Being a Pilot

I have a philosophy, “If I can get educated, I will.” I had an opportunity. My husband asked if I would take pilot lessons with him.

I have a motto, “Fear is the Reason to Do It.” This motto has served me well in many different arenas.

I started to learn how to fly. My husband and I are co-owners of a Liberty Airplane. “Lady Liberty” was manufactured in Melbourne, Florida. She is a two seat, low wing, 125 horsepower, normal category airplane that is evenly keeled and just “PLANE” fun to fly.

There is always a back story….

Before this crazy adventure, I was the woman you sat next to in the jet with her eyes closed and ears plugged, dripping in cold sweat during take off and landings. On my initial flight, I was afraid to take the stick because I swore I would ruin something. It started to rain and I asked if we could land because I thought the water would bring us down. The pilot I was flying with was an old salt, down to Earth, wise guy who was real sweet until he called me “Honey.” Never do that. I committed myself to following my motto.

My first trainer introduced me flying. My first flight was memorable. It was a hot July, in the middle of the Illinois seven-year locust season.

I completed my pre-flight in about an hour (I was so nervous) and we were ready to take off. There was a strong south wind and we took off to the south and I began my climb. In the middle of the climb, my trainer began screaming, “Oh my God. Oh my God!” as he twitched all over. I was so freaked out I could only look at him and wonder, “What the hell?” My trainer was totally creeped out by insects.  A locust the size of a pinkie finger was crawling up his leg. “Aghhh!” “Get it off!” unbelievably, I calmly grabbed the locust and flung it to the back of the plane. He calmed down and I said, “You have the airplane controls.” He said, “I have the controls.” (Standard verbal  protocol when switching pilots)

We both took a big breath. “Okay”, he said, “Ready?”

That was about four years ago.
This summer I earned my pilot’s license. My check ride with the FAA representative went smoothly. I’ve even had my first “emergency” landing.

And I love it. I love to solo. There is nothing like it in life.

I bring my education and my experiences into the classroom almost every day. The kids know to ask me on Monday, “Did you fly?” They are disappointed when I say no and want a story when I say yes. I bring in my expired maps and we talk about how cool it all is. I have had students take aviation in high school and come back with their own stories.

I love their stories.

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