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How'd you start in aviation? Poll


How'd you start in aviation?  

133 members have voted

  1. 1. What was your original airplane training intent?

    • Commercial
      22
    • Instructing
      4
    • Military
      14
    • Private
      93


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Just now, Stetson20 said:

Is your brother still an active SWA Captain? More importantly, did you convince him to buy a Mooney! :D

Yes he is. Denver based. I don't want him to buy a Mooney, we've already got one. I need him to buy a Baron, or a Skywagon, or a SuperCub... but you know airline pilots, they're all cheap. He figures he doesn't need an airplane as long as he can use mine. :D

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For me it was just something I'd wanted to do for as far back as I can remember. The earliest I remember flying was about age 6 in my grandfather's Comanche 250. But I know from my parents, that'd I'd

Well........since you asked, it’s my mother’s fault.  She took as job working for a guy who had a collection of airplanes, named Howard Hughes.  No not that Howard Hughes, a different one but still an

I think i was made in my parents private plane. Since flying privately was cheaper than 3 tickets on the airlines we flew everywhere in our plane. Dad was a chief engineer on a super tanker and would

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From a VERY early age, I remember telling my friends & family that I wanted to be an Army helicopter pilot. I was born in 1969 so either I'm a reincarnated Army pilot OR I watched Vietnam footage at such an early age (I don't have any memory of it) that it imprinted on me. Either way, I went straight in to the Army out of high school and learned to fly the UH-1 at "Mother Rucker" in 1988 at the age of 19. Selected AH-1 Cobra's out of flight school and flew them in Germany, Korea, SWA and back at Rucker as an instructor before leaving the Army in 1995.

I ended up branch transferring to the Navy, where I flew the T-34, T-45, S-3 and B707 (E-6 Mercury). My favorite and most exciting flying memory is getting my carrier qualification in the T-45. Family responsibilities intruded on life, I had a growing family, and I ended up flying 707s. I preferred the excitement of carrier aviation and never thought of, nor planned to fly for the airlines.

After I did my 20 years, I got on with AirTran and was promptly furloughed 9 months later in 2008. It was a blessing in disguise. I ended up going to Iraq to teach the Iraqi Air Force flight program in Kirkuk. It was fun and I really enjoyed the challenge. At the time, the USAF was doing the flying in C172s and C208s, both with G1000 navigation suites and the 172s had Theilert diesel engines. My job was ground instruction and simulator training, which I enjoyed immensely.

While I was furloughed, Southwest Airlines bought out AirTran. I was now (after integration) a newly-minted Southwest FO. I was based in LAS, BWI, MDW and back to LAS as a FO. In 2019, I upgraded to Captain and have held a captains seat at both OAK and LAX.

In 2017, I bought a M20E and had a lot of fun learning to fly a small GA piston airplane. We were running a small business here in Michigan, and when we closed up shop, we decided to move back to Vegas. I didn't have a mission, and didn't feel comfortable flying a non-turbo plane in mountainous terrain out west, so I sold the Mooney. Last year, I started wanting to buy an airplane again. I always kept coming back to the Mooney for it's ownership value. Today, I got the pre-buy results back and am in the process of buying N58089, a Mooney Rocket.

It's been a wild, fun ride and I still have 13+ years until mandatory retirement.

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It was kind of the family business for me.  My dad flew HU-16s, SH-34s, and SH-3s for the Navy.  I was born while he was a T-34 instructor in Pensacola.  I started elementary school on Midway Island watching the single engine fighters refuel on their way to Viet Nam in 65 and 66.   I never really considered that I would do anything else.  I did initially go into Navy ROTC until I realized I didn't like 6 months of water at a pop.  So, I switched to Army ROTC… I liked helicopters better anyway.  I flew UH-1s, CH-47Ds, and AH-64As for 24 years.  The Commercial/Multi/Instrument fixed wing ratings I did on my own.  I'm glad I did since I can't afford to buy a helicopter! 

