I just had my practical test, otherwise known as my check ride. I now have my airman certificate, otherwise known as my private pilot license. I have joined that select group of individuals who have the privilege of getting into an aircraft and leaving solid earth behind and travel from place to place through the air. I have to say, I absolutely love to fly. There is nothing like it. In 1941, John Gillespie Magee put it best,
"Oh! I have sipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never a lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
-Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
I know it is a bit dramatic, but you can tell that he loved to fly too and I think he captured that feeling well. So, if you read my previous post you know that it was a long time coming. I have wanted to be a pilot like my Dad since I was a little boy. I began flight training when I was in my early twenties and now after 39 years I have completed what I set out to do. I can now say, I am a pilot. My flight examiner said that I may have set a record. My first log book entry was November 4, 1976.
But even though I had that experience from years ago, I had to start all over again. My previous experience may have helped a little but not much. It took me 8 1/2 months to do it due to my busy schedule and several breaks of two or more weeks at a time. I just went back and counted up the weeks when I flew at least once since I started flying with Randon Aviation and there were only 20 weeks. That's less than five months. Randon told me that he had a student who got his private pilots license in just three weeks, but he had to fly every day and often flew twice a day. He probably spent every night studying as well.
I would like to thank Randon and my instructor Greg for all their help. They are both great flight instructors and great people too. Now I count them both as friends and fellow pilots.