Friday, May 11, 2018

Nothing Like Flying

Many of you have been following my blog for some time now and understand how much I love motorcycling. However, this past year and a half motorcycling has taken a bit of a backseat. I have been learning to fly and it has been a life-changing experience. Let me explain. 

The art of learning to fly is like a child learning the basic fundamentals of how to do things on your own and how to be a good human being. Flying teaches us how to be aware of our surroundings, what the difference is between good and bad decision making, how to manage risk, how to plan and prepare, how to understand your overall health and well being, and most of all how to have fun. On top of that, flying has made me a meteorologist minus the degree to prove it.  However, I was lucky enough to be accepted in the Skywarn program under the National Weather Service umbrella. Meaning, I have a certificate to prove it!    

Back in March, the wind and weather were calm. It was a cool and perfect spring morning. My instructor surprised me with, "I'm hoping to solo you today". I felt like someone punched me in my stomach. Riding a motorcycle was one thing, but flying a plane all by myself just made me nervous thinking about it. At least if I drop a motorcycle, the ground is right there and believe me I've done it a bunch of times. Especially when I first started learning how to ride. Now I had to fly an airplane alone! My instructor went up with me a couple times and then finally said, "drop me off, it's your turn". 

As I taxied off the runway to drop him off, I begin sweating like a running back who just ran 90 yards. I shut down the engine, he hops out. I take my jacket off because the heat was just building up. I go through my checklist to start the plane up again. I taxi over to do my engine runup and checks.

Then I radio to ground control for a taxi clearance:

Me: "Binghamton Ground Sportstar N29EV"
ATC: "Binghamton Ground, go ahead Sportstar N29EV"
Me: "I'm on the west ramp requesting to stay in the pattern I'm ready to taxi with information Bravo" ATC: "Sportstar N29EV, proceed to runway 10 via Lima Kilo"
Me: runway 10 via lima kilo 29EV

Taxing to runway 10.

Hold Short line at runway 10
When I get to the hold short line at runway 10
Me: "Binghamton Tower Sportstar 29EV is ready for take-off runway 10"
ATC: "Sportstar 29EV cleared for take-off runway 10, winds blah blah, cleared for right traffic"
Me: "Cleared for take-off runway 10 right traffic"
My take-off solo flight in an Evektor Sportstar Max, LSA.
Landing #2.

Taxing back to the west ramp after a successful solo flight of 3 take-offs and 3 landings.
Just like that, I had flown a plane all by myself. By the time I had my third take-off and landing, I was confident in my skill to fly the aircraft. I was still sweating, but I believed in myself. I was thinking the whole time "Wow, I just flew an airplane". It was scary, it was fun and it was hard. There was nothing easy about it. Out of my three solo landings, the second one was the best landing to date. I wish that wasn't so, but you only get good at something by doing it often and learning from mistakes. I guess flying has also taught me to never give up. It's a new passion that I have found, that I have felt empty without. 

You can follow my progress and flying adventures on my YouTube channel:

Well, folks, I would love to write some more, but I have a flight lesson in an hour.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Poem: The Warmth of the Sun

Beauty is not only seen but it is felt
An emotion that really hits you under the belt
Your body and mind become one
Your soul has been begging you for this type of fun
Time has been the enemy
Routine has been the cause of bad chemistry

Photo Taken on Stock Island at Boyd's Campground and RV Resort

The sun will be the cure
Today you are free to explore
Free your mind, body and soul
For tomorrow has yet to take its toll.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Theory of Time, Is It An Off and On Switch?

It's a new year and we are all taught to make resolutions. But, what does the term "it's a new year" really mean?

Do we just struggle so much that we have to create an artificial time switch? For a bad year, we switch it off? For a good year, we switch it on? Do you believe that yesterday's actions affect today, and actions today will affect tomorrow? See, even that has a switch! Forget the past, focus on today and hope for tomorrow. We are always hitting the switch to start over! Why?? Why can't things remain constant no matter the struggle or time?

Albert Einstein proposed that "time is a relative concept and the higher you live above sea level the faster you should age." Well thanks, Einstein you just complicated this even more. So not only do we have a time switch, it's where we live that affects how we use that switch or if we use it at all. Einstein's theory has been proved true by experts. I haven't read their findings. I'm not a physicist so I probably would only understand half of what they wrote. Nonetheless, this makes you think. I feel that most scientists are great at what they do, but they are so far out of touch with the world around them. You know, common sense, feelings, relationships and such. Would Einstein have been a different man had he meditated or did yoga every day? What would that Einstein have looked like? Would his theory of time still have meant the same to him, no matter what the math revealed?

I don't have the answers to all these questions. Maybe you do? Maybe you don't either. Perhaps you have never even thought about any of this. All I know is that my new life goal is to forget about the time switch or the resetting of time. My mind has been such a cluster f*@k as of late and it's making me exhausted mentally and physically. I feel I'm overdue on focusing time on myself.

With a strong focus on my inner chi, I feel that I will finally be able to achieve self-actualization I need to find the energy from within that moves me in harmony with the present. I feel that is truly the way one should live or at least how I would like to try to live. 

How about you? What is your take on new years and starting new plans? Do you contemplate some of the very questions I asked myself? I'd love to hear what you have to say. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Edwin A. Link - Inventor of the "Link Trainer"

You are probably scratching your head trying to figure out who Edwin A. Link is. You can think all you want, but if you don't follow aviation then you will probably never figure it out. Unless of course, you are a historian or enthusiast of history from that era. 

