Handheld Peace of Mind: the DeLorme inReach

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October 2014-

A ferry pilot uses this global satellite communicator for practical purposes—and also for fun.

  Ferrying an aircraft is one of the most taxing activities a pilot can undertake. From checking weather to packing the right equipment, your whole focus revolves around one question: How can I complete this flight as safely as possible?

     My number-one piece of safety equipment is my DeLorme inReach, which I've lovingly nicknamed "DeeDee."

     The DeLorme inReach keeps my family and friends connected to what I'm doing and where I'm flying. Remember when you were young and you got a whooping from your mom or dad when you didn't check in with them? Imagine the verbal whooping I get when I forget to tell my family I landed safely in Hawaii after 14 hours in the air! It's worse than forgetting to close your flight plan!

     My DeLorme also helps me when I'm in a new city and don't know my way around. I take DeeDee with me in the taxi and use it as a GPS so I can make sure the driver is taking me to the place I want to go.

     And then of course, the SOS function is the real reason why I keep DeeDee by my side when I'm flying and traveling. As a single girl ferrying airplanes in sometimes strange places, it can be dangerous—and I don't have the ability to carry a weapon in most of the countries I travel to.

     If anything goes horribly wrong while I'm on a ferry trip—either in the plane, or in a taxi—I'm activating the SOS feature on my inReach to get help. Regarding safety equipment, my dad always said, "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." (Wise words, Pops.)

     I never expected to have such fun using my DeLorme, but I do. When I'm on a long cross-country, I'll hold a social media contest using the device. Basically, I use my DeLorme to post a contest question on Facebook. (Yes, you can post to Facebook and Twitter from over the middle of the ocean!)

     For example, I'll have people send me their favorite joke. The best joke wins at the end of that leg. When I hear the "ping" that alerts me to a new message, it instantly cures whatever boredom had crept into the cockpit. Each leg of a ferry flight, I'll post a new contest. I end up laughing the whole time I'm flying.

     I've been traveling with DeeDee now for over a year and absolutely love her. She has become as important as my headset and my charts. We all remember the IMSAFE checklist we learned as a private pilot. Two of the items in the checklist are taken care of with my DeLorme: stress and fatigue.

     When I'm flying straight for a 10-hour leg over an ocean by myself, it can be a very stressful event. Your mind begins to play tricks on you. When I'm in a new city that I've never been before, that can be stressful, too.
Knowing that DeeDee has always performed as advertised gives me not only peace of mind, but also gives peace of mind to my friends and family that care about me. And the contests cure my fatigue. Follow me on Facebook and maybe you'll win the next one I post!

Abingdon Chelsea Welch is a CFII and a ferry pilot with over 1,700 hours. In 2007 she founded The Abingdon Co., which specializes in travel timepieces and jewelry for women in aviation. Learn more about her and the company at http://youtu.be/8KhxO4YTdlM. Send questions or comments to .

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