You know, I often think there are some series that should have a discernible end. It occurred to me that my “Sometime Pilot” series was no different; that there might be a reader or two that wondered ‘whatever became of those flying adventures ...’
So, after some searching, I found my old logbook today. I turned its pages to the last entry ... Biennial Flight Review, sometime in 1995. Almost
24 years ago, as of this writing.
Why did I stop flying? I can vaguely remember that there was a lot going on at that time ... a difficult break-up
of a long-standing relationship, changes in employment and career, discovering what it was like to live by myself for the first time; and later meeting
my future husband and moving to Illinois. Many things that all contrived to push aviation well on to the proverbial back-burner.
The final shove was, in 1999, when I received a diagnosis of type-2 diabetes. Back then, it was quite difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the proper medical certificate which a pilot of any type (commercial or private) must have; in my case, the class 3 certificate. Today, things have changed somewhat, and a private pilot who can meet the FAA’s criteria for type-2 (which include control of the condition by diet, exercise, and certain oral medications only) has an excellent chance of being able to obtain and hold the certificate.
But by that time I was settled in Illinois, with home, family, and obligations to both – now there was more than just me to consider. It no longer seemed a viable idea to resume what is admittedly a risky hobby. I was older and perhaps less adventurous. Also,
there would have been a <i>lot</i> of rust to knock off in order to get current again.
And there was also the expense. Back when I was flying regularly, we used to rent two-seat Cessna airplanes for $25-$50
an hour, depending on the model. And that was just for time the propeller was actually spinning – so if
you went on, say, a four-hour trip, but flew an hour to get to your destination and an hour back, you only paid for two hours’ time on the airplane. Gasoline, of course, was extra but not (then)outrageously expensive. Most pilots could afford to fly enough to stay “current” – meaning you could keep your
skills and pilot knowledge up-to-date (and not be a danger to yourself or anyone else!).
Today,though, those two costs have (no pun intended) skyrocketed. If life and medical considerations hadn’t grounded me, the capital outlay most likely would have.
And, honestly, I no longer have the desire to take a plane up and fly around (especially not here in Illinois where the winds and weather can be
fierce!). Other interests, other responsibilities, “adulting”, other realities continue to take precedence. The cockpit of an airplane
would be a horrible place to have a low-sugar episode.
When I was an active pilot, I never imagined I’d ultimately become one of those who would hang it up for the reasons described above.
So,thus ended the adventures of the Sometime Pilot. Sometimes, though, when I see a small plane in the air, or take a commercial flight from any airport ... my mind goes back to those days and I think for a moment, just a moment, about strapping on a plane again. The moment passes, however,
with a wry smile on my face. The memories are enough now.
The Sometime Pilot Gets Started
The Sometime Pilot Takes The Checkride
More Adventures of the Sometime Pilot
Further Adventures of the Sometime Pilot
The Sometime Pilot goes on an Adventurous Ride
The Sometime Pilot Gets Slightly Spanked