Thursday, May 30, 2013

Amber's First Essay as the Private Pilot Scholarship Award Winner!

Amber is the recipient of our 2013 Spring Scholarship Program Private Pilot Award. Please see her application essay here and read about the Summer Scholarship Program. We will be accepting applications until June 30th, 2013. Our scholarships are funded by direct contributions from people like you!

The Sky Awaits the Soul

April 17, 2013

It was a crisp morning. The past few weeks have been rainy and muggy out. The season’s are changing and my eagerness to get back in the air awaits me. Absolutely nothing compares to my first solo or my second but planning for my dual cross country means the solo cross country is soon to follow and the first time soloing will soon have the first cross country solo added to the log.

I head into work amazed at the beauty of what North Idaho has to offer even after living here for over 12 years now. The previous Arizonan desert is nothing like these tree covered mountain terrains, 140 plus acre Lake Pend Oreille playground and rivers stretching out like branches on a willow tree. It’s hard not to be in awe in every moment. I love the desert but this area is a completely different animal.

I walk into the hangar ready for the workday, the big doors cracked and a small spring breeze sneaking in, the smell of fresh dew ready to burn off for the day. My flying gear waiting patiently in my car, kneeboard, headsets, flight log, sectional mapped out with checkpoints in towns I’ve been to and ones I’ve always wanted to travel to…. Not realizing at that time, I would actually be flying to them in the future.

I felt like I heard every click of that second hand on the clock as if it was teasing me…but all I wanted to do was clock out and radio, “Niner-Lima-Uniform, taxiing from the South hangars (we don’t have many hangars in Sandpoint, Idaho) to runway 1 for departure to the South.” My mind kept repeating it all while I was installing fuel lines on a plane I plan to fully fly one day. The Quest KODIAK. One step at a time.

Sometimes we hear discouragement from people close to us, weather it be family, friends, or co-workers. 95% of the time people are absolutely thrilled you are learning how to fly, at least from my perspective. Guess what you worry about the most easily… The 5% who have to put there negative opinions in whether they realize it or not.

What I’ve learned in all of this, is if I want to accomplish what I passionately want to do, then I’m going to truck along and do whatever I can to finish. People will say things because they are not actually willing to do it which is absolutely fine or they give excuses to make themselves feel better. Can you imagine if every single person was in the sky? It’s good if everyone doesn’t have the passion but if you do and are willing there are ways to accomplish that! Don’t let others discourage. If you plan, now I know life gets in the way, but if you truly plan, like skip a few things that you “think” you need…My other addiction is dirt biking. I usually ride every weekend like clock work. Since I started flying, I’ve dwindled my riding down to almost none, at least the traveling part which is diesel prices and of course we have to pay more money on a product that has less work done to it. But planes and riding run through my system so much, I can’t control it. But…. putting aside things you think you need for something you passionately want will pay off in the end, or the beginning of your new future as I like to say.

Ooh shiny…. Ok, Now back to the dual cross country.

3:30 arrives, the end of my work day. My instructor and I check weather and adjust flight plan accordingly. We head out to the plane and I start to preflight. She’s a bit old for a Skyhawk but works just fine for me.

I call on the radio and head south towards a town I’ve been to driving. I recognize things close to Sandpoint but as I get further away, with distractions from my instructor asking simple questions that I somehow think I forgot the answers to, I notice things are a little more different in the air. You plan for this but to actually realize it in the process is another thing. I was hitting my checkpoints as planned, but also thinking about my solo cross country. How can one not?

I see the airport I want to land on. Thank goodness. One down and one new one to go to….after some mountain ranges of course. I wanted to ask questions, but I also wanted to do everything on my own. I was curious to ask if everything was going good as we naturally assume as humans, negative thoughts. But everything was going great. I’m flying a plane, in the mountains, by myself…..(even though my instructor was next to me). After we took off from Saint Maries, we headed northeast to the town of Thompson Falls.

The mountains were intimidating. No where to safely land on flat ground for a few minutes. So I kept climbing to a more comfortable height. By the time I got up high enough it was time to descend again. Easy peezy…but still respected every part of it. I’m extremely glad I choose the route that I did. The last leg was the part I was excited about.

After leaving Thompson Falls, we headed northwest to Sandpoint along the Clark Fork river. The sun was setting and the small amount of clouds over the mountains along the river was breathtaking as the sun glimmered through. You can not truly capture the amount of beauty through a camera but I tried anyways. Idaho and Montana will not disappoint for lack of scenery.

I start hitting the next few checkpoints on time but didn’t want to land even though I had to work the next day and somehow had to wind down for the night. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that but it was already time to call into Sandpoint traffic already.

We landed and all that was on my mind was the solo cross country…. I almost forgot to stop at the fuel pumps to refill the plane. I taxied the plane back the hangar where “LU” lives and called it a night. On my way home I had daydreamed how my solo cross country would be accomplished. Did I want the same route? Or go on a different adventure? Same time of day or morning?

All I know is nothing motivates me more than the pure beauty that the earth has to offer. And if you passionately follow your dreams, you’d be surprised to find how many are willing to help you get there…. Until next time, the sky awaits my next adventure no matter how excited I am to get there.

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