The Things We Do For Flying

Senior Editor Bill Cox endured frostbite in minus 40 degree temperatures in
Alaska, but he got to fly in a Northrop F89D Scorpion. Software entrepreneur
John McAfee drove 17,000 miles to scout suitable routes for aerotrekking.
Stu Horn traded a successful real estate career for Aviat Aircraft. What
adventures, large or small, have brought you closer to your aviation dream?


M Lee said...

As a senior in high school, I was constantly getting detention and was threatened with suspension for cutting classes. The ironic thing is that I wasn't doing drugs or sleeping off a hangover. I was ditching school to hang out at the airport! I had good grades anyway so I figured I'd take some time to hang out with pilots and airplanes- my true passion. I almost didn't graduate because I'd missed almost a full month of school!

I rode my bike the 25 miles each way to get there. I learned more about flying in that year than anything I would have learned in class. Though I wouldn't recommend this practice today, it was funny that I was cutting class to learn something useful. If my teachers only knew! I still graduated with honors but my parents were ready to send me to reform school.

M. Donner, PPASEL said...

I changed jobs a few years ago and decided to take up flying in order to regulate my time at work. I needed a diversion and I had always thought it would be cool to fly an airplane.

Now, after 3 years, it is ingrained in my life and I think always will be.

I have to keep myself away from the airport and airplane now to not spend so much money on it. The struggle now is to find something to do to keep me out of the airplane. If I'm not careful, I'll spend my last dime on Avgas.

Part of the attraction from the outset was the desire to stimulate my brain. Learning to fly involves studying and concentration, which, at mid-life after working in a career for years, is a thing of the distant past. The experience of learning new things, and having alot of fun at it has changed my life for the better.

It is difficult at best to communicate this to non-pilot friends and acquaintances. They just don't understand. I carry my pilot license proudly regardless if anyone besides me cares about it or not. I have achieved the ability to pilot an aircraft, and that's one of the greatest achievements I have ever accomplished.

I will fly airplanes until they tell me I can't.

Amelia said...

The year was 1976. My husband arrived home after a rewarding day as Everybody's Hero, having been told a dozen times what a wonderful, brilliant man he was, and how grateful his adoring patients were. All true, of course. Nurses rushed to do his bidding, and there were checks to deposit at the end of the day, positive proof of his worth.

First thing he heard on entering our back door was a very angry infant demanding her next feeding. Then he was tackled by a squealing non-stop 20-month-old. He peered around at what passed for housekeeping in that zoo, wondered when supper might be ready, and then asked how MY day had gone.

Um... I might have said something rude, because his next remark was, "You know, you're going to have to get out."

"You mean that? Right now?" I dried my hands, tossed the towel at him, and said, "You keep the kids!"

He hastily backtracked. "No, no! I mean you have to get yourself some free time, to go do something fun and adult-oriented."

Over dinner we tossed 'mommy's mental health' ideas back and forth, and he kept coming back to "Get a sitter. Sign up for flying lessons! You've always wanted to do that. Go do it-at your own pace."
"We cannot afford flying lessons," I pointed out, sensibly. "Dual instruction in a C-150's $27 an hour!"
The man with the last word shot back, "It's a bargain. You'd spend $50 an hour on a shrink!"

Looking back, I'm not sure we couldn't have put a psychiatrist on permanent retainer for a lot less than we've subsequently spent on keeping mama happy, but what a fine set of adventures it has been.

REM Flyer said...

I was just 9 when I realized what the pull in my soul was. I remember spending hours at my home airport just watching the planes come and go. One of my first jobs was washing airplanes for $30 each the summer that I turned 14. It only paid for a few hours of time, but it was the best money that I ever spent up to that time.
It used to drive my girlfriend, now my wife, crazy that I would have rather spent 4 hours watching airplanes than I would walking on the beach with her. To her credit, she has stuck by me in spite of my addiction.
For years I tried in vain to get my license and finally set my soul free, but it never seemed to be in the cards. When my son was born I put my dreams on hold to be a father and provider with no regrets. My children are in grade school now and things are lining up nicely. After nearly 25 years of paitently waiting, it appears that my dream might actually come true this year. We have been steadily putting money away for the lessons and I'm hoping to start when the kids go back to school in the fall.
A few weeks ago I took an intro flight with my 8 year old son. The look on his face when he realized that I was the one flying is something that I don't think I'll ever forget and it has strengthened my resolve. I am looking forward to finally spreading my wings, and working toward a carrier as an Instructor.

Anonymous said...

I had never really considered flying until one of my high school buddies sent the glamour photos back from USAF undergraduate pilot training. That sure looked like more fun than driving trucks for the Texas Army National Guard, which I was then doing.

I promptly showed up at the local Texas Air Guard squadron and told them I was ready to go to training. When the laughing subsided I learned that "you had to know somebody" to get one of these slots. Chagrined, I left and moved to Mississippi where I transitioned to driving amphibious trucks.

Then the unthinkable happened: the Air Guard squadron had a slot open up and surprisingly called this nobody's phone number. My brother was living in my old residence and he actually took down the number correctly and relayed the message. Luck or Divine Intervention? I vote for Intervention.

Uncle Sam then sponsored my flight training in 1974/1975. My time flying for The Man ended way too soon, but my affection for flying was just beginning.

I now fly around West Texas (200-300 hrs/yr) in our company's classic Cessna 310 to our varied construction job sites.

I try to tell non-pilots about the peace and freedom that private aviation provides, but its like I am speaking a different language. I'll bet everyone reading this understands.

Here's wishing you tail-winds and blue skys.