The Liberty Gazette
September 22, 2009
September 22, 2009
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely
Linda: Fellow air racer Lynda Meeks is an impressive woman with superior leadership skills who commands a Cessna Citation X corporate jet for charter. Lynda not only flies, she founded Girls With Wings, a non-profit organization using aviation “to educate girls about their limitless opportunities for personal growth.” When she’s not flying clients around the country she’s devoting her time to encouraging youth to follow their dreams. Recent posts on Lynda’s blog give an excellent snapshot of her profession, and the passion of an aviator. (http://www.girlswithwings.com/)
Lynda wrote, “Being a pilot is a constant challenge. From flight to flight, there are serious implications found in failure, right? There are degrees of failure, of course. Catastrophic, obviously, but we pilots are constantly grading our landings. There are ‘greasers’ but most landings are, shall we say, ‘controlled crashes.’ A big theme in comments from newer pilots is that they are having trouble getting their landings down. Well, an honest old salt pilot will tell you that he or she never gets those landings ‘down.’ There should always be a thought process involved throughout this phase of flight. That time that you take your mind off your landing, it will bite you – in a demonstration of exactly how good those landing gear struts are. And then you get to limp to your parking spot feeling like your passengers are glaring at the back of your head for fooling that examiner into thinking you deserved a pilot's license. And then there are those challenging weather days, busy airports, checkrides (whether for your semi-annual proficiency, a new, faster or more complex airplane, etc.) and other tests of your skills, that keep you moving along on your path of being a pilot. What makes being a pilot most rewarding is how difficult it is. There will be checkride failures and frustrations, bad landings and maintenance failures. If everyone could do it, with little practice, training, knowledge or skill, what would be the point in it? So I was thinking of a Facebook friend, Sarah, who posted, ‘so they say I'm ready to solo... I say they're out of their minds.’ I was thinking she needed some advice dispensed by Hannah Montana (if you tell anyone I suggested this, I'll totally deny it). The intro of the song says, ‘I can almost see it, That dream I'm dreaming, But there's a voice inside my head saying, You'll never reach it.’ If people told you how stressful it was to be a pilot, how checkride-itis could turn your stomach into knots, that a grouchy controller can give you such a hard time after missing a read-back, and other setbacks or stumbles, would you still do it? Yet these are such minor bumps in the big scheme of things.”
Lynda encourages student pilots to take it one accomplishment at a time, and enjoy the view. “But know that to continue with new and wondrous views (as I always say, my cockpit is a small office with a great view), use the first achievement to bolster the next. It doesn't make that next checkride any easier, but knowing you have flown an airplane – All. By. Yourself. – should propel you to the next step.”
Mike: Seasoning comes with time and each flight is an accomplishment adding up to a wonderful experience. I like Lynda’s encouragement of youth to persevere in whatever they do.
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.