The hell with it, let’s go flying

Flying is within our grasp. We have naught to do but take it. ~Charles Duryea

My aviation pursuits have taken substantial damage of late. I’m on fire, my airframe is failing, and the ground is rising and twisting to smack me out of the air for good.

Time to bail out and start from scratch.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29S (9-13S), Russia - Air Force AN0196348
BAIL OUT!


My flying budget was eviscerated by my student loans. To add insult to injury mysterious hiring policy changes at the FAA effectively killed my career prospects in air traffic control. I’m right back where I started, only now I’m yoked to the bank until I die.

But all is not lost. It’s just time for a change of strategy. I think it’s time to stop fighting it so hard and just roll with the resources I have. I have some amazingly supportive family and friends. I have a career that can pay the bills and I have a deep seated love of flight. These are all good things. With some good thinking and good luck, I can rearrange my life so that I can afford to fly a few times a month. I think that would be far more beneficial for me than banging my head against the career wall indefinitely.

It’s time to pursue a life free of ambition and the chains that it brings. It’s time to relax, surround myself with good people, and go flying when I can. I may not be able to make a living with it, but maybe that’s for the best. I can enjoy it for what it is and not feel the stress that flying for a living brings. I can let work be work and play be play and improve my quality of life all around.

The plane of my ambitions may be on fire and screeching to a rude meeting with terra firma. But I will survive. As long as this parachute doesn’t fail I’ll live to fly again another day.

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Ground-Bound Flying

As I intimated in my earlier post, changes to my monetary situation mean I probably won’t be flying a real airplane for quite some time. I’m not happy about it, but until things improve there are other ways to stay sharp.

Reading

I read voraciously, and a large part of my reading diet consists of airplane books: Stick and Rudder, The Proficient Pilot, IFR ground-school books, and my old human-factors and aviation textbooks from ATC school all help me keep my head in the airplane game. And a little Bach or Ganz in the mix helps me smile.

Socializing

Talking to other pilots is always a good way to stay sharp because pilots love to argue. As the joke goes, ask four pilots a question and you’ll get five answers…pilots are very intelligent and very opinionated people.

Most of my pilot-to-pilot communication occurs on Twitter. This might sound silly but there are some awesome people on Twitter, and a ton of pilots who love to talk aviation. I do need to branch out more and begin attending local EAA meetings or hanging out at the airport.

Finally, a great way to stay sharp is…

Flight Simulator

I know it sounds dorky, but I have empirical evidence that it works. When I was training for my ASEL I supplemented my training with Microsoft Flight Simulator and felt it to be very helpful in cementing my flying lessons. It’s not the same as flying a real airplane by any means, but it’s a great way to practice IFR maneuvers, instrument scans, and cross-country flying. Recently I’ve switched from FSX to X-Plane 10, and I have to say that X-Plane 10 is pretty rad. Good scenery, great airplanes, and better flight dynamics than FSX make it a superior simulator in my opinion. I also have a desktop that runs Linux, on which I may install FlightGear, an open-source simulator.

Flying my desk is certainly no substitute for real flying, but it might keep me from getting too rusty while I get myself back on track. Plus it’s fun.

It's no substitute for real flying, but X-plane is still pretty cool. Plus you can fly neat planes like the MS760.

It’s no substitute for real flying, but X-plane is still pretty cool. Plus you can fly neat planes like the MS760.

It pains me to think that it could be years before I’m back in the left seat. But being grounded is only a physical limitation. I’ve been grounded before and I’ve always clawed my way back into the sky. My love for flight will stay alive through thick and thin…we’re just going through the thick right now.

 

Aviation Photo & Humor! …the approach misses me.

I’m so awesome that when I go-around…the approach misses me.

I crack myself up. To make up for my terrible joke here’s a shot taken by my uncle while we were landing at KSPG in St. Petersburg, FL.

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If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop by SPG. Cool little airport with a restaurant on the field (get the chicken & waffles. I promise they’re amazing.) and a lot of other food options nearby. Also, There’s a modern art museum and a pier within walking distance, not to mention a lovely waterfront stroll. Flying in Illinois is fun, but Florida definitely had some more scenic destinations.

Happy thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. We who live in the United States have a lot to be grateful for. Having lived briefly in another country, I can tell you firsthand that we have so much more than we even realize. We are truly fortunate.

Among my many blessings, I am intensely grateful for the freedom to fly. America has a very good aerospace system, and offers the pilot many more options to achieve personal flight than most other countries. Learning to fly here can cost a fraction of what it costs in other nations, and we have the freedom to move more or less at will through the national airspace. 

Be thankful for what you’ve got, and especially thankful for the freedom of flight. 

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Have a happy thanksgiving!