Welcome to the fifth “Share Your Story” post. Pilots from around the world write in, to the blog, featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, etc. More details are here: Click Here and Get Involved

When I got my pilot’s license on October 16 of 2010, I was completing a journey that began almost exactly ten years earlier in September of 1998. That was when my parents let me sign up for an introductory flying lesson at the Lewiston-Auburn Municipal Airport in Auburn, ME. (KLEW.)

I remember my first instructor fairly well. A middle-20’s CFI named Colleen, she took me up for my first few flights and showed me the ropes. Turns, stalls, steep turns, and even a few trips along on State Fire Patrol rides got me hooked on aviation. The flight school put me with a few different CFIs, and I learned a little something new from each of them.

Around 12 hours, they were beginning to talk of soloing me when I was old enough. But it never came to pass: for some mysterious reason, I stopped flying with around 15 hours under my belt.

I finished high school, went off to college, and entered the professional world. I moved out, moved on, and moved forward with my life. Still, I always thought back to my time behind the yoke and remembered the unique mix of awe and freedom and peril that flying brings. Every time I heard an engine, I’d look up, peering into the sky to see who was up there and wonder what they were doing…

…And then one day in 2010, I was sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee. Suddenly, a distant rumble became a huge roar, and to my delight a formation of planes rumbled over my house, looping Southeast and disappearing out of sight. Moments later another group of planes rumbled over, headed Southeast. The place was Lakeland, Florida and the time was Sun n Fun of 2008. I lived near the biggest airshow in the Southeast and never had a clue until those planes roared over. I was in the car on my way to the airport in minutes, and when I arrived Matt Younkin was delicately rolling his black Twin Beech through the air. The sensations and memories came flooding back…I was meant to fly.

Sun n Fun reached into my brain and flipped the switch. From that moment on my head was in the clouds. I’d grown up wanting to be an airline captain: what the heck happened? Why was I a respiratory therapist and not a 747 pilot? Where did I go wrong?

I set out to right these cosmic injustices in the best way I knew how. My parents once again bought me an intro flight at St. Pete International, KPIE, and shortly after that I was back in the left seat, learning to fly under the tutelage of my instructor Brian at Tailwheels Etc, then located at KGIF.

Learning to fly was hard work. I had moments of frustration; learning to land seemed impossible. Chart reading was cryptic. Airspace was confusing. It was all too much, but my desire to fly pushed me on. Close to 30 hours, I soloed. I took my cross countries, passed some intimidating stage checks, and woke up on October 16 to face the FAA’s designated pilot examiner.

Two and a half years later, I still love to fly. I read about flying every day, try to learn more about the art and science of aeronautics. My goal is to be the safest, best informed, and most enthusiastic pilot that I know. I am in school to be an air-traffic controller, and just in case that doesn’t happen I’m working on my aircraft dispatchers license. Before my next BFR, I’d like to be instrument rated or glider trained, whichever happens to come my way first.

A good pilot is always learning, growing, and striving for perfection. If you want to fly, you can do it! It might take you twelve years to get there, but I promise you it will be worth it.

Thanks so much Ben for sharing your flying story here on the blog! I know that you’ll do well as an ATC or dispatcher. Once you get there, I can’t wait to see what you could write about next!

Thanks again Ben!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1 

About The Author

Swayne Martin

I started this website to show you why you'll love becoming a pilot. As an owner and editor of Boldmethod Pilot Training, I've spent years working with pilots all around the world to make their dreams a reality. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

2 Responses

  1. Karlene Petitt

    Ben, your story is a great inspiration! I hope you plan on turning this passion into a career. I would love for you to come fly with me. Something you should read from a great pilot about confidence. A great secret to success. http://tinyurl.com/csfltnf

    Swayne, Thanks for sharing another great pilot.

    Reply

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