Catching the Bug to Fly

When I was a boy, I first got the bug to fly from my father. He passed it on to me by buying me my first kit plane. I remember it like it was yesterday. He took me to a local hobby store and showed me rubber band powered, tissue paper/balsa wood planes that you could build yourself and fly. Up to this time, I had taken out my urges to understand how things work on my parents unsuspecting clocks, fans, and anything else that I could take apart and examine in order to feed my need to build and understand. By the time I was 8 years old or so, I was actually pretty successful at putting things back together again.

This however was an altogether new level of creativity. Under my father’s patient supervision, we were both building flying airplanes. What a thrill! I was literally beside myself. That initial shove into the unknown lead me further and further out of my comfort zone…..and it felt great. Rubber band powered kit planes eventually led to “U Control” motorized planes and Remote Control Planes.

Many years later, when my youngest son was 11 years old, I returned the favor. I asked Alex if he’d be interested in joining a local RC Airplane Club (the “Merokees”) and learn to build and fly RC Airplanes. His answer was a resounding Yes!

Over the next 2 years we both enjoyed the comradery of building, flying and learning together. It also allowed us to bond in yet another way. There’s nothing like the “Creative Environment” that occurs when your mind is struggling to learn new things; uncomfortable and yet wonderful at the same time.

I had always wanted to be a real pilot ever since my early days as a “Rubber Band” kit plane pilot. Surprisingly to me, many of my fellow “Merokees” were also real pilots and encouraged me to do the same. I had always rationalized that becoming a pilot was outside my reach. Too expensive, too much work to attain, too much everything. I talked to my wife about it, and as always, anything that she knew that I really wanted to do, she encouraged me to do just that.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but not only did I become a pilot, but 6000 work hours later, I had also built an airplane (intro pic) and became a licensed pilot in the airplane that I built. As Napoleon Hill said: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

Do you have any stories about flying?