I’ve always had an interest in flight, but the barriers to entry for an ‘outsider’ like me always seemed too great: “where to go?”, “what’s involved?”, “is it at least reasonably safe?”, etc. The more that I seriously looked into it though, it became clear that it was within reach of any ‘normal’ person willing to put in the effort. I began studying on my own in my spare time over the span of a few months and then started lessons.

I’m training at a regional airport nearby. It’s farther away than the international airport in my backyard, but easier to get started since there’s no need to talk/coordinate with ATC. The plane is a Cessna 172, a forgiving trainer aircraft that a very large percentage of all new pilots learn in. Already I can do takeoffs and landings with the instructor in the plane and I should be moving on to solo flight at some point soon. The solo isn’t the finish line though and there will still be a lot of work leading up to the checkout flight with the FAA inspector.

Becoming a pilot for educational/hobby purposes isn’t as common as it used to be, and I think it’s for this reason that I’ve been asked a number of times if flight training is to enable some kind of career change. It’s only for curiosity/hobby/continuing education though. I’ve found there are plenty of other ‘non-professional’ pilots around and I’ve even encountered a number of them in the industrial automation world.

Long term, I’m not sure where this will lead, if anywhere. Travel by general aviation is only practical under very specific travel scenarios that I don’t often encounter. It is something I enjoy, even if impractical, so I’ll likely fly at least occasionally to stay current.

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