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2 hours ago, RDuplechin said:

It was kind of the family business for me.  My dad flew HU-16s, SH-34s, and SH-3s for the Navy.  I was born while he was a T-34 instructor in Pensacola.  I started elementary school on Midway Island watching the single engine fighters refuel on their way to Viet Nam in 65 and 66.   I never really considered that I would do anything else.  I did initially go into Navy ROTC until I realized I didn't like 6 months of water at a pop.  So, I switched to Army ROTC… I liked helicopters better anyway.  I flew UH-1s, CH-47Ds, and AH-64As for 24 years.  The Commercial/Multi/Instrument fixed wing ratings I did on my own.  I'm glad I did since I can't afford to buy a helicopter! 

You wouldn't happen to know Bill Ham would you? We went to flight school together in 88-89. He flew AH-64s for nearly 30 years. Retired and went right back to work as a DAC at Hood flying them still!

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Two experiences led to my interest in aviation.

My family has a camp in the north woods of Ontario. The best way in is by float plane, and one of my fondest childhood memories was the last leg of our trip when we would pile all of our supplies into a Beaver. The pilot of that plane - Mel - was a childhood hero of mine. 

Fast forward to age 10. My cousin graduated from the Naval Academy. My jaw dropped when the Blue Angels' A-4 jets tore a hole in the air over the grandstands. That was it for me!! 

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Loved airplanes the first time I saw one. When I was 6 or 7 other kids where playing with toy cars and trucks, I had nothing but airplanes and aircraft carriers. Many a battle were fought in my back yard. When I was 8 my dad’s boss offered him and my older brother a ride in his piper 180 and I promptly pushed my brother out of the way. There was no way I was not going to fly that day. That was my introduction to GA and I couldn’t stop thinking about that flight for weeks. In high school I worked evenings and weekends to make enough money for flight lessons. Shortly after graduating from high school I got my PPL. Then it was off to college to study aeronautical engineering of course, but the plan was to graduate and go to the Air Force or Navy to fly jets. My nearsightedness killed that plan but I graduated with an aero engineering degree and got a job as a structures engineer working on A-7s. Not long after that I got my instrument rating and then came wife and kids and aviation activities slowed down a bit but never stopped. Flew rentals for many years and was part of a Navy flying club with access to T-34Bs for $50 an hour. Flew the hell out of those T-34s. Always loved Mooney’s and a colleague at work had one but was moving up to a twin so I became a Mooney owner. Now over a thousand hours in the old Mooney and I still look forward to the weekends to fly her. Grateful to have spent an entire career (32 years now) working on airplanes (F-18’s now) and looking forward to retirement soon so I can spent more time.....at the airport flying my Mooney.


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My sole intention when I started taking lessons in 1989 was to be a Private Pilot.  Didn’t know anything except wanting to fly, but I remember a Mooney PFM poster at the flight school.  Instrument rating in 1992 and I lucked out buying my first Mooney M20C.

Kept acquiring licenses, and the next thing I knew it was 1999 and I became a flight instructor.  Figured I would be lucky to have a career flying Part 135 cargo.  Regional airline in 2000, changed airlines and started flying an Airbus in 2006.

In the back of my mind, I’m still 24 years old and I figure I’ll be a Private Pilot for the rest of my life.

A few days ago, my 92 year old mother found some of my elementary school work from 1973.  I was 7 years old and said I was going to be a pilot because “I likes planes.”

32E12864-7EC9-451C-9646-AEA0C4D7DD88.jpeg

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I wanted to for a very long time. I looked into while in college. It was much cheaper in the mid 80's than when I finally learned, but still too much for a poor college kid; I made an oddly rational decision at that time.

Many years went by. I got married. Then one day a friend was working out-of-state covering for a coworker out on maternity leave. He's one of those people that does t watch TV and doesn't read books for fun. He has to have projects to work on. So there was an airport near that location, so he took flying lessons. I heard about it from a mutual friend.

My reaction? "Damn, I've always wanted to learn to fly."

I went out and started lessons within a week.



Wayne


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At the time in 1993, my Dad had his license, my older brother had his PPL as well as flying jets in the Navy, so I just decided to do it in between my second and third year of dental school.  Took a couple of months in the summer and got it done.  I’m now the only one flying.  My Dad had heart surgery and lost his medical and never tried to get it back and when my brother retired from the Navy he never went back to civilian flying.  Not sure why on that.  But I fly every chance I get and love my Mooney!!!

