After almost a decade of flying, last year marked the end of a chapter of my flying or rather the end of my first log book and the start of a fresh new one with scores of pages ready to be filled! I was glad I did not need to scratch off the 19 and put a 20 any more. Rummaging through the pages of the log book brought back fond memories of past adventures. The very first entry from almost twelve years ago read “Intro Flt”. Two simple words filled with the immense exhilaration of taking flight literally! The start of my flight training was not straight forward. I never met my first would be instructor. The second instructor lasted 4 lessons. Traversing three different flight schools at the same airport, and four different instructors before finally sheer determination won the day!
Then there was the entry my instructor had made in my log book “1st Solo SBP winds 300 @25“, for that incredible moment when all alone in the cockpit, heart beating fast, I had wondered if I could remember all that I had learned so far and could safely bring it down on that strip of runway. That incredible day is still vividly etched in my memory as if it were yesterday.
“Xtry” highlighted my foray into solo cross country flying to satisfy the FAA requirements to obtain the private pilot license. It was one of those hazy days. My destination King City just a short 50nm hop away. My goal was to keep the 101 freeway in sight and follow its meandering path lest I lose my way. I still remember the initial timid, hesitant steps as I inched past Paso, ready to turn back if uncomfortable. The feeling of joy when I first spotted the airport was indescribable.
Then there was the succinct “W/ Mom!” appended to the flight log record practicing landings. My mom was the first family member who had flown with me and survived my landing practices during my flight training. The most challenging part of my training were the landings. I still remember the innumerable flights and innumerable landing practices. Any overview of my log book would be incomplete without the myriads of landings I practiced over and over again: soft field, short field or normal landing practice with and without family members I took as passengers with my instructor including my three year old nephew.
“I did it!” Three simple words portray all the exhilaration and sense of achievement I felt. I still remember the day in early May. It was the day of the Kentucky Derby. Everything appeared to go well except the side slip which I managed to demonstrate reasonably given a second chance. Landing in SLO, I wasn’t sure what the outcome was going to be. Was it going to be the pink slip? Hearing my examiner announce “We have another pilot” on the CTAF was pure music. The culmination of all the hard work, the support of my instructors, friends and examiner. It was definitely one of those stops etched with indelible ink: A milestone reached!