If I have a few free minutes in the evenings or on weekends, there’s a 90% chance I’ll spend it watching aviation videos on YouTube. I don’t think my “Watch Later” list has dipped below 100 videos in years; as soon as I watch some and whittle down the list, I find more. The videos can be informational, educational, or …
Friends and family keeping asking me: “What will you do next as a private pilot?”. Well, here’s what I want to tell them
The number one reaction from friends and family, upon hearing about my new private pilot license, was some variation of this:
70.6 Hours. 47 Flights. 2 years, 3 months, 19 days. Dozens of books read. Hundreds of podcasts listened to and YouTube videos watched. Thousands of hours spent studying, thinking, dreaming, planning. Years of an obsession that only some understood. On August 3, 2017, I took to the sky a certificated student pilot. I landed a certificated private pilot. It is …
16 months. 16 months since my last time at the controls of an airplane. 16 excruciating months of waiting, wishing, hoping, dreaming. 16 months of reading, studying, watching, tweeting, sharing, and discussing anything and everything aviation. 16 months, and it all came down to Thursday. And everything was different. Different flight school, different instructor, and different airplane. VERY different airplane. …
I knew my acronym for spin recovery: PARE. Power – off, Ailerons – Neutral, Rudder – Opposite to the spin, Elevator – Forward. Did that pop into my mind when the airplane started to spin? Absolutely not. The only thing that would have burned those actions, not just the words, but the actions into my brain would be experience. So, spin training is definitely on my short list of things to get done once I get back into the air.
I wouldn’t say I was cocky. But, the thing about being cocky is that you don’t know you’re cocky. I was nervous, I know that much. It was my mock checkride, my instructor was going to pretend to be the pilot examiner, and we were going to figure out if I was ready to take my final exam: the private pilot checkride.
17:27, Friday, Republic Airport
The wind thumbs its nose at gravity, and lifts the Cessna 152 off of Runway 19. Like an old man collapsing into his chair after work, the wheels rattle and vibrate in crescendo until they come to an abrupt stop, ready for their well-deserved rest. For two hours today, their burden will be relieved. We are on our way to Connecticut.
The sun had gone down, the moon was up, the ground was aglow, and we were on our way. Slipping quietly over ponds and lakes, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the reflected moonlight streaking across the water. A shimmering flash, like an enormous fish shaking his tail in salute. We crept further away into the darkness, away from the glowing dome of the city, feeling like we had escaped from some tedious responsibility.