Many aviators look at aviation as a career. Others see is as a fast and convenient way to travel. For Garmin ambassador Trent Palmer, it’s a way of life and an adventure. The Reno, Nevada-based filmmaker shares his passion for recreational bush flying and his Garmin G3X Touch-equipped Kitfox, appropriately named the FreedomFox through his YouTube and social media channels. We caught up with Trent to learn more about his origins in flight and his uniquely tailored aircraft that’s fit for adventure.
Developing the Passion
Trent’s course into the cockpit began in a rather unique way—by flying drones.
“I fly drones for a living, and in 2014 the FAA came out with new regulations that required commercial drone operators to carry a minimum of a private pilot’s license,” Palmer said. “At the time I was terrified of flying and heights, so it was not something I was excited about. At around hour 20 of my training something clicked, and I started to enjoy it. By the check ride I was already trying to figure out what airplane I could afford.”
Even though his introduction to aviation was through his career, he works hard to maintain perspective on his distinctive brand of flying. “I am doing my best to not let it become a career. I did that with [remote control]flying when I turned that into my job back in 2010, and it was no longer fun for me. I want to keep flying for fun over anything else,” he added.
Experimental versus Certified: Finding the Right Adventure Machine
There are numerous aircraft types currently on the market built specifically for backcountry and bush flying. For Trent, the decision to go with the Kitfox over a similar certified aircraft was relatively easy.
“The main reason was the freedom it allows as far as being able to work on and maintain [an experimental aircraft]myself, as well as the availability of upgrade options that aren’t limited by STCs,” Palmer said. Plus, the Kitfox seemed to match his mission perfectly.
“A friend showed me an old Kitfox promotional video from the 90s and told me how fun they looked. The driving forces for me at the time were the cost and the fact that you could fold the wings. I had no idea how incredible of a design it was and how great the performance of the airplane could be. Another very cool thing has been how much the Kitfox can be changed to grow with the pilot as their demands change like mine has with me.”
“I love that I am able to have my external camera input for taxi, I run a front view camera to help me see what is in front of me when I am in a 3-point attitude on the ground,” he said. “Also, having the autopilot…I think of it as a good safety feature in the event I end up disoriented for any reason.”
Sharing the Adventure
After acquiring the Kitfox, Palmer began making videos to not only share his adventures, but create unique content showcasing exactly what aviation means to him.
“I would say my overall goal is to give people a little view into how fun flying can be, and to share my adventures with people who might not be in a position where they can go experience it for themselves. My overall goal is to get more people into flying by showing them how fun and gratifying it can be.”
Be sure to check out Trent Palmer’s video series and channel on YouTube. To learn more about the Garmin avionics featured in the FreedomFox, visit garmin.com/experimental.