Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gaining Your Pilot’s License

An opportunity to see the world from a different perspective

guest speaker
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” There are more than 600,000 registered pilots in the United States, and each of them can relate to this quote.

Whether you’ve longed to be in the air from the very first time you spotted an airplane, or you realized much later in life that you wanted to know what the world was like six miles above the ground, the journey to gaining your pilot’s license is an experience that’s sure to forever change the way you view the world.

In order to truly understand what the experience of working toward a pilot’s license feels like, I invite you to remember the feeling you had when you were working toward obtaining your driver’s license—the freedom it provided you and your friends during high school, the sense of adventure and independence you felt when you finally passed the test. Once you’re fully reminiscing about how much fun those escapades were, throw that experience completely out the window, because obtaining a pilot’s license will be exponentially greater.

No matter what age you are, I can promise that becoming a pilot entirely changes your perspective of the world. For the very first time, you’ll have the ability to hop into an airplane just to fly to a different state for lunch and be back home in time for dinner with your family. You’ll be able to get behind the wheel of an airplane to make it to a series of meetings in different states in one day, which would otherwise be impossible. Not in the mood to deal with the rainy, cold and cloudy weather outside? Well, with your pilot’s license, you’ll be able to get in an airplane, climb a few thousand feet above the ground and break through the blanket of white, puffy clouds covering Earth to experience a beautiful, sunny day, while the rest of your neighbors experience the dreary day below.

I’ve had my private pilot’s license for more than seven years, and I’ve accumulated some amazing experiences during my 1,300 hours of flight time in more than 36 different types of aircrafts. I’ve had the opportunity to fly throughout Canada, the United States and even certain parts of the Caribbean. I’ve done everything from experiencing majestic landscapes and sights from seven miles above Earth, to traveling in a military fighter jet a few hundred feet off of an ocean deck at supersonic speeds—and everything in between.

guest speaker
FOR THE LOVE OF FLYING. As a representative of the FAA, Jamail Larkins promotes aviation career opportunities to America’s youth, sharing his love of flight.
Now that I’ve shared with you the unbelievable benefits of learning to fly and obtaining your pilot’s license, I also must share some of the challenging aspects of learning to fly. You have to make sure you’re fully committed to this industry, because it’s going to take a substantial amount of time, energy and effort to obtain your license. You’ll also spend countless hours studying for your private pilot written exam and preparing for your oral examination—not to mention the numerous practice flights you’ll have to take in preparation for your practical exam.

All of this can be extremely stressful, sometimes even frustrating and exhausting. Despite how overwhelmed you may feel at times, I urge you to hang in there and stick with your training regimen. Expect the first few lessons to be hard. Reading and, more importantly, understanding all of the instruments inside of the cockpit, trying to figure out how to make the airplane do what you want it to do and even steering with your feet will all take some time. If you stick with this major investment, however, you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable gift—the gift of flight.


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