Flying Airplanes

How do you know if there’s a pilot in the room? He’ll tell you.

I’m a pilot.

And I am indeed aware of the increase of cockiness that accompanies this. But, I will divulge a little secret: Flying isn’t really very difficult. With practice one gets a feel for how the wings move through the air, how our potential energy is converted into forward movement, and how we can add energy into the system with the propeller.

Where it gets difficult is when you deal with complex airspace, bad weather, engine trouble, talking on the radio with ATC and dozens of other planes. The old adage that such-and-such is “hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” is apt. The most stressful parts of a flight tend to be compressed into just a few minutes.

After a childhood of actively dreaming and an adolescence and young adulthood of dormancy, I decided to begin training in 2009, at the age of 32. I received my Private Pilot certificate for Airplane – Single Engine Land in 2011.

The certificate is valid for life. I can fly any any single-engine propeller airplane that weighs less than 12,500 lb under visual flight rules (VFR), at night, and into any airport in the world. I would like to ultimately get my Instrument Rating so I can fly in the system with the big boys, in the clouds, and in Class A airspace above 18,000 feet.


The dream is to own my own IFR-capable airplane which I keep in a hanger at a nearby airport and be able to fly around the world with my family. I’m not there yet.

The United States and Canada are easy to fly around. Fuel is plentiful and cheap and there are airports everywhere. I dream of using my own airplane, of driving through the fence to my hanger, loading everyone into the plane, and flying directly to our destination.

I also have (slightly crazier) dreams of flying around the world. It would be very cool to fly into El Trompillo in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia and walk to my abuelita’s house. Europe is doable too. In the summer one can fly to Greenland, Iceland, and then Ireland. It’s not something you do for a weekend trip, but say we wanted to fly around Europe for the summer. It’s not completely crazy.

Level Up

Aviation is like a video game in that there’s always another rating or endorsement to get, always a new airplane to fly, always more hours to build up, always more airports to fly into, and always a desire to become better.

Hours 130.6
Hours PIC (Pilot In Command) 66.0
Landings 296
Private Pilot Certificate - Airplane Single Engine Land
Private Pilot Certificate - Airplane Multi Engine Land  
Private Pilot Certificate - Airplane Single Engine Sea  
Private Pilot Certificate - Airplane Multi Engine Sea  
Commercial Pilot Certificate  
Airline Transport Pilot Certificate  
Instrument Rating  
Tailwheel Endorsement working on it
High Performance Endorsement  
Complex Endorsement  


Fate is the Hunter by Ernest K. Gann and Sand, Wind, and Stars and Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If you’ve been inspired

Go take a discovery flight. It’s an awesome experience whether you decide to continue with your training or not.

Books and resources that I found useful: Stick and Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche, Say Again, Please by Bob Gardner and See how it Flies by John S. Denker