Why do I fly?

Time for a more philosophical look at the general aviation pilot. I read this fantastic post on USEnet by Allan Lieberman and made me evaluate why I chose to partake in the ritual madness of flying, or more realistically, the art of converting cash into lift.

For me, flying is all about knowing your alive because literally your life is in your hands. You could argue that it is no different to when you drive your car or go for a walk around the block but when you are at 4000 feet and you look down knowing that coming down is inevitable, its just a matter of when and how, you really feel alive. To me, that knowledge is both exhilarating and terrifying. The other quality that feeling has, and I'd say 99% of pilots feel it, is addiction. I now understand why extreme athletes do what they do, why people jump off perfectly good bridges with an elastic band tied to their feet, why people jump out of aircraft and off mountains trusting their life to a piece of synthetic fabric. I always feel better after a flight than before, and Susan will bundle me off to the Aero Club for a flight when I start moping around home.

But its not only that, its also a very goal focussed pastime. When I started out, all I focussed on was flying the aircraft the way my instructor wanted me to fly it. That progressed to readying myself for the eventual day that I'd be asked to take an aircraft up solo. From there, things built up to my first solo cross country, then finally my PPL checkride. As I said in an earlier post, I gained my license without giving any thought to where I wanted to go next with my flying. People would ask me if I was going on to press on for a CPL and I couldn't answer them sincerely because I honestly didn't know. That lead me to feel kind of stranded because I had no reason to fly, no goal to aim at. I found out then how important having a goal is to my flying, and following other online pilots I now make goals at the beginning of each year.

I don't fly for the sake of flying, although some times thats all the motivation I need. As Allan said in his post, I am one of a privileged few who are able to take to the skies on a whim. Its a great feeling.


kiwis can fly said…
Great to hear your views on your passion! Makes me want to learn to fly!