Becoming A Pilot
This blog was written by a young man who is now a student at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, pursuing his dream of becoming a commercial pilot:
I’ve always wanted to become a pilot. It’s been my lifelong dream for as long as I can remember. I don’t know what started my obsession with aviation, but it’s always been there, and always will. I was so excited when my father told me that I could finally start flight lessons for my private pilot license. I was thirteen years old, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The only thing that compares to that time was my first solo flight. That flight didn’t come until the summer after my senior year of high school because that’s when I had the bulk of my flight lessons. I got so caught up with school and other activities that I could never find time to schedule enough sequential lessons, but I never lost the passion. When I started taking lessons again, my family supported me the whole time because they knew how important it was to me. Nearing the end of the summer, I knew that I was going to solo sometime soon, but I had no idea when.
During one of my lessons, we were flying a basic traffic pattern around the Flying W airport in New Jersey, and after we landed, we parked the plane and when I started to get out, my flight instructor, Dan said “Where are you going? You’re staying in here.” I was confused at first and asked him what he meant, and then he said “You’re going up by yourself.” I can’t describe the joy and excitement I felt when I heard those words, but I was torn at the same time. My family wasn’t there, and I wouldn’t have gotten to that point without them. I wanted them to be there to see my first solo. I wanted to solo so badly, but I asked Dan if I could reschedule for another day. Luckily, it was only the next day that my family could come to the airport to see my flight.
The flight started exactly the same as it did the day before, but when Dan stepped out of the plane, I didn’t have to follow him. I was so nervous, but I felt completely prepared to do the flight. I taxied up to the runway and waited for traffic to clear. At the end of my radio call for takeoff, I added “first solo” and a few pilots in the area gave me a “good luck” over the radio. I pulled onto the runway and added full power. After the wheels left the ground, the plane was climbing so much faster than it did with another person in the plane. It was a Cessna 152, so one person’s weight makes a big difference. I could see everyone on the ground watching as I flew by. I flew through the traffic pattern with no problem and lined up with the runway to land. The hardest part was coming up, and I was ready for it. Everyone was still there on the ground watching as I came in. Just like the takeoff, the landing is also affected by the difference in weight. It wasn’t the smoothest landing, but I did it. The wheels touched down and my dream had become a reality.