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This will be quite a post.  I basically grew up on a grass strip and everybody I knew from when I was age 3-10 had airplanes.  My dad had a C150 when I was born, and bought a Cherokee 180 not long after my sister was born when I was 3.  Dads good friends were crop dusters, retired Navy pilots, and (flying) farmers.  My dad farmed ground around the airport in Monon, IN and so that’s where he kept the 150.  The Cherokee was purchased from a neighbor 1 mile away who had an 1800’ grass strip at his house and we kept it there.  We flew that plane all over and it was particularly awesome when he’d come home from the field and say, “I think I need to check the crops.”  That was code for “We’re going flying”.  We lived under a training route for Grissom AFB too so I got to watch F4s fly over at low level (we could see the pilots when they banked for the turn).  I was 6 when Top Gun came out so I learned about carrier ops from a crop duster named Steve who flew EA-6s around Vietnam.  About 7 I attached a hook to the back of my bike to simulate a trap by tying a rope low between two tree trunks.   I learned about Newton’s first law that day when I didn’t bolter.  I’d been in planes my entire life but I did Young Eagles when I was about 8 with another crop duster, Joe, but in his Funk.  Later, I used to bomb around the countryside with his son who was 2 years younger than me in their Cub during the summer.  He had a grass strip at his house and we’d fly there too, even though it was 30 miles away straight shot on a state highway.  My 3rd grade book report was on Chuck Yeager’s autobiography, and my teacher (who was old enough that she taught my mom in 3rd grade) had to call and ask what “buying the farm” meant in the flying world.  I had my first glider ride with the same CFI that taught my dad and signed his logbook, both the PPL and the IR.  I was hooked.  When I was 17, I met my wife who had lost her father in a plane crash the year before.  I remember the day he crashed because nobody knew who the crop duster was that went down until all the others  returned home that night.  I talked about flying with her but I never pushed the subject.  After we got married, kids came, careers bloomed, and things got in the way.  It took until I turned 40 to start lessons myself.  my wife signed me up after discussions with her boss who is a pilot too and flies his own Citation. I never felt like I was going to fly and when she handed me the Cessna kit, I figured it was just a bag for my son to use.  It’s a slow trip, our careers and kids allow me to fly on Saturday mornings so I do that.  If I can master my short field landings without pretending to be grabbing the third wire, I’d be ready for my practical. I love it, even when I’m having the occasional off day and I basically pay for my 23yo instructor to yell at me, I know she knows I am better than the “off day” but it’s a challenge I love.  Listening to my earlier liveATC recordings I can tell I’ve grown and I can hang with many of you now on the radio.  
 

This is the day she surprised me with my lessons.  Also the day My son and I got our first ride in a Citation too. 

8FCB7F8A-7FB0-4A50-A90B-E20559BEA994.jpeg

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I have a friend that took lessons and got to solo. He was so excited and I was like good for you, but it's not my thing. He got out of it for a few years and a friend of his contacted him and said he wanted to start a flight school and implied as the first student it would be almost free. He invited me and I thought why not. He has an almost new all glass Cessna 172. After a few hours he told us $200 an hour. 

It had gotten my interest and my goal is to move to a tropical paradise in a few years and having a pilots license would be a great way to get around. I decided to go for it and went to the closest airport and found an instructor that said $165 an hour. I had already gotten liability and renters insurance so he lowered the price to $155 an hour. 

Wen I decided to do something I work towards it with full force. My goal was to fly 3 times a week. Of course due to weather and other such that didn't happen. I started in December and hope to finish in June. 6 months is still a long time, but it's better than others I have seen that take years.

One of the first things I started studying was to define my mission. In my home life efficiency is important. Waste not, want not. Before covid I like to cruise and that's over 700 miles from me to Florida cruise ports. I used this to define my mission and was easily able to determine a Mooney was the right fit for me. 

You could say I wanted to learn to fly so I could buy a Mooney and travel easier. Well I'm not sure about easier, but quicker and I'm sure easier will come with time.

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I have very early memories as a 'little one' of climbing into the back of our station wagon (well before seat belt laws and when kids freely roamed vehicles) with my face pressed against the side rear window as we drove by the local airport hoping I would see an airplane taking off or landing.  I have had the bug since I can remember.  Airplanes are just cool. People who work around them are even cooler.  I guess I am just Pink Floyd's 'Earth Bound Misfit'.

