

Some of these guys were bad guys.

That level where you have a private plane.  Where you can fly anywhere you want, any time you want.  

You can be kinda rich, where you’re not really worried about money, you can eat fancy dinners and live somewhere you like*. Then let’s say you get twenty million more dollars.  Might feel very nice, maybe you buy a fancier house, or worry even less about money, or start a small foundation or take care of more people around you or something.  But have you really jumped a level?

I don’t know, I don’t have $20 million dollars, but I don’t think so.  What if after the twenty million you get ten million more?  Is anything improved?

But then there’s the private plane.

That plane isn’t just comfort, it’s power.  It’s access, it’s freedom, it’s being on another level.  Above it all.

What will people do to get to that level?  To stay there?

Who is that important that they need a private plane?  No one.  Richard Branson loves it, Warren Buffett admits he likes his (he doesn’t own it, I believe Berkshire does).  No doubt it saves them time and hassle, no doubt they can get to deals quicker and the power compounds.  And if you believe in capitalism don’t you believe you should be able to buy what you can afford, the market has determined efficiency, and what’s better than freedom, etc.

But isn’t there something a little obscene about private planes?  Everyone wants to fly in them, but everyone knows there’s something a little wrong about it.

From Politico:

“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.

The gall.

Radical proposal: in the wake of the Epstein case, the FAA and Congress should look into banning private planes.  Everyone can fly commercial for awhile.  (Exception if you are yourself at the controls as pilot.)

 

 



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