Another expensive hobby! Life is too short not to pursue it.

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Forum topic by bunkie posted 03-31-2013 10:25 PM 1429 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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412 posts in 3116 days

03-31-2013 10:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: flying airplanes

I kind of fell into woodworking. I got here out of necessity, that being the need to build rather than buy speaker cabinets for my hi-fi hobby that got started when I was 13. It’s been a great journey and has given me great satisfaction. I’ve learned to love furniture, working with tools and fixing my mistakes. It’s been a great confidence builder.

But then there’s the life-long bug, the one that just wouldn’t go away. My dad worked for the airline of my avatar. As a result, I’ve been around airplanes since I can remember. My dad would often take us to the hangar where he worked on Saturdays and one of my earliest memories is of being on the tarmac behind the propwash of a DC-7. My dad was trained as a chef and flew as a purser from 1946-1948. I think he actually disliked flying and when they offered him the job of running the flight kitchen, he took it and became a permanent US resident and, not long after, a citizen.

I, however, have always loved airplanes. I built models as a kid, and never missed a chance to read a book about airplanes (which explains why, at the age of 10, I was reading Catch-22 and Fail Safe as they had airplanes on the covers). I have always wanted to fly. It has burned in me for decades.

Well, circumstances have finally come together. My company laid me off, I got a small inheritance from my Godmother (bless her heart!) and I decided that it was worth taking a few weeks off from job-hunting to really pursue it. I’m now down in Florida doing an intensive program of flight training. I started on Tuesday and now have 27 hours in my log book and should be ready to solo this upcoming week as soon as I master doing landings.

It’s an incredible experience. I’ve always admired pilots. Now I’m a student and can see and feel the finish line, the day when I join that fraternity. I get to the field at 7AM and watch the sun come up as I pre-flight the little Cessna that I have come to know so well in just a few short days. I’m reading charts, talking on the radio, doing stalls, steep turns, navigating using VOR (radio beacons), filing flight plans and transitioning controlled airspace.

Yesterday morning, it was absolutely beautiful. We were flying low up the coast and it was just an exceptional experience. I was in control of the airplane, feeling confident in what I was doing, thinking ahead to the next steps and just really enjoying the experience.

Damn the expense. I’m lucky to be here at this moment creating memories and skills that I will always cherish. Per ardua, ad astra!

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

9 replies so far

View JollyGreen67's profile


1663 posts in 2732 days

#1 posted 04-01-2013 01:20 AM

Good luck in your new field Bunkie. I’m not a pilot, but have lots of flying hours while in the Air Force – loved it.
By the sound of previous experiences, you know what propwash is, unlike some of our newer generations. Come and “see” us on occasion.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4354 posts in 2378 days

#2 posted 04-01-2013 01:25 AM

My Father once told my Mother when he was on approach not to worry, the ground would catch them…. (Laughing)

Good luck in your newest endeavor.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3261 days

#3 posted 04-01-2013 01:35 AM

One of the most valuable things I got in my flight instruction was a variety of instructors. You’ll pick up more tips and wisdom that way. I would also strongly recommend learing aerobatics and how to handle a taildragger – both of those did wonders for my confidence. You can do both if you can find a Super Decathlon. Be warned, though – you’ll get hooked on tandem seating and a center stick.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View VinnieP's profile


141 posts in 3291 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 01:11 PM

Good luck! Just passed my private pilot checkride a couple weeks ago. Took my wife up yesterday for her first ride.

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3116 days

#5 posted 05-01-2013 09:02 PM

I spent about a week in Florida and logged a total of about 22 hours before I had to head back to NYC to continue the job hunt. About two weeks ago I got an offer and decided to accept it. Since I had some time, I immediately arranged to go back to Florida and get in as much flight training as possible. I’ve been here since last Wednesday and have been having a great time.

Today was a great day. I soloed! Last week, I switched from a Cessna 172 to a Cessna 152 so that I could master landings. The smaller Cessna barely fit me, but has become may favorite of the three aircraft I’ve flown (C172, Piper Warrior and the 152). It’s very forgiving, if a bit underpowered at full gross weight. The only real issue is that during climbing turns, it takes a little forward pressure on the elevator to maintain Vy (best rate of climb, 70 knots).

The weather here in Florida is turning somewhat tropical, so we stayed local to the airport (which is tower-controlled) and used a parallel runway (KFPR has a 10L and 10R runway) to shoot some landings. After the fourth landing, my instructor told me that the next one would be solo as the rainclouds were gathering and he really wanted me to solo today. So I let him out and taxied up to the hold line. I called the tower for takeoff clearance and off I went. Without my CFI on board, the 152 rotated smartly and climbed sharply. I entered the landing pattern, called the tower to report downwind, got my landing clearance and did one of the best approaches yet. It was close to my best landing. I picked up my CFI, he gave me a firm congratulatory handshake and we got clearance, took off from the parallel runway (which has no taxiway back to the main part of the airport), entered the pattern for 10R and landed.

We took some pictures of me with the airplane and headed back into the FBO building to complete an aviation tradition. After completing their first solo, the student has the back of his/her shirt cut away. No one knows for sure where this came from, but one explanation is that old biplane training aircraft had the student sitting in front and had no headsets and intercoms, so the instructor would tug on the student’s shirt to get their attention. The cutting thereof symbolizes the student’s ability to fly without the instructor’s need to correct the student.

It’s an amazing feeling. On the one hand, it was routine. It was a takeoff and landing like any one of the 30 or 40 I had done before. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any apprehension, I certainly felt that as soon as I knew that the time had come. But that melted away as I simply performed what I had been trained to do: execute the procedures thoroughly and precisely. At the same time, a small part of me was filled with this indescribable joy, I was flying, living a dream that I’ve had for over 50 years.

I head back to NYC tomorrow evening after some zero-dark-thirty night flight training. That should be very interesting…

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View VinnieP's profile


141 posts in 3291 days

#6 posted 05-02-2013 02:05 PM

Congrats on the solo! I’ll never forget mine. Night flying isn’t everyone’s favorite, but it is mine. The first take off into the night is like leaping into the unknown.

All of my training was in a Cessna 150 so I know exactly what you mean by under powered. They are still fun to fly though.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about training and what not. I know there are other pilots on here as well.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2883 days

#7 posted 05-02-2013 02:52 PM

I know the feeling! 8-)
Glad to see you enjoying it as well! Have fun!

Way back in 1988 or ‘89, in my younger days…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3116 days

#8 posted 02-27-2015 06:14 PM

Hi Guys, I just wanted to post an update. I finally earned my license back in October of 2014. These days I’m flying out of KMPO in Mount Pocono, PA as a member of a flying club flying the mighty Cessna 150!

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1200 days

#9 posted 02-27-2015 06:41 PM

Fail safe. Great book.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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