What drove each of you to learn to fly?

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I myself am just starting to think about ground school, and I began
to wonder what drives most people to learn to fly. What do you all
feel is the biggest challenge to learning to fly? Any helpful advice
will be welcomed. I am also trying to get my wife intrested how
should I peek her intrest in flying?

-- Onttu Lindeman, January 8, 2009


I like all the hands-on interaction, the fact that no two flights are *ever* the same, and the general challenge of making flying look easy to people who don't do it regularly. I know the ego sounds a bit inflated, but I think you'll understand what I'm saying right around the time you solo. At that time you'll be filled with a variety of feelings (freedom, excitement, terror, confidence, etc.) and you'll realize that you still have a little further to go. You may just get addicted though and find it's a real hoot.

I have some pretty extreme thoughts on flying and its narcotic effect on those who do it, but I'll keep that pretty much to myself. :-)

Also, unless your wife has her own desire to fly, please don't push her into flying. I've found that those who don't have some inner desire to learn to fly will never really do it well. And they probably shouldn't do it at all. For what it's worth, that's my very subjective opinion. I'm sure there will be others.

And I apologize, I'm a bit of a nutjob, the word you should have used instead of "peek" was "pique".

And on a sidenote, look up this book: "Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot". It's great for anyone interested in learning to fly, not just the pros. The author's site is www.aviation-press.com, but you can find it just about anywhere nowadays. Disclaimer: I had a small hand in that book, but I get no kickbacks from endorsing it. It's a stupendous book.

-- Jason Hackney, January 8, 2009

My interest was a passing curiosity to see if I had the intelligence and coordination to become a pilot. After I easily got my license, I then put the pencil to paper to see if aircraft ownership would save me money over flying the airlines. Even after learning how much more aircraft ownership would cost, I took the plunge and bought a Beech Debonair. After 10 years and 1,500 hours of flying, now my fascination is with instrument flying and the cool stuff you can put in your panel--XM weather, WAAS GPS, TIS traffic, terrain awareness, EFB charts, solid-state AHRS and EHSI, engine-monitoring and a vintage vacuum-driven autopilot.

Although I was never interested in becoming a professional pilot (I'm a software developer by trade), if the economy were better I would love to purchase one of Philip's VLJs he has for sale and fly for a living.

My wife would also like to learn how to fly in case I were to stroke out on a family flight. I suppose this is a reason why the Cirrus has been so popular with non-flying spouses--the false sense that the aircraft parachute will save you. I'd rather my wife learn how to fly.

-- Don Shade, January 8, 2009

Fascinating� I�m at the other end of the scale, still working to get a license. For me it is a near perfect combination of characteristics. First I find the flying gives me a Zen like mental relaxation: when I�m at the controls I am totally focused in the moment, and not on anything else. The level of focus is bizarrely relaxing. Second, public transportation sucks. It is great to be able to have a pro (like Phil) fly you in a plane to work related stuff if there is ANY stress or risk from weather etc., but in any flight under two hours the small plane is quicker and better. Third, it is stunningly beautiful. Don�t tell Phil, but some times when I�m looking out the window it has nothing to do with flying, but rather admiring the view. I�m not the most artistic type in the world, but there are times when the view is stunning, from small towns rolling under your wings in the mid-west, to the carpet of fall colors in the east it is consistently amazing.

-- fabio savoldelli, January 9, 2009