As for me, I happened to move to Binghamton, NY where the airport is actually named after Mr. Link. I have been learning to fly with Aero-Techniques, a flight school located at the Greater Binghamton Airpot-Edwin A. Link Field. I had never heard of this guy before. His pictures are posted all over the FBO (Fixed-Based Operator, aka business taking care of the general aviation flights coming in).

One of the posters found around the FBO that explains what instruments are found on the panel.

1936 -Edwin A. Link with Amelia Earhart. Amelia trained in the Link Trainer prior to her flight around the world.

I saw an early model of the Link Trainer on display at the Glenn Curtiss Museum in NY.

Here is a great video found on YouTube by user okrajoe . It describes the experience the pilot goes through to obtain instrument training.

Mr. Link was born in Indiana but had moved to Binghamton NY, so his story goes. In Binghamton is where he designed the first simulator which changed the aviation industry forever. I have yet to experience flight training in a simulator. They have come a long way since the Link trainer.

I hope one to get the opportunity. Have you ever done flight training in a simulator? If so, it would be great to hear how your experience went.
Thanks for reading this brief history lesson on Edwin Albert Link.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

To the Atmosphere and Beyond

A quote from Socrates,

"Man must rise above the Earth — to the top of the atmosphere and beyond — for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives." 

The photo was taken above the Chesapeake Bay.

I am not a man, nor have I made it to the atmosphere and beyond. I have however gone up far enough in a plane to fully understand the world in which I live in.

We are mere droplets of color on a charted map that does not judge us by who we are. Towns, cities, lakes, streams, and railroad tracks may separate us but they do not confine us. At 3,000 feet in the sky, the world below me shines with beauty. My charts used for navigation guide me along a path of wonders. A bit lower and I can see women hanging clothes out to dry in their yard. A boy riding his bicycle down a rural road. A farmer tending to his fields. A kayaker taking on one of the finger lakes. Factories with smoke billowing out of the tall exhaust pipes. Solar farms larger than life out in the middle of nowhere.

When I see this world through my eyes as a pilot, the world does not speak back to me. It does not tell me, that farmer was a Republican or that lady was a Jew or this town is filled with racists, or that river is polluted by that factory, or that college has sexual assault cases pending against it or that town is an LBGT community. My navigation charts do not label the world we live in, in such a way that we as humans label ourselves and the things around us. We judge we persecute, we hate, we disrespect, we show no discipline, and we allow for the violation of our own space to occur.

Why have we lost sight of the beauty around us? Is it an attempt to just lash out at everything that has ever undermined our well-being. For every time you never got to go to the movies, or spend the night at a friends house, or missed out on a party or lost a job to perhaps a better candidate. or heartbroken by those we thought we loved the most.

While many do not have an opportunity to sit as a pilot in a cockpit and view the world below them. Many do have the capacity to open their eyes and hearts to see and feel what is right there in front of them and surrounding them daily. We become blinded by the mundane human daily rituals of life itself. We no longer take the time to appreciate the beautiful, the ugly, the delicious or the distasteful. We have almost stopped learning.

I think Socrates had it right. We need to seek a path so far beyond our reach in order to truly understand what is going on around us. How will you make that happen in your life? Let's start a conversation. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

My Cat Sunny

Pets are something else. For those of us that do not have kids, they are our children. We care for them, love them, feed them and spend money on them. Some people go as far as buying clothes, fancy beds and making fresh food. Sunny came with the husband. It was a package deal. Sunny is a male cat and is about 12 years old now. He has only in the last year really begun to get close to me. The same sort of connection he has with my husband. I mean not as deal and unconditional, but I will take what I can get. Usually, I am the third wheel in this family. Since Sunny has come into my life every day has been an adventure with him. I decided to share his greatest moments since I joined the family. 

Tucked under the warm covers.

He will stare at our wedding photos for minutes at a time.
Showing daddy some love.

Showing mommy some love.
He loves to go for walks and lay in the grass.

He has his GQ moments. Watch out lady cats!

Helping me complete a puzzle. Well, he thought he was helping.

His first Christmas with us in our new home in a new state.

He loves his new bed.

He loves to lounge and watch TV with us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Who are you?

Who are we? Are we defined by our hobbies or interests? Our political views or religious background? What makes you, you? I can't be the only person out there that questions these sort of things in life. The other day I read a quote that went something like this, "We show our family one side of ourselves, our friends another side, and our true self no one sees". That really sort of spoke to me. Do we unintentionally do this or is it something that we just aren't even aware of?

For many of us, we probably are aware of it. Especially if your family is extremely conservative, while your friends maybe more liberal in their thinking, politics aside. The sad part of the quote is that we never show our "true self" to anyone. I find this hard to believe, but there must be some truth to it.

I guess a good example might be that all your friends love outdoor activities, like hiking for example, but your really don't. However, you never say anything because being with your friends is more important to you than saying you don't like to go hiking. A lifetime could go by and yet that friend or friends think you've always enjoyed hiking with them. When in fact is was just the company that meant something to you. You could have cared less about climbing Everest or hiking the Appalachian trail.

That said, is that really what the quote means about our true self? Or does it go deeper than that to how we love, laugh and cry. Is it our art or creative side that speaks to who we really are. Sort of like a silent friend or family member. Think about it, if you turned the clocks back to a time where there really wasn't a 8-5 or a 5 day work week. A time when your skill defined you, your knowledge made you who you are. Perhaps your discovery brought you the attention you desired. Where people then showing their true self more often than we do now? Probably not.
Photo taken in Centrailia, PA
I mean, we as humans have always done things to impress others. The "keeping up with the Joneses", is not really an exaggerated statement. Perhaps this is the reason we never show our true self.

Well whatever the answer might be, a sip more of my coffee and the topic no longer matters.

Have a great day folks!