The world looks different from the pilot’s seat of a small airplane, and it takes a while to understand how to translate this new perspective into a recognizable landscape. It’s like stepping into another universe and learning an alien language with new rules and a new culture. Nothing invigorates me more than learning about something new.
Ever since I was a boy, I have been fascinated by flight. My parents encouraged this interest by giving me flight simulator software. I sat for hours in front of my computer, flying virtual passengers around the world. I joined the Air Force with the dream to fly for the military for a few years before becoming an airline pilot. When my imperfect eyes kept me from qualifying for military flight, I thought my dream was lost.
Then two years ago, with the encouragement of my wife, I started taking flight lessons. Just last June, I earned my pilot's license at last. Now I fly as often as I can, all around New England, sightseeing and taking short day trips to see interesting towns. Recently I achieved my complex aircraft endorsement, which allows me to fly a wider array of aircraft.
Flying involves a great deal of concentration. I need to take into account the weather, the airplane itself and a lot of regulations that keep flights orderly for all of the airplanes in the sky. In learning to manage all of these details, I also learned a lot about myself. I now have a new dream: a possible career change to the aviation industry. To that end, I have already begun working towards my next rating. I also joined the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), a group that advocates for general aviation pilots like myself, as well as for commercial pilots, as I aspire to be. AOPA is a larger non-profit, so it is interesting to see how they handle member communication and cater to the needs of their membership. I’m looking forward to bringing this knowledge to the table as International Director.