“Life comes at you hard.” Says the commercial for a product I don’t remember, and indeed it does. After much internal debate and after discussing it with The Lovely Wife, I have decided that I will no longer continue to exercise my privileges as a certified private pilot. The simple fact is that it has become to expensive in both money and time, and the amount of flying I was able to do was not enough to keep me safe. My last flight really brought this home to me, as I could feel the degradation of my skills. I let the aircraft get ahead of me several times, and even when I was ahead of the aircraft, I was not nearly as proficient as I was after I got my license. I received my Private-SEL in the summer of 2000, and since then have not even doubled my hours. I stay current, but that will never make me a better pilot. There is one caveat to this decision in that I have to stay current long enough to give Cyrus his first airplane ride after his first birthday. The Lovely Wife made me promise that.
I still love to fly. I love the idea of it. I love the act of pushing the throttle forward and feeling the wheels leave the ground. I love…LOVE… the feeling of entering the pattern and making a squeaker landing, even if no one sees it. Flying has been the culmination of a lifetime of looking up. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to fly, and I will always have that tiny empty feeling in the pit of my stomach when ever I look up and see a Cessna or a Piper winging its way to some destination over the horizon.
But first things do indeed come first. I would dearly like my son to go to college and I would very much like to be in a position to help him do so. There are fixes that need to be made to the house and bills to be paid. There are a myriad of small things that take up time and money and I am in increasingly short supply of both. I still plan to take pictures of airplanes, and I still plan to bum rides out of whoever I can talk into letting me climb into their cockpit, but for the foreseeable future all my flying will have to be in Flight Simulator. Thanks to the folks that have tagged along with me, and thanks to the folks that have read this blog up till now. I’ll still be here, just with out so much of the flying bit. I hope you stick around.
Note: I’ve had this post fermenting on the server for several days. As hard as the decision was, it seems that making it public is somewhat harder. Failure is never a pretty thing to admit, to oneself or in public.