Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here we go...

The path of least resistance...

So, how did all this begin? Four years ago, I took a job at my alma mater in the admissions office. It was the path of least resistance, keeping Alisa and I in Waco where the cost of living is cheap and where she was already established in a job. I enrolled a couple of years later in a Master of Science in Education program (which I finish this May, and will still be useful), and life was okay. Except I was hardly getting to fly at all. We're talking lucky-if-I-get-15-hours-a-year hardly.

The work environment turned sour; promotions were promised and evaporated. It began to take a toll on my health, and our marriage wasn't suffering, but it was definitely stressed. It was time for a change.

A change is brewing...

In October, I went with Alisa to Florida and did my Single-Engine Sea add on while she attended a conference. For the record, I highly recommend Jack Brown's Seaplane Base. My instructor Erik Von Kaenel is a real pro and one of the best guys I've ever flown with. The fire was officially relit, and I began thinking that there was more to life than preflighting a desk every morning.

With one semester left in graduate school, we agreed together it was time to "get out" and reassess my options. So, just before Christmas, I pulled the handle and punched out.

A dream gets back on track after almost 10 years...

One of the first ideas we tossed around was that of me getting back into aviation, a passion which I had looked back upon lustfully during my days of flying a desk. During those days, though, I'd always thought my job was too stable and "I can't take the pay cut." But, stories like that of my friend Jerome (, who is "living the dream" with a regional carrier, had always tempted me.

Nothing was holding me back now, so I decided that, no matter what happened this spring, I would use some money we'd saved up and at least add an Instrument rating to my Private Pilot License. Word got around, and good things started to happen.

By early January, I had confirmation that I'd be co-teaching an Aviation History class at my alma mater. I'm having a blast, so far.

A couple weeks later, even better news. A business-savvy friend (who is also a fellow aviation nut) invites me to breakfast. How would I, he asks, like the idea of instructing for him if he opened a small, low-key flight school? I couldn't get the "heck yeah" out fast enough, and soon I found myself plotting to earn my CFI this spring.

So, I've embarked on the overwhelming task of finishing grad school and earning my Instrument, Commercial, and CFI/CFII ratings in the course of one semester. How am I doing it? Flying no less than 3 days a week, and preferably 4-5.

Tomorrow morning, my friend and CFI Tim and I take off on my 3rd Instrument ride. It's amazing how a rating that seemed so intimidating at 20 is so much fun at 28. Maybe I'm a better student now. All I know is I've flown more in the past week than I have in some years, and life could not be better.

Follow me on this journey. I don't know where it will end up. Odds are, the CFI gig will be relatively long term (I actually want to teach, and with the economy where it is, the airlines won't be beating down my door anytime soon). I do know one thing: it will be a fun ride.


  1. Awesome! I love it. It'll be in my favorites, and I look forward to reading it. Blue Skies, my friend!

  2. Congratulations on setting out to make your dreams come true! It will definetly be worth it! I only know a few people who are doing what they really love and they wouldn't trade it for the world...and it's happens to be flying. So I guess Alisa and I will have no choice but to learn now, right...?

  3. Amy, we have to learn now! I am so excited for all the wonderful things to come!