My journey started with Tamiya remote control cars which were great and a whole lot of fun.  After I learned to assemble, operate and rebuild them, I figured I should tackle Remote Control Airplanes.  Flying was my first true love of course, so why not?! I started in middle school with a 3 channel off brand airplane and then was on to Carl Goldberg's 'Eagle 63', a Great Plane's P-51 (sweet Bird), the Great Plane's Tiger 60 (souped-up with with retracts and a Big Ole 4 stroke swingin' a huge prop) etc. 

When I started R/C flying, my R/C Instructor wouldn't solo me.  So after a while I decided to solo myself while my dad was at work... in our front yard and over our horse pasture. I was successful the first few times. Thank God I didn't hit one of my sister's horses... Sheesh, this story would have ended very abruptly!   Shortly thereafter, my Dad and I began repairing and building RC planes together. :)  It was a great way for us to bond and share a common interest in spite of my exuberant teenage year's dramas. He loved the craftmanship of the kits and I loved to fly them. We still have 7+ surviving R/C planes hanging up in their house which always remind me of how aviation saved the relationship between me and my Dad.  My Dad still to this day, 30+ years later will stop everything and ask me questions about flying and listen for as long as I can talk.  What is just 'work' to me is an adventurous story to him.  To have my Dad hang on every word about my travels and experiences is still shocking to me.... I was the twerp that broke all his stuff while I was growing up and here he is hanging on my tales...?! Flying gave this bond to us.

I solo'd in a C-152 (N65427) my junior year of high school and I basically gave up everything for flying.  I was hooked!  High school ended and I had to do something.  I was very fortunate that my Mom and Dad sent me to a small aviation university in Florida. I still think they were more surprised that I got into a university than I was.  I got an 'Airline Pilot' degree and.... took it to the Army and learned to fly Attack Helicopters. My poor parents! I always wanted to serve our country, I was a Pilot at heart and the Army (unwisely) took me in and taught me to fly AH-64's. What an experience.  The Army is really, *Really* good at training - I am proof. The instructors & mentors I was lucky enough to encounter there are national treasures in my humble opinion.  The Apache will always be my true love.  She was a veritable Magic Carpet Ride.  Fun, honest and always brought me home.  Special place in my heart for Her!

After active duty I have flown my old Thorp T-18, Twin Comanche's, Seminole's, EC-120's, Bell 206's more General Aviation (my therapy), Regional Jets (CRJ-200's & ERJ-145XR's), OH-58's, UH-72's, Army King Air's and a Boeing 73 for my current beLUVed civilian job.  

During college, I flew M20J's and earned a few of my certificates in them.  Comm ASEL, INST rating, and CFII.  I was always amazed at the grace and finesse of a Mooney's handling during precision instrument flying.  Aerodynamically they are amazing when you consider their engineering, efficiency and craftmanship.  It was only a matter of time before I got back into Mooney's.  Apache's will always have my heart, but Mooney's will be my therapy.

Part of the reason to get back into Mooney's is to travel our Beautiful country with my daughter.  When I logically assessed the airframe needed to do this, Mooney's were the only choice.  Their safety (4130 Chromoly Tubing Frame), efficiency (NM/gal), and my sentimental attachment made it an easy choice.  

[Ramble Switch - OFF]

Edited by hobbit64
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@Gubni see if you can add a location to your avatar data fields...

Then look for posts regarding flying the keys...   :)

There is a great set of videos posted by an MSer recently...

Traveling gets easier the more often you go...

Including 900nm trips with a full IR flight plan generated within hours... like the time it takes for breakfast...

 

@hobbit64 have you seen @A64Pilot?  You two might know a few things...  just a guess.

Best regards,

-a-

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15 minutes ago, A64Pilot said:

Maybe, I Retired from the Army in 02, I suspect he came later, but it’s possible we may know a few of the same people.

I was flying -64’s from ‘98 to late ‘03.  I was in 1/2 Attack at Camp Page, Korea and then to Fort Bragg for the rest of my time. Well, my stuff was at Bragg but I was usually not there with my stuff. It was a busy time for us all. 

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On 4/30/2021 at 2:40 PM, Andy95W said:

My sole intention when I started taking lessons in 1989 was to be a Private Pilot.  Didn’t know anything except wanting to fly, but I remember a Mooney PFM poster at the flight school.  Instrument rating in 1992 and I lucked out buying my first Mooney M20C.

