Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (right) with CFI Ron Carroll and a Robinson R44 in front of the Georgia captiol.
Look out Georgia Dems! If you thought Sonny Perdue was a formidable force with a Bellanca Super Viking at his disposal, think what he can do with the addition of a helicopter.
I was among the crowd of thousands at the 2007 National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta when the Georgia governor told of his exploits using general aviation over the years. Perdue, an enthusiastic pilot since his boyhood in central Georgia, routinely flew a Bellanca Super Viking to campaign stops around the state in his 2002 bid for the Georgia governorship. He won–the first Republican to win the seat since Reconstruction. He says the Bellanca is worth $22 million–the difference between the $3 million he spent to win the seat and the $25 million his non-pilot Democratic opponent spent to lose.
Perdue, 61, claims the speedy four-seater allowed him to be more places than his opponent and especially allowed him to easily access smaller communities than his opponent.
So if the Bellanca provided easy access, imagine what he can do with a helicopter. We’ll find out because Perdue in July earned his rotor rating in a Robinson R44 with Ron Carroll, an instructor at Blue Ridge Helicopters in Lawrenceville. Perdue used his vacation time to solo and a total of 66 hours to get the rating. All in all, he has more than 2,800 hours of flight time. On the fixed-wing side, the governor has a commercial certificate with a multiengine rating.
Because of Georgia term limits, Perdue won’t be eligible to run again until 2014, enough time for him to truly hone his helicopter skills. Also enough time for any opponents to recognize his secret weapon and begin flight training now! May the best pilot win.