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A TERRIFYING AND THRILLING EXPERIENCE LEARNING TO FLY
I’ve been thinking a lot about new beginnings and how they can be both thrilling and terrifying. Whenever I think of starting something new, I want to make sure it’s long-term and not just something to do on the weekends. Finding a new activity can require a lot of work and effort. For me, this new pursuit was flying. Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated with learning to fly. Both my dad and brother were pilots, and I share their passion. Flying always excited me, but I also knew it was horrendously expensive to start. On top of that, I didn’t even know what I would do with it once I learned. Before I leaped into it, I buried myself in research. I wanted to find out what a private pilot is, what they can do, how they’re trained, and what the total cost of getting a license is. I also researched what kind of benefits pilots receive and what kind of continued training they need to complete their education. Once I knew as much as I felt I needed to, I got a hold of my brother, and he helped me find a good flight school. There are two parts to learning how to fly: attending ground school and learning to fly. Ground school teaches you all the rules of flying, including altitude, weather, and how to navigate and communicate. I knew even before going into these classes that I would need to practice flying more than once a week, and I did. I practiced 3–4 times a week to make sure all the information I learned in class stuck with me.
instrument rating, which is twice as hard. I had to learn how to fly all over again, but this time it was like wearing a blindfold. Think of learning how to drive with the windshield blacked out and only navigating with the instruments inside the car. Getting my instrument rating made me a much better pilot, and I am glad for the experience. Through my years of preparation, I learned that a lot of people who get their license don’t do anything with it, and I didn’t want that to be me. Since I’m a lawyer, I started incorporating my flying with law. At the time, I was living in Southern California, but I began to take on clients in Northern California so that I could fly more regularly. My flying also came in handy when one of my sons was going to college. It was a five-hour car drive but only an hour and “At that time, I was actually petrified of heights, which might not make a lot of sense to many people. But because I took that leap and prepared myself beforehand, I overcame my fear.”
10-minute flight. Having my own plane and pilot’s license helped me see him a lot more often. I also volunteered my time to help people with their medical treatments. I had a woman who lived in Sacramento but needed treatment in Los Angeles, and I flew her there for her treatment several times. One thing I do want to say is that learning to fly was absolutely terrifying for me. At that time, I was actually petrified of heights, which might not make a lot of sense to many people. But because I took that leap and prepared myself beforehand, I overcame my fear. When I started flying, it was a thrilling experience; I was up there piloting an airplane when I knew there weren’t a lot of other people who could do the same. Once my son graduated college, I stopped flying as much as I wanted to, so I made the decision to sell my planes. I owned four airplanes in total. I sold the last one about seven years ago, and I haven’t flown since. When I flew, I wanted to abide by the rules I had set for myself; I stayed current and constantly learned about what I was doing. I didn’t have a reason to fly anymore, so I retired from it. Even though I no longer fly, I still hold a lot of good memories from the many years I enjoyed it.
After I finished ground school, I flew for quite a while before I jumped into getting my
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