Taking on an unfamiliar project
If you are uncomfortable hiring a professional take comfort knowning a professional can make all the difference and ensure your project reaches its touch down to your satifaction. For example I have pasted my recount of learning to fly an airplane which took expert training and trust. After all my life depended on it. Emila Earhart said flying and aircraft and particularly landing an aircraft is like most things in life. It is easy to start but hard to finish. So when you read below imagine how my confidence would have been if I had not hired an expert.
On December 16, 2009, at Mt. Comfort airport with IndyAero's Cessna 172R, 5253B, on runway 16, I soloed. I really was not as scared as I thought I would be. I had performed so many takeoffs and landings that the process, even with some variation, had become very regular. That is of course for a good weather day and with an instructor in the right seat. On my first flight with no passengers, no co pilot, no instructor, no backup plan other than land it myself, I had the oh crap feeling rush through my mind briefly while in the traffic pattern on final approach to landing. But my training seemed to calm my mind and guide me along as it has on countless other landing attempts. I was aware that this time it was different, there was no one else in the cockpit with me. I also realized all of my actions on countless previous flights were what had guided me along safely to the runway and flying the plane this time was hardly distinguishable. Both solo times in the pattern turning base to final I realized I was a little high as indicated on the VASI beside the left edge of the runway. I prefered being high to being low and welcomed the fact that this landing would be the same as the others with excess altitude and a slightly lower RPM setting. The first solo landing came just like the 4 previously with my instructors company, a slight bark of the tires smoothly meeting the runway, preceded by a stall warning horn. After the first solo landing I am sure there was more of a smile on my face and feeling of acomplishment in my mind than the previous landing (with instructor). On my first landing rollout I wanted to make the first taxi way and greet my instructor so I applied the brakes to slow my speed, however the plane pitched down more sharply than I had intended and I quickly relaxed the pressure and extended my roll out to the next taxiway. On the taxi way I met my instructor who was the first to congratulate me on my acomplishment. We agreed that I should perform one more flight before the sunlight was gone and off I went. My second attempt required communication with traffic on a runway perpendicular to mine on an instrument ILS landing that I would fly through. I quickly recalled my instructors direction that if ever in a situation like this that it would be wise to mention in my radio communication to the other traffic that I am a student pilot on my first solo attempt. Just as my instructor, Mat Dolezal, said they would, the other traffic reported back on the radio that they would look out for me! I was obviously the most dangerous thing on that particular approach for the other pilot and they would do their best to avoid me! Funny thing is my instructor and I had long joked before that if this situation happened the other pilot would gladly leave the traffic pattern and simply wait for me to call them once I was on the ground, in my car, leaving the airport. Turns out he was right! Luckily for all of us I made it safely around. Once in the car headed for home, I dialed Carmen first. She didn't even wait for me to explain when she asked if I had soloed. I explained that I had and that I was not really too afraid when I did it. She quickly congratulated me and said she was proud of me. I called my parents next. After several calls to their house the result was still the same...no answer. Finally I tried my Fathers cell phone and this time he answered. I spoke about the process coming up in preparation for the cross country phase of flight training after explaining my emotions with soloing. My father explained that he and my mom were over my sisters house for her birthday party. He congratulated me and explained that he was proud of me before passing the phone on to my sister. She too was curious about my milestone in aviation and I reexplained it all from the beginning. I am sure she could sense how excited I was. After the phone calls on my way home I began to more deeply reflect on what had just transpired less than 1 hour before. I recalled the similar level of nervous excitement I felt some 16 years before when I began to drive a car on my own. Even deeper my thoughts gathered remembering how similar the process had been in learning to drive a car. With my father explaining everything to me as carefully as he could and patiently correcting my mistakes. I felt saddened with the time that has passed since that training, and how sentimental and cherished a thought it had become though deeply burried in my memory. How inescapably we all quickly age and how when looking back I too have sort of come of age. I feel very fortunate to have had the experiences I have had in my life. I believe I have a wonderful loving family that supports me in all my endevors. Just as the Wright brothers once said, "We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always enough encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment, our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit." I feel the same with my family and my opportunities. Interestingly I was only one day from the anniversary of their solo that occured in Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. A week of milestones, birthdays, and even anniversarys. This week marks my 8th year at INDOT, Sisters 29th Birthday, and my College Graduation. In fact it was 8 years ago today that I graduated college. I started INDOT the day after graduation, December 17, 2001. INDOT was a company I thought I would work for only 9 months when I began the day after college. It has now become 25% of my life. As of this writing it is still fresh in my mind and yet dreamlike. With time I will look back on this writing and laugh at how little I knew at the time of my solo. I am sure I will look back at how simple this was relative to future aviation acomplishments. But as sure as Wilbur and Orville were pilots after their first flight, I am now too. I am proud of what I did today and I look forward to my first solo crosscountry.