While the average 13-year-old was going through puberty, I was learning to fly.
Most people ask me how you get involved in something so unique and I always attribute it to my dad (who still asks me weekly if I’ve had time to fly). It all started back on my thirteenth birthday when my dad took me on a discovery flight.
I got in the pilot’s seat, my dad sat in the back and my instructor, Penny, crammed in the co-pilot seat of a Cessna-172 on that first flight. It was an incredible experience to see where you’ve lived your whole life in a way you never dreamed would happen. Lake county truly takes after it’s name from the air with water surrounding everything. It was breathtaking.
This discovery flight was the beginning of a journey that would take me four years down the road, since you cannot get a pilot’s license until you’re 17.
Technology played an interesting role in getting my license because it evolved so much throughout my journey, much like journalism is evolving. I flew my first solo flight at 16 with my dad clutching a hand-held radio from the taxiway to watch. After this you must pass a written, oral and flight exam to get your license. I flew across the state to Crystal River and came back with a grin.
Learning to fly was an amazing experience that shaped my growth as an individual. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who has the gumption to go through the motions.