Back in 1978 I was a new high school graduate heading off to college. My chosen major was Medical Technology. That was, of course, until I had trouble passing biology. I decided to change my major to business. I completed most of the business core classes and decided that I really didn’t like marketing or the hours of crunching numbers in the old-fashioned double-entry system of accounting. I’m talking about the time before computers were in use for most of the everyday office uses they are now.
What next? I had all my general education requirements met and finally decided on an elementary education degree as my chosen profession and followed it through to completion and graduated from college in 1983. All the while in the back of my mind was the desire to learn how to fly. I was told that just wasn’t something girls did.
Fast forward to about 1989 and I was a married woman with two children and a third one on the way. While attending church in our small town we had a visiting pastor who was a mission aviator. He talked about his missionary work as a pilot. After listening to him speak and his passion for flying I told my husband that I still wanted to learn how to fly. He said “We need to raise our children first.” He didn’t say “No” just not now.
Life goes on and I taught school for nine years and we had one more child. I quit teaching and went to work for the family business as the bookkeeper. Nothing you learn in college is wasted. It eventually is put to use at some point in time. I don’t mind doing bookkeeping with Quickbooks instead of the old paper and pencil method for accounting back in the 80’s.
In the spring of 2008 I jumped off the deep end and decided it was finally time to pursue my life’s dream of learning how to fly. It has been the ride of a lifetime. I have been challenged to learn things I didn’t know I could. I have studied aerodynamics and read everything I could get my hands on about flying in the past two years. I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg in learning about weather. Who would think that maybe a pilot should know something about weather when they are learning to fly. I never thought about it before I started pursuing my certificate.
I’ve learned how to navigate using charts, ground references, and radio navigation. There hasn’t been a more thrilling day than the day I flew myself from St. Cloud, MN to Duluth, MN , Brainerd, MN and back to St. Cloud by myself on my solo cross-country.
Pilots are a fun bunch to be around. I love hearing the stories of how each has achieved their goal of learning how to fly. No two paths have been the same. Every day is a new opportunity learn something new when it comes to flying. CFI’s are awesome.
I’m fifty years old and I have achieved one of my life goals. Better later than never. I wonder where I would be now if I had pursued it earlier. It certainly would have been the road less traveled. Whatever your dream is, it is not too late.