Updated: Aug 14
I've had an interest in flying from about 9 years old and my dad was learning to fly at the time.
Dad was a miner in Rock Springs Wyoming at that time. We lived in a nice trailer in Green River not to far away but had recently moved away from a huge family in Colorado Springs. So flying would be a lot faster to move about.
He said with all the nice plateau in the area, building a small landing strip and office would be ideal. I started daydreaming about it and drawing how we would build the office.
Men back then seemed to be able to just about anything with seeming ease. Dad was no exception and was soon flying and starting his own Construction Company.
I remember going up with him on a number of occasions before he started being comfortable enough to fly the entire family around. He always tried flying on the best days and those flights were cloudless. He talked about how nice it was being above them as they filled the entire sky. "A bit like heaven." Seeing for myself what he had seen became a goal that would be fulfilled much later in life.
During and after re-locating back to Colorado Springs, Colorado I remember a series of day and night flights with the whole family. The ones that stick out are super cold night flights. Despite being bundled up in heavy clothes and in sleeping bags, I just couldn't shake the cold. I wanted to sleep and wake up when it was all over.
He ran Construction jobs all over Colorado and Wyoming and we would occasionally get to go for short stays back to Wyoming. Then suddenly one day he sold the plane to some playboy with attached arm-babes who used cocaine and arm-babe breasts to talk my dad down in price. He crashed that plane and those girls into the side of Pikes Peak. They all died.
Later I had also found out that what caused Dad to sell his Piper Cherokee was getting caught in a snowstorm with zero visibility on one of his trips. He was working his way towards his Instrument Rating but was not fully trained, nor did he have enough experience. It scared and humiliated him so bad when he had to call for help and be directed down it broke him a bit and he only flew Ultralights for awhile after that. My mother freaked and would never let me go up with him in one of those.
Moving ahead ten more years and I've graduated college and am starting to buy computers that can do flight simulation. Well they sucked and so did I. It's just to point out I still had the desire to learn and started when I could. It would not be until twenty more years that the simulators were getting good enough to really start learning.
I had it in my head that if I could not learn how to do everything I could perfectly in a simulator I would give up ever learning to fly for real and almost did quit when I discovered fast I could not l
and a plane without crashing. This developed a horrible phobia. For the next TWO years I would practice landing when there was time or I had found enough desire to face it again. Then there was a BREAKTHROUGH!
A breakthrough for Microsoft and a breakthrough for me. I stuck a landing. They go hand in hand.
Microsoft released FLIGHT. A small territory simulator with a few planes as well as introducing the world to the ICON A5. A light Sport Plane that has an interior more like a car. The interior is so non intimidating it makes it approachable and makes one feel anyone can fly. It can land on ground or on water and is built in such a way it does not like to stall. It can fly slow and as fast as any noob needs to be going. It's so low to the ground making the transition from sky to earth is more like landing a car. That was my breakthrough!
I started sticking landings as well as started enjoying the performance of the Icon to sly in tight places like over golf courses or winding my way between wind towers.
When I say I started sticking landings, they were few and far between. Yet I did not have over a 1% chance to land anymore. That slowly started becoming 3%, 5%, 10%, 30%, 50%!
I was still SIR CRASH-A-LOT but there was hope!
Here is me doing some questionably survivable landings on turf and ground with the Icon. It would have helped had I put down the landing gear...and even then. But look at how much it's like a car from inside the cockpit and and how low and slow and comfortable I seem flying around. It's an amazing little creation.
Until I ran into the next thing that stopped me from learning for the next several years.
Here is me in the last year in the X-Plane11 Flight Simulator making an evening landing at a Colorado Springs runway. A bit close to stall speed on approach but nice and clean and on the centerline.