Sunday, January 10, 2010

The First Step

After several years of thinking about it, I've finally made the decision to take flying lessons and earn my pilot's license (or "Private Pilot Certificate," as it is more mundanely labelled in the US). Several people have at least feigned interest when I've brought this topic up in discussion, so I thought it might be interesting to write a blog about the experience.

I've been reading up on FAA licensing requirements, flight schools, and aeronautics in general a bit more steadily over the past year, as several of my projects at work have brought me in closer contact with the aviation world (mostly helicopter pilots and unmanned aerial systems folks). Moving to our new house has piqued my interest as well: we're less than 2 miles from Hanscom Field (KBED) and Will and I have always enjoyed watching the small aircraft fly overhead. After realizing there might be a chance to leverage my employer's generous "continuing education" reimbursement program, I started to look into pilot certification a bit more seriously. Then, about a month ago, Lauren's father, Brad, loaned me several of the old flying textbooks and Cessna operator's manuals he had from the days when he earned his own license, back before we were born. Since then, I've spent many late hours trolling the internet and reading up on the requirements and processes involved in getting a license. Finally, I took the plunge yesterday and drove with Ben, my brother-in-law, out to Hanscom to check out the two local flight schools. We happened across East Coast Aero Club first and, after about 30 minutes of talking with one of the instructors about program logistics, I decided to take the next step: I've booked a first introductory flight for Tuesday AM, bright and early before the morning traffic picks up.

Here goes nothing...