JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Flying has always been a passion of Jim Overton, a sales associate with ERA Davis and Linn in Jacksonville, Florida. And, after earning his pilot’s license at age 25, he flew fairly regularly for business for a while.
“I took lessons and was a weekend pilot. I bought a small plane and flew for work once I was a little older,” he says. But, says Overton, “It’s an expensive hobby, so many pilots fall out of it because of cost.”
What Overton didn’t do is lose his passion for being in the air.
“I still went to air shows and kept in contact with many in the aviation community,” he says. Thus, began his passion for soaring.
“I was looking for a cheaper way to continue flying,” Overton says. “If you’re soaring, you’re finding where the air is rising and getting into that air stream. With gliding, you get let off at a certain altitude and fall slowly. On a great day, you can get off at 3,000 feet and climb to 7,000 feet when you’re soaring.”
Overton owns a sailplane – a standard Cirrus. He also owns a share of another sailplane, called a Scheibe. “I soar every weekend when the weather is good.”
Because he feels so strongly about the sport, Overton is a member of The North Florida Soaring Society.
“We have around 60 to 65 members,” he says. “Most are [people] like me, pilots who got into this sport. We believe in having fun and promoting the sport, so we have displays at air shows and have demonstration rides.”
For Overton, soaring is a fun way to spend his weekends. However, don’t think that he can just go up there and take it easy.
“It’s very quiet compared to flying, but you don’t just cruise,” he explains. “There are times that you can fly alongside a flock of buzzards or with a bald eagle, but most of the time you’re struggling to stay in the rising air.”
Want to know more about Jim Overton? In his own words …
Motivation: I like helping other people, and that motivates me. My greatest pleasure comes from helping someone work through a problem, or to help someone find the right house or sell a piece of property.
Personal life: I’ve been married since 1977 to Connie. Our kids are grown. Our daughter, Sarah, lives in Melbourne, Australia, and our son, Will, is doing post-graduate work in Tennessee.
How he got his start: I am new to real estate. I was in the electronics business for the first phase of my working career. Then, I got into politics and spent 12 years as the property appraiser for Duval County. I knew Jim Linn personally and decided to join his brokerage. I have an advantage from my years as a property appraiser because I can recognize value, and I know where to look for accurate comparisons.
Hobbies: I’m a long-time scout leader, and was a committee chair for a scout troop. Backpacking is a hobby of mine. It’s just you and what you have on your back. I go a couple of weeks of every year, sometimes alone and sometimes with a scout troop. I’ve hiked a good chunk of the Appalachian Trail by myself. I also golf and sail.
Bucket list: I want to sail around the world, build a plane – like a Sportsman and fly out west in it – and I also want to break 80 in golf.
Aha moment: When I was a junior in high school, I went on the Lion’s Club International Youth Club trip where we toured Lion’s Clubs around the Southeast. Half of the attendees were from Europe and South America. It dawned on me that we’re all alike. We may speak a different language or have different cultures and customs, but deep down, we have the same aspirations. We all want to find a mate, have a family, economic security and shelter.
Note: Reprinted with permission, this article originally appeared in LORE magazine, a REAL Trends publication.