I've been dreaming of flying my entire life. As far back as I can remember I have had dreams about flying, in planes, on kites, on bikes, in cars, just by myself, my body in the wind. For years they terrified me a bit as most of them didn't end all that well, they ended with the realization that I didn't know how, which of course sends you careening to the ground like Wiley Coyote.
When I was a teenager I recall reading a book about controlling your dreams, essentially the art of consciously realizing that you were in a dream state and controlling that state to some extent. This new found enlightenment allowed me to fly without falling, it allowed me to hover off the ground and into the air where I could experience controlled flying anytime without fear. I flew through canyons over hills and through trees, one night I even flew across San Francisco Bay between the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. I still don't understand it really, how the mind can conjure up such things complete with 3 dimensional views from a vantage point I've never actually been at, but you learn to roll with it, you accept it. Now when I dream of flying, there's only a brief moment of apprehension which quickly turns to spectacular control over the mind, body and this dream state environment. These days I find myself not only welcoming those experiences, but often times attempting to create them.
Back in the mid 1970's my oldest brother Terry had his private pilot's license, and he took me flying a couple of times. I would have been maybe 16, he would have been 24. I remember thinking how incredible that was, what an accomplishment it was that he had become a pilot. On one occasion we flew to a lake and landed in a field. I can still remember it vividly, the feeling of coming down on the soft grass airstrip in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. What freedom that experience held...and then taking off across that same terrain and ascending into the beautiful unknown sky. I wanted to be there, where he was, in complete control of this incredible machine and the destiny it represented.
That was 36 years ago, I'm now 51 and have been working on my Private Pilots License and eventually hope to get seaplane, multi-engine and perhaps even my commercial endorsements.
I have kept a journal with an entry for each flight to date, and with some have included relative photographs and GPS tracking. Primarily for personal reasons, these journal entries help me to evaluate my progress, but they also provide something I can share with others, my instructors for example, friends, family and others who are interested in flying and want to learn more about it. I've found that it helps if I write down my experiences and adds some clarity to the experience. If you're a new student pilot, I would actually recommend that you make some notes about each flight, what it was like, what you learned, what you thought you did well and what you think you need more help with, and share them with your instructor(s) so they can keep up with your feelings about your progress.
Looking back on the journal I've been keeping it occurred to me that prospective flying students might be interested in reading what it's like to go through flight training. After all, when I started, I had no idea, and some insight into what to expect might have proven very interesting, if not down right useful. When I contacted AOPA about the idea, they suggested that I contribute to the "Let's Go Flying" blog, and upon reading it, it seemed like an excellent fit.
Even though I have been flying for only 8 weeks now, I have a fairly aggressive schedule, flying 3 or 4 times per week. Since this equates to a fair number of journal entries, my thought was that I would start at the beginning, and post an entry every other day or so. Readers will be somewhat behind the actual chronology, at least for some time, but it seems better to me that you get the complete picture of what this flying thing is really like, from the beginning.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy it and encourage you to comment if you are so inclined.