All Arnie
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Arnold and his Love of Aviation

For many years, Arnie served as a board member of the Airport Authority and with his input, the Latrobe facility experienced major expansion and modernization. A 7,000-foot runway and modern control tower were added. For his contributions to aviation in Western Pennsylvania, in 1999, the Westmoreland County Airport at Latrobe was renamed Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

Since acquiring his first jet craft in 1966, Arnie has upgraded numerous times. He’s owned a Lear Jet, five different Cessna Citation Jets and he currently travels in a Citation X—an aircraft with intercontinental range, providing Arnie the ability to fly anywhere in the world. He still recalls the first time he saw the plane. “I was standing on the sixth fairway waiting to hit an approach shot in our annual gala that benefits the Latrobe County Hospital. I heard a familiar jet roar and looked up to see just about the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen—the new Citation X gliding right over us as it approached the Latrobe Airport.”

While spotting his new plane overhead was a great thrill, it may not have been Arnie’s biggest aeronautical adventure. He’s had the opportunity to fly alongside the Blue Angels in his Aero Commander, land a military jet on the aircraft carrier Eisenhower, and man the controls of a U.S. Air Force Thunderbird F-16. The Chairman of Boeing invited Arnie to test fly a 747. And not to be outdone by the competition, McDonnell Douglas let him fly their new DC-10. On May 19, 1976, he even set a world record by circumnavigating the globe in a Lear 36 in less than 58 hours.

Arnie sums up his love of flying this way. “To put it quite simply, I could never have accomplished even half as much as I have in my golf and business careers over the last four decades without having my own airplanes.”

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Thomas Hauser’s book “Arnold Palmer: A Personal Journey” has been re-released.

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