on flying

Wanting to fly is a common wish and dream many children have.  I don’t really think it goes away in adulthood but I do think adulthood has a way of muting wishes.

No one really stops us from fulfilling our wishes except ourselves.  With that in mind, I decided I’d become a private pilot.

In the short-term to a) push my boundaries b) hunt out unrelated life connections and c) determine whether the dream involves a door I need to open now, or, be prepared to open later. In any case, a dream that resides in your heart or mind should be examined, especially if it has been there since childhood.  It is often difficult to discern whether it was placed there by God; so, you must seek, to know.

In the long-term, to make my children witnesses, to set a living example to encourage them to follow their dreams, however unorthodox or ‘untimely’ doing so might seem, and, to someday provide an avenue to travel with family and friends at a different level of freedom and at less cost than via commercial flying.

So, MJ is my instructor.  I picked him because he comes from a family of pilots, has breathed flying since a kid, is easily 15 years younger than me and is a highly competitive stunt and race pilot.  He’s done pretty well in the air races and I’m hoping to eventually convince him to take me up in a Van’s RV-7 and spin me around at 200 miles an hour. It would pretty darn cool to build one too.  Anyways, this is the guy I think will do just fine in a free fall situation. I suppose that flying is a novelty for some and just like that first visit to the gym, instructors and trainers are used to folks coming in to test drive never to return.

For me, it did not matter the test drive because I had the end goals envisioned so knew I would stick with this no matter the challenge(s), or so I thought.  MJ was definitely not so sure.

Session #1 was all about the joy of flying. It was everything I thought it might be and I’ll add a placeholder here since it may have been more. All that was missing was music.

Session #2 was all about the plane. I am safely reassured that I know absolutely nothing even though I had read and studied quite a bit up to now.  MJ did a funny thing on this flight.  He discussed stalls and when I asked a question, instead of explaining, he stalled the plane. Engine off, propellers unmoving, a slow descent and silence.  He looked at me without saying a word. My immediate thought was, “Ah, he’s stereotyping. Am I supposed to cry now?” and I returned his look without saying a word. A very long twenty seconds passed in that odd,  silent shit-testing stare-down space and he broke the silence by asking, “How are you doing?” to which I responded, “Fine. Now what?” He turned the engine back on, propellers came back to life and we began to ascend once more.  He explained that he never does a stall on a 2nd flight but thought I could handle it.  Right.  I’m sure I have ‘2nd flight stall material’ clearly written on my forehead, right next to ‘stupid’. Kids.

I get it though.  Keeping calm under pressure should be a prerequisite.  I’ve got that in spades.

Session #3 was time to let me checklist; change the oil, tower duty, map, etc. etc.  I was wearing a dress and boots with 3 inch heels (long story) and while changing the oil hit my head on the wing and after running some tests from the inside of the plane I sort of fell out while gracefully missing a step. I thought, “Yup, that’s gonna hurt later”. As he observed me checklist, jumping in only to correct or explain something, I could see he found me generally amusing because he was doing all he could not to break out into a full belly laugh.

Several more training sessions and flight lessons in and reality slaps me in the face to prompt mama to place a bookmark in this chapter in order to direct energy to slaying dragons on the other side.

So here we are.  One more tally to add in my chapter of things started and not finished. I’m curious to see what my kids will take from this.

What am I grateful for?

  • Having a true frame of reference for ‘The Sky Is The Limit’.
  • Having a bucket list in a bulleted checklist format.  Partial bucket attempts count.
  • Training by those younger than me to keep me humble.
  • Ideas for better gadgets to check oil.  It could happen.
  • Bookmarks. I didn’t do this long enough to gain cell memory. When I reopen this chapter, I’ll need to start from scratch and the bookmark will encourage me.
  • The seat belt policy.  For reminding me that the redundancy of idiocy leaves open doors of potential global improvement everywhere, especially in things often taken for granted.


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