“What are we going to do next year?” – posed by my girlfriend. She was just back from a trip to Italy.
I was mulling over the fact that four different friends or clients were facing battles with cancer. I had hit the big 50 this year. If I didn’t do it now – I was never going to do it.
“I’m going to learn to fly – starting now” – I announced. A dream fuelled by 43 years of making model kits, Radio Control airplanes and a shelf of books on the topic – mainly about the World War II – Battle of Britain. The childhood memories of a movie and “Spitfires!” that saved the UK from German invasion. I have a part complete control panel from a Spitfire on my office wall. I’m under no illusions – this is going to be a hard slog to get my aging brain to fly an airplane straight and level. Soaring through the clouds performing aerobatics is a long way in the future – if ever.
“and where are you going to find the money for that?” was her down to earth response.
“I’m not going to pay anything into my pension for a year.” was the only reasonable source I could come up with. A glance at the “Livestrong” band I am wearing for my friends and I get approval.
I search around the internet for the local flying schools. After some research I decide that if I am going to do this right – I’m going to do it at a Part 141 school. A school that has stricter FAA oversight. In return I will be on a definite syllabus, there are classrooms, simulators and this can lead to learning to fly in less time. This is a midlife brain stretch – the equivalent of a year in college and I want to be challenged. The nearest Part 141 school is Horizon Aviation at T.F.Green – the regional (occassionally International) airport across the bay. You have to mix it with cargo planes and regional carriers flying to all destinations in America. That should keep it busy. The school has a relationship with New England Technical College’s aviation program. That seems good.
I make a call and book an “Airman’s Flight” – an introductory lesson September 9th.