A few days later, I went to Dave and told him I needed out and a transfer. He told me to get to where I needed to be however I could....I did not need to fly as far as he was concerned. Whew!! ..I loved my job and didn't want to leave.
One week end I was out at the Islands on Lake Erie and there was an old Ford Tri-motor plane and they were selling seats for a ride and by paying extra you could be co-pilot. The romance of this beautiful unique aircraft overtook me and I thought I could handle being upfront...so, I was in the co-pilot seat on that flight. The pilot was so nice and I told him I had a fear of flying but, I was doing good in this plane..he said, I can let you "hold" the aircraft if you want!! Well, I am always up for the adventure and new experience so I said ok...he explained what to do and how it would feel and gave me the plane. It was so heavy in my hands and I absolutely loved it...he let me do this for about a minute or two....it was wonderful. I looked at him and said...I want to learn to fly !!! I loved it !!
Monday morning came and into my boss's office I go and said.. "Dave, guess what?...I am going to take flying lessons". I told him of my experience that week end with The Tin Goose as this plane was called and he said...."I am not surprised....it was the control...if you are in control you won't be afraid !!" He was an ex-airforce pilot back in his day.
My wonderful flying experience began a few weeks later. I flew out of a local small airfield pretty close to home and my flight instructor, Ruth, was an older woman who flew during WW 2. She was so tough and awesome....she was also a flight examiner. She was just the best....I learned so much and the right way.....I was not afraid...but, still could not fly those commuter planes for my job.....I learned in a Cessna 172 and my favorite was 1086F ....I also flew 4802G but, I loved 1086F....each plane "feels " different and that one was so light and easy to fly.
Ruth, put me through it all....the emergency landing tests.....spins...Spins were not a FAA requirement but they were Ruth's requirement....and stalls.... that's when the airplane ceases to fly.....I was well prepared for my first solo flight....me..who had anxiety attacks when having to fly on the job was flying and getting ready to solo. I knew ,then that if I could fly...I could do anything I wanted and nothing would ever stop me.
The big day came and everything went great and it was thrilling ...It was a life changing event for me and it showed me that if fears were faced , they could be conquered.
I received my Private Pilots License in due time and continued flying on week -ends. One of the instructors had a piper cub that I loved and we went up and did some aerobatics sometimes and I liked that a lot ...nothing serious....just some lazy eights , chandelles, and dutch rolls. I loved the feel of doing them. I did them when I flew in 1086F also. I liked the lazy 8's and especially the dutch rolls....I flew for about 4 years....I have logged almost 400 hrs. in my flight log.
Shortly after receiving my Private Pilots License, I thought I would like to get my sea plane rating.....I always liked the romantic stories about seaplane flying in Alaska....so, one vacation I went to Florida and took seaplane lessons at Brownies....but, I never got my rating...I ran out of time and money....but, fun?...oh yes, it was fun landing on the water :-)
I had one emergency situation occur when my oil light warning went on right after leaving Youngstown control and I used the procedures that I knew from training...It was as if time stood still.....I got Youngstown control back...asked for following to the nearest airport....explained the situation......advised I was gaining altitude in case the engine went out...this means I would have more glide potential....it all worked out ok. My airport sent someone to pick me up and it was over.
I went on to study for my Ground Instructor License ...this allows for teaching of Private Pilot and Commercial Theory.. .. I received it and taught a few semesters of Pilot Theory at a local Community College and at the air field,also.
It was then that the FAA changed the requirements to become a Private Pilot....lowered them actually. They added a lower requirement license. I did not agree with that move....I felt people who were flying around in the air needed more training ...not less and I stopped flying and teaching. It was about time as I had almost 400 safe hours and I did not like teaching....I liked learning a lot but, not teaching.
I learned several lessons that I carried on thru my life from this flying experience. One, is that as a pilot, you are responsible for everything...even things you have no control over. That is how I was taught. Life is much like that. You are responsible so you have to make sure you are in control of what is going on. Two, fears should not control you....they have to be faced and conquered. Not doing so, allows them to have control over you. Three, you always have to have your eyes open and be prepared for any emergency. You always had to be watchful for a possible landing spot ...thinking ahead...planning ahead in case something would happen. Great skills for life's problems.
I wouldn't trade any of my flying experiences for anything in the world. As I write this so many more flying adventures come back to mind. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
I am sharing my story so that you can see how an ordinary person really can overcome fears on their own and there is such a big payback for doing so. Some fears are good fears and help protect us but, generally, fears are usually limiting us in some way .
It was so much fun going through my photo albums looking for the following photos to share with you :-)
"Do what you fear and fear disappears." -
David Joseph Schwartz
"Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live." - Dorothy Thompson
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela