At some point in our lives, most of us probably have the chance to do something remarkable. Of course, decisions will have to be made. Sacrifices may be required. Primary training may make us queasy. Instrument training may give us a headache. The stock market may rise or fall. But if we persevere, like the woodpecker and the cat, we may very well get what we want.
There is an almost universally accepted belief that our world is over-developed. It’s excessively crowded. Steel and glass and concrete surround us everywhere we go. We’re hemmed in by our own construction projects. Cramped and confined to areas with heavy traffic, ceaseless noise, and crowds of strangers. Asphalt pathways lead us deeper into the chasm of our communities, yet make it nearly impossible for us to find our way out. Balderdash. Absolute rubbish. If perception is reality, then a realignment of our perceptions is in order.
This quiet interval takes me back to memories of my old friend, now gone, Hiram Mann. It makes me think of a place where he faced significant hardship, but came to experience profound pride.
There is a place for high speed rail in this world. But in a nation the size of the US, with a population as affluent and mobile as ours is, air travel is a far, far more productive bet. Whether commercially or personally, it’s just a better deal all around. Let’s support it and believe in it, accordingly.
Our cooling temperatures present us with a great gift. This is a perfect time to accomplish time-consuming tasks we don’t want to undergo during the height of the spring and summer flying seasons. Painting, upholstery work, engine rebuilds, avionics upgrades and such can all put an otherwise perfectly functional airplane on the ground for weeks, or longer. In June that lost time can be a major point of frustration. In January, not so much.
Everyone who flirts with the aeronautical arts and sciences gets a crash course in financial management, whether they want it or not. Bottom line: It takes money to fly. But make no mistake, every one of us has the capacity to earn, save, and spend the requisite amount to achieve our dreams of flight.
CFIs often act as if they aren’t teaching if they aren’t talking. A more productive course of action might be to put greater emphasis on the pre-flight brief and the post-flight debrief. In between, allow the student the space to absorb the situation, analyze their own performance, and fix their own problems.
It’s a great flight. My first from the left seat in this particular airplane. There will be many more in the years to come. But I will remember on each flight, in any aircraft, no matter how much instrumentation is available or unavailable to me, keep the distractions to a minimum, enjoy the ride, and always remember to fly the airplane.
It takes dollars to fly. As daunting as the costs may be, those dollars aren’t locked away in a secret vault, hidden from public view, reserved for only the wealthy few. They’re flowing through our wallets and checking accounts on a regular basis. Our challenge is to get focused enough to direct a portion of those dollars to the goal we most sincerely want to achieve.
Make no mistake about it, there is a Good Ol’ Boys Club in your town. They’re in every town. But the door is open and the opportunity to participate as a member exists. All any of us has to do is lend a helping hand on projects that matter to us, and we’re in.