I’m a Pilot
Passed my Checkride

I’m a Pilot.

Since I was five years old I have wanted to say that. It’s not the longest-held dream I’ve had, but it’s damn close. It took me (mumble) years to get here, but I am now the very proud holder of a private pilot’s certificate.

It took much longer to get here than I had hoped. Much of my adolescence was directed towards becoming a pilot. I joined the Civil Air Patrol. I toured Embry-Riddle when I lived in Daytona. Once I knew I would never be able to afford that I applied to the military academies. After getting rejected from the Air Force and Naval academies I decided to work my way in through OCS. Then all hell broke loose, and after two spells of being homeless, carless, jobless and broke I found myself pretty far from having the means to learn how to fly.

Life went on with its ups and downs. Every airplane in the sky caught my attention and reminded me of a dream deferred. About a year and a half ago I started to think that flight school might actually be a possibility. When I mentioned it to Sue, she was all for it. Bit by bit I worked at it. Medical certificate, negotiating the ability to shift my work schedule, student certificate, written exam, solo flight, flight requirements. One by one I crossed every requirement off of my list. On March 26th I took my checkride, which is a combined oral examination and practical exam that took me five hours to complete. At the end of it, I was a pilot.

I was able to close 160(!) browser tabs I’d had open for studying.

It’s still hard to wrap my head around. I walk out to an airplane and I expect someone to come out and stop me because I am an imposter. There’s a part of me that still feels that flying a plane is something distant and unachievable. Then I sit down in one and do it.

This last Saturday I was able to take Sue for her first flight. It got a bit bumpy but she was fine with it and enjoyed the flight. Passing my checkride and getting my certificate was a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. Taking Sue up was my reward. Without her support I wouldn’t be a pilot now. Being able to take her up in a plane that I was flying and show her all that I learned was a real treat. Well, not ALL that I learned. I’m not going to subject someone to stalls or steep turns on their first flight.

The other thing that’s hard to wrap my head around is the fact that Sue was right there with me and encouraged me every step of the way. It’s not at all surprising, because that’s who she is. I’m just not used to having someone in my life who offers encouragement. I’m incredibly grateful.

I hope we have many years of calm winds and fair skies ahead of us.

First Flight
Posted in Uncategorized