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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hobby #7 - Flying

Now back to my hobbies. I started flying back in 2003 and logged about 25 hours that year. However, I had a setback that cost me some time which was a kidney stone that forced me to not get my FAA Airman's Medical certificate. (no solo flying training) I ended up having to wait to get doctor's sign-off over a year later to continue my flight training. I logged only a few hours in 2004 due my hectic work schedule, but I was determined to continue towards my goal. After my divorce, I pressed myself strongly towards finding things that we not negative, but based on things that would clear my mind and allow me a chance to really enjoy life. In 2005, I logged the remainder of my hours and quietly got my Checkride completed. It was a quiet time in my life when I had little other going on but work and just living...getting to know myself again, so it was a good time to practice on something fun.

I went through 6 instructors during that time, 3 flight schools & 6 different airplanes. I started in a 1960 Cessna 150 which was about like flying in a cockpit the size of a 20 gallon fish tank. At 6'3", 210 it made for some rather interesting days in the saddle --- When calculating the basic weight & balance loads, it was extremely tricky with such a small plane! I only flew 2 flights in this plane and while the 150 was economic for rentals, it was just too small. I then moved up to the Cessna 172 which has the dubious honor of being quite simply the most produced aircraft ever invented in the history of the world. I enjoyed the extra power, payload and roominess of this aircraft. Even with the multitudes of units out there and still running strong, Cessna planes are a unique breed of aircraft, an iconic tribute to preliminary aviation training.

Piper Warrior - Flight Training Aircraft

After getting used to the Cessna aircraft, I moved on to a few different Piper models, including my old standby --- 1978 PA-28-161 (Piper Warrior III) --- which I relied on for the majority of my later training and experience. Going through instructors was an interesting experience. The variety and range of experiences are truly overwhelming. Each instructors has his or her own style, method of teaching, method of instruction, method of correction and method of living. Ranging from obsessive, psychotic, argumentative, or arrogant to approachable, humble and even introverted...the entire gambit of flight training can be found...if you look hard far enough and go through enough instructors!

The cost of flying makes it a rich man's sport, no doubt. To this day, I cannot even fathom nor justify the expense of even the cheapest and oldest Cessna plane out there. They are expensive to own, insure, maintain & fly....simple as that. I love flying, so I keep my skills alive and well by practicing on Flight Simulator X with a full gambit of accurate flight instruments, controls and gear. The flight models are extremely accurate, responsive & much cheaper than doing it the real world. :)
* (I do have to take a BFR - biannual flight review in 2009 to stay current)

Nearly all of my FT was done at KHDC - Hammond

Perhaps one day, I will get back to flying & even get my own small plane. For now, I am content to know that I have known that I reached a very important and fun goal in my life. A goal that I haven't share with too many people in or outside of my family simply because it was just a personal goal...

But heck it is one of my hobbies...and so it is here on my personal blog! :)

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