Kept acquiring licenses, and the next thing I knew it was 1999 and I became a flight instructor.  Figured I would be lucky to have a career flying Part 135 cargo.  Regional airline in 2000, changed airlines and started flying an Airbus in 2006.

In the back of my mind, I’m still 24 years old and I figure I’ll be a Private Pilot for the rest of my life.

A few days ago, my 92 year old mother found some of my elementary school work from 1973.  I was 7 years old and said I was going to be a pilot because “I likes planes.”

32E12864-7EC9-451C-9646-AEA0C4D7DD88.jpeg

I still have a plastic plate from 3rd grade in 1973 that preserves for all time my love of airplanes.   On it is the best drawing I could muster of a 1958 Aero Commander 500 that my dad owned a share in.

I got my license as soon as I turned 16.   Top Gun made me consider Naval Aviation but my 20/25 vision ended that dream.  Never thought I would own an airplane, but then I decided to quit being a professor, and got a real, paying job!  Then I discovered Mooney.  Livin' the dream now.

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On 3/28/2021 at 4:10 PM, KLRDMD said:

One of these days I have to get my single engine ATP - just because. I only have multi now.

In Canada the ATPL covers both.  My best friend did the ATPL just for the challenge as he had the required time and other ratings.  He followed that with an instructor rating just because.

Clarence

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I wonder out loud...

How did the coolest guy in Mooney aviation maintenance get started in aviation...?

I zipped through the thread again... maybe I missed it.

:)
 

Clarence, did I mention...? you are the best!

Best regards,

-a-

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Well........since you asked, it’s my mother’s fault.  She took as job working for a guy who had a collection of airplanes, named Howard Hughes.  No not that Howard Hughes, a different one but still an aviation nut.

My mother got my older brother a job as an apprentice AME working for Howard.  My brother leaned to fly and took me flying in one of Howard’s planes, a J-3 Cub. I swallowed the hook quite deeply.  I played with numerous Cox line controlled model airplanes as a kid, with the dream of one day becoming a pilot, never dreaming that one day I’d be able to own one.

My brother went on in aircraft maintenance eventually managing a shop, as the shop got busier he offered me an apprenticeship and trained me.  That was 38 years ago.  He eventually moved on to the airline and then corporate world.  I took over running the shop for awhile before deciding to venture out and start my own business.  That was 31 years ago.

I started building an RV4 while I was single, marriage and then children saw a need for a practical family airplane.  First was a 1964 E model, followed by a 1966 E model, a Comanche 180 and then the Comanche 400.  I eventually finished the RV-4 and bought a Mooney Mite in Texas, which I’m restoring slowly, it will be my retirement airplane.
 
A few years ago we along with our best friends bought and restored a Cessna 150M for our families to use for flight training.  Three licences later it’s time with us is winding down.  Late last year we bought an RV-7A as a follow on to the Cessna.  Unfortunately I had an engine failure in it while flying this winter, resulting in an off airport landing and a somewhat damaged plane, luckily with no injuries to me other than my pride.

I discovered Mooneyspace about 7 years ago and have been hanging out with you guys, my extended online family ever since. 
 

Now like you guys I’m waiting for an end to Covid so we can meet up at Oshkosh.

Clarence

 

 

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5 hours ago, M20Doc said:

discovered Mooneyspace about 7 years ago and have been hanging out with you guys, my extended online family ever since. 

just try and leave.....:D
Your knowledge and generosity in helping us out is priceless 

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Vaccinations are up...

Vaccine eligibility has reached younger kids... 

Covid is declining... (two days without a death reported around here)

SnF hasn’t reported any Covid related issues that I am aware of...

KOSH continues to get planned...

Thanks for sharing the awesome details Clarence!

That’s a lot of aviation in one family... Go Moms!  :)

Best regards,

-a-

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Went back to the Canadian Military College in Kingston in 1985.  During my second year there, I found, since I was not a cadet this go round, I had Friday afternoons free.  I had originally joined the military to be a pilot but my eyes were not of “eagle” grade so I ended up in the signal corps. 

With the pay of a Captain, and a free afternoon a week, it took me six months to get my license. 

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