Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Weather Intervention

No flying this week. My scheduled first lesson yesterday was scrubbed due to the predictably unpredictable Pacific Northwest spring weather (don't like it? Wait ten minutes) that meant nobody but the big boys in their jet toys were leaving Boeing Field. Well, this is why I started doing the work now. Better weather will come with summer, and hopefully I can get my Private rating completed before fall brings the unpredictable rains and shorter days back.

The day wasn't a total loss though. I got to meet my instructor, an IT refugee who did a career change to flight instruction. I think we'll get along just fine. I also got books. A lot of big, thick books. One for the FAA regulations, three to study for tests, two plus a syllabus and a DVD for my actual groundschool, and the manual for a DA40. Good thing I'm comfortable with homeschooling, because there's going to be a lot of studying going on.

I also stumbled on a website selling a DA40 set of add-on aircraft for the version of Microsoft Flight Sim that I own! One of them even has the Garmin G1000 cockpit I'll be flying in. So my task for the rest of the week is to start hitting the books, get my desk cleared off to where I can use my sim setup again, and see if I can set up the G1000 equipped DA40 sim.

For those with wings, fly to your dreams

Friday, March 21, 2008

Introductory Flight

On Tuesday, March 18th, 2008, a second entry went in my logbook. At around 3pm local time, Keith, my instructor for the day, and I took off from Boeing Field in a Diamond DA40. Amid mostly sunny skies, we looked into Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners), turned west to fly over Bremerton, then headed back south-east to overfly SeaTac airport before returning back to Boeing Field.

It took me two days to stop smiling.

I was impressed (and very surprised) by the amount of flying Keith let me do. He handled all the power management, and was never far from taking control when necessary, but for the most part, he let me do the vast majority of stick and rudder work. It’ll be interesting to see how that compares to actual lessons.

The most valuable thing for me though, was that the whole thing just felt right. Sometimes you worry that when you’ve wanted to do something for so long, when you finally do it, reality fails to match your expectations. Not this. For me, getting off the ground and playing with the birds, even if only for a little while, felt good.

I’m really excited for my next lesson, happening next week, weather permitting. As a side note, this should guarantee at least one blog post a week, as I write about my training experiences. :)

For those with wings, fly to your dreams.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Logbook

I have a little black book. Not THAT kind of little black book, but a small pilot's logbook. It was purchased sometime in spring of 1992, a few weeks before my twelfth birthday. The first entry was made on my twelfth birthday, an hour of dual time in a Cherokee 140 with the pilot friend of my dad's. After that, the logbook went onto my shelf, looked at on occasion, but never added to.

When I went to college, moving across the country to the cradle of Naval aviation, Pensacola, Florida, the logbook went with me, on the off chance I got work at the airport or something. Twice yearly, the book was packed into a box, shipped cross country, taken out and placed on a shelf, then put back in the box and shipped back across the country. I did this for all four years of college, but never had opportunity to actually open and write in the book.

When I graduated college, and made my final cross-country drive, the logbook went back on a shelf while I tried to find a job. I got married, my wife and I moved into our first little apartment, and the logbook found another shelf. We bought our two-bedroom condo, and the logbook ended up on another shelf while we busied ourself with bringing two little children into the world.

And the logbook sat on a shelf, slowly gathering dust. Out of sight, but not entirely out of mind. Until one gray February afternoon last month, I walked out of a physician's clinic in Kirkland with a small, yellow piece of paper tucked into my jacket pocket. There were a bunch of words and phrases on the paper, but the ones that were important said this: "Medical Certificate 3rd Class and Student Pilot Certificate".

I was actually supposed to go up today for my first official lesson, and make my second entry in my little black book. Unfortunately, Seattle's temperamental March weather forced a rescheduling of that flight, but that entry will go in the book soon. And, Lord willing, it will be followed by many more.

Sometimes dreams take a little longer than we expect. But I'm reminded that sometimes, if you wait long enough, and have the courage to take a big risk and grasp at the opportunity when it's given, you really can fly to your dreams.