Cruising at 12,000 feet above Reno, you see things from a unique perspective. The miniscule cars and people below don’t seem as rushed. Inside the plane, there’s other concerns, yet everything’s calm. You’re free, without stress. My problem down there is a tiny box.
Flying alters your understanding of distances. On a really clear day, you can see Pyramid, Tahoe, Honey, and Walker lakes. It’s surreal. Flying to Redding, a four-hour drive from Reno, takes forty minutes.
Aviation always seemed a part of growing up. My father piloted gliders, the ones without engines that get towed up and ride the winds down. When I was fourteen, I did my first “solo.” 14 is the minimum age requirement, and I took the test as soon as humanly possible. I had been practicing under supervision for a year.
Our family got busy with life, so for a while, we didn’t fly much. After turning 23 and thinking more about life questions, I heard about flight school. That inspired me to become an airline pilot, to rediscover my love of flying. At the Reno airport, I got licensed in record time. The commercial license requires 250 hours of flight time. With so many hours to burn, you take any opportunity to fly. That meant taking friends to Lovelock, Carson, and other locales. We’d get lunch and make a day of it.
With the economy and so many laid-off pilots, I figured getting work would be tough, so since then, I’ve focused on teaching part-time. And really, that’s what I prefer. What’s really beneficial is how the lessons of flying carry over to other areas. Everything I’ve done stems from learning to fly. When you’re in a cockpit, you need a flow to looking at everything, or you’ll get overwhelmed. There’s too much to absorb, so one needs a system. When flying, you need to know how high you are, how fast you’re going, where you’re heading, if you’re on-course, if you have fuel. Ignore everything else, and focus on these instruments, the 6-pack. When I’m teaching pilots, we start with the 6-pack and slowly learn more, putting the gigantic, complicated puzzle together one piece at a time. Then it starts making sense, becomes second nature even. You develop a scan, and this eases cockpit management.
Now, with a computer, you also have many little things to manage. To tackle repairs efficiently, you multitask, you breaks things down into chunks. First, we clear out the junk; then we do a virus scan. On the process goes, repairing one compartment or chunk at a time. With learning to fly, Aviation has enriched my life in so many ways. You learn how to process information and simplify the complex.