Have You Ever Flown a Plane by Yourself?


Well you totally should!

In keeping with yesterday’s theme, I am in the middle of training to get my private pilot certificate, and yesterday I took the plane up by myself for the very first time. It was just an incredible feeling.

I started training about 10 years ago, but it got way too expensive for my life at the time so I stopped. I got a little more training from the Air Force, but I’m a navigator not a pilot so it was limited. When I started back up about a month ago, I was really struggling with landing smoothly, and landings are kind of important when you are flying a plane. So I had been a little anxious about going up by myself with no one to save me if I dick it up.

Fortunately, my landings had been much better my last couple of flights so I was feeling pretty confident when my instructor climbed out and I was all but myself, about to do something I had dreamt of doing since I was a little kid. I will spare you all of the details, which you can find later on my aviation blog, aviationguy.com, but I will tell you it was the most liberating, free feeling I may have ever had in my life.

Flying is already something that I find incredibly peaceful and enjoyable being up in the sky overlooking everything and getting a view that so few people will ever experience. However, being the one at the controls and feeling the plane cut through the air at my command is truly an indescribable feeling. That may seem a little like I just don’t want to go to in descriptive detail, but I honestly don’t have adequate words to describe it.

While flying is my thing, you can feel the same way about whatever your thing is, just go and do it. Life is meant to be experienced and enjoyed not just sitting behind a desk through school and then at a job for 40 years. If you can’t get out and get your heart racing, or get so excited that you just yell, which is what I did after flying by myself yesterday, then you are missing out on this great adventure called living. Money is only a thing that will never bring you happiness, and while it is necessary to have some in order to fill your needs, it is the experiences of life which truly bring us the most joy and fulfillment.

So whether your thing is flying, hiking, or even home decorating, stop wishing you were doing it, and go freaking do it. You will never regret persistently pursuing your dreams.


Why Don’t We Spend More Time Doing What We Love?

Yesterday was just an all around fantastic day, and today and tomorrow should be for the same reason. I not only got to fly my beloved C-130 for work through some incredible mountain valleys, I also got to fly in a small plane as I work on my private pilot certificate.

It is something I have wanted to do since I was a little kid, and even started about ten years ago, but it just got too expensive at the time. It is even more expensive now, but I just could not wait any longer. So I jumped in head first, and have had more fun up in the air then I can remember having anywhere in quite some time.

All told I spent about 4.5 hours flying yesterday and loved every minute of it. I just can’t figure out why I didn’t start this sooner, and why we as a people don’t spend more time doing the things that bring us the most joy?

I know that my excuses were that I didn’t have the time or money to do it, but that is all they were, excuses. My financial position and time commitments have not changed recently, but my enjoyment level has because I stopped making excuses and just went for it.

My question to you all is what is one thing that you absolutely love doing that you wish you could do more of, and what is keeping you from doing it?

Sometimes even just thinking very specifically about those two questions is enough to help you find a way to do it more often.

It may require sacrifice like less sleep or no more Starbucks for awhile, but in the grand scheme of things those will be minor sacrifices compared to the enrichment you will experience in your life.

So take a minute to honestly assess where you could be happier, and then get to work making it a reality. The only person stopping you from being happier is you, so get out of your own way and make it happen.

Hello Again Beautiful

As excited as I was that I was going to fly today, I am at least doubly excited that I actually did fly today.  I was so afraid something was going to keep me from actually getting up in the air.  

The flight was pretty simple and standard, but it was a great way to get my legs under me.  It was also good to have a flight to remember all of the differences in this plane.  

We fly a newer version of the C-130H here in Reno.  I have flown it before, but there are a few little differences that I needed to be reminded on.  Overall it was a pretty decent flight, and I am so unbelievably thrilled to have gotten to fly.

I am actually a little worried that I won’t be able to get to sleep, and I really need to because I have a PT test in the morning.

I Get to Fly Again!

So maybe this is a day early, but I just couldn’t wait to scream it from the rooftops, or type it on a blog.  After a month and a half if waiting for paperwork, and about three months of being grounded, I finally get to fly again tomorrow.

I am so happy I really can’t contain myself, and at the same time I really just want to type, “I’m so excited!” over and over again.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few nerves because you definitely regress when you are out of the plane that long, but I am just thrilled to get spun back up again.  

I think the hardest thing about the waiting is that I did everything I could and was just waiting on someone else to do their part.  Honestly though, now that I get to fly again I really don’t care.  

Tomorrow I will be back in the air where I belong.

I’m Happy Just Being Around Planes

The last two days I have been able to go out to the dropzone and help out on the ground supporting our planes that were flying.  It is not glamorous work, nor is it particularly difficult work, but it involves planes so I am in.

You actually spend a lot of time just sitting there waiting for the planes to come but when they do it is so much fun to see the action happen.

I need stuff like this to keep my spirits up while I wait to be able to fly.  With that being said, it is hard to be down when you spend the day outside under a bluebird sky, and not at a desk.

Safety When I Fly

In the modern world, flying is so darn safe that we honestly take it for granted.  I could look up specific numbers about exactly how safe it is but that is not my purpose here today.

As someone who flies for a living, I have a vested interest in ensuring that flying is safe, which it largely is.  Airlines fly millions of passengers everyday with only rare situations of dramatic safety issues.  The safety of military flying is even that much higher, despite our increased risk, because of all the extra time we put into safety.

So what does any of this have to do with being grateful?  I guess the fact that I fly all the time and arrive back home to my family safely is what I am truly grateful for.

I recently had a flight where we landed with eight different write-ups for maintenance to take care of.  As much as I hate leaving them that much work, it is a credit to their continued diligence that not a single one of those things was so vital that we weren’t able to finish our mission.

Stuff is going to break on a forty year old plane, that’s just the way it is.  However, the strict standards that we adhere to in maintenance and mission planning and preparation of everyone involved, ensure that I continue to make it home safely at night.

Earlier today I had a discussion on Twitter about what to tell your kids as they get older and start to realize how dangerous your job can be flying.  I guess I won’t know the results of my efforts until my kids get older, but I am always honest with them about how much time and preparation we put into what we do.  That it is still dangerous, but we mitigate those risks through our efforts.

That seems to be enough to placate them now, but I know my safety standards will never change so I hope they will understand all I am doing to make sure I am safe.

Safety is one of those things I think we take for granted, until an accident happens, but like many other aviators I know personally, I will always be grateful for my safety when flying, and I will forever remain diligent to ensure I remain that safe.

What are you grateful for?