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!
Each year as September rolls in, it is hard to not reflect on 9/11. This year marks twenty years since that fateful day. Has it really been that long?
This year as I reflect, here are some articles I have written on the topic over the last twenty years.
As I started to write this, I was struck by the enormity of what happened on September 11, 2001. It is more than a month now, yet those atrocious attacks remain fresh in my mind like yesterday. What happened there must never be allowed to happen again, not here nor anywhere else in the world. Much more than peoples lives was lost that day. It is upto each one of us to contribute in our own ways to rebuild the future. As aviators it is important now more than ever, to come out and fly to promote the cause of the future of General Aviation. Continue to read here.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
— taken from the Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
“It must be difficult for you that there is no way to lock your aircraft. Quite easy for someone to break in and fly away” I said without thinking. Continue to read here.
We Will Always Remember
The weather has been dreary all week. Lee was making it’s way up the coast bringing rain, flooding, power outages and playing havoc. As if we haven’t already had enough. Rattled by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms. Despite the external havoc, the foremost thought on everyone’s mind the last few days was the one thing that we will never forget. How could we? From front page footage of scenes reviving the horror, to recollections, and never before seen or heard stories of one of the worst tragedies to touch the free world. The somberness reflected on each and every face: remembering the horror of this day, ten years ago. It was gloomy on all fronts all week. Continue to read here.
9/11: Thirteen years later…
We’ve come a long way since that horrific day, thirteen years ago. Time has only proved how resilient we are. Continue to read here.
In a way 9/11 triggered my childhood fascination for writing.
2001 was the year, I got my PPL. I could finally become a full member of the 99s. It was the year I took over as the editor of the Slipstream, the newsletter for my local chapter. Continue to read here.
Derby Day. Check-ride Anniversary. And most importantly the simply joy of flying!
May is always memorable. I got my Private Pilot Certificate. Three years later I got my Instrument rating.
“I hope we will be done by 3:00 pm, ” said Wanda, “I wan’t to watch the Kentucky Derby”
“I hope so too,” thought I. “With positive results.” For it was the day of my private pilot check-ride and I wanted to get home without a pink slip!
It was also Derby Day. And getting home to watch the race would be good too…
I did make it home in time to catch the race that day. That was 16 years ago!
As it happens, Derby day is tomorrow this year (5/6/2017).
Always Dreaming or Fast and Accurate?
Take your pick!
Rest in Peace!
(CNN)More than 100 years after Harriet Quimby broke down barriers as the first woman to earn a pilot certificate, there are still very few women who choose flying as a career.
Continue to read the full article on here.
In a way 9/11 triggered my childhood fascination for writing.
2001 was the year, I got my PPL. I could finally become a full member of the 99s. It was the year I took over as the editor of the Slipstream, the newsletter for my local chapter.
It was the year, I started my blog. Sadly enough the first ever article I ever posted was an editorial in the Slipstream entitled: We will never forget.
Here is a link to what I posted on my blog last year: We will always remember.
And the link to an article I posted on the tenth anniversary: This day, Ten Years Ago.
It is a great country we live in. In memory of that day, and all the freedoms we have fought to retain, I flew this morning down the Potomac river for a practice flight and on a good note I have my sign off finally for my commercial check ride!
“Sri Rama Chandra Murthy!” yelled Chung.
The voice reverberated across the floor. Each of us, stopped what we were doing, while we waited for the echo to end and peered around to see what the ruckus was about. A yell from Chung of this magnitude meant only one thing: not good.
“Keep your shirt on, Chung. I am right here,” Sri responded, with a hint of laughter in his voice, after what seemed an eternity, getting up from one of the desks in the corner.
Chung eyed him squarely, as if he could devour him with his gaze. “And what took you so long to respond?” he queried sternly. “I thought you might like a moment to chill out,” smiled Sri, nonchalantly and easily, as he headed over to the front desk.
“Hey dude, you know I thought you handled Bert with aplomb. I knew I could count on you. Hearing you giving him the run through on the club rules and how you would make mince-meat of him if he even had a single straying thought in that direction was superb. You know I always admire the way you handle things around here with the precision of the military general. You know you never finished telling me the story about how you…”, the voices faded as Sri, yet again smoothly and suavely, averted another showdown with Chung and had him distracted enough, to be eating out his hands. I could soon hear laughter as yet again Chung reminisced about his war days recounting another of his escapades, the issue with Bert long forgotten.
Sri was an easy going chap, always smiling, cheerful and well-loved equally by instructors and students alike. He had a sharp mind, a computer engineer by profession, and a flight instructor by choice. He had shown up at the flight school a couple of years ago wanting to get flying lessons. He had swarmed through the professional program that Dessert Air offered from private pilot to certified flight instructor within a year and was now a part time CFI. Most weekends he could be seen hanging out in the lounge when not teaching, having long debates with anyone who was around about any topic in the world. He was a geek at heart.
Truth be told, I had a fondness for Sri. He was my first student at Dessert Air.
One fine summer morning, he had shown up at the flight school asking about classes. Things were slow. Not too many students to feed all the out of work CFI. I hung around the lounge, anxious to get in the air even if in a two seater. Being in the air felt normal. Sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone or something was not my thing.
On one of those bright summer mornings, Sri had shown up promptly at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning. I could hear the excitement in his voice as he queried the front desk personnel, “I want to learn to fly. What do I need to get started?”
It was one of those lucky days for me. I was glad I had woken up early and showed up at 9:00am. Sri was an exemplary student. He was a quick learner and at times spoke incessantly. I could hear the concern in his voice as he expressed doubts and the assertiveness as he argued a point. He had a plethora of random bits of knowledge and it was impossible to outsmart any debate with him. He almost always had the last word.
At the end of that first discovery flight, he admitted to having an aunt who was pilot and having flown with her over the glorious San Francisco Bay as a 17 year old. The joy and incredible enthusiasm in his voice as he recounted those memories and how they sparked his excitement and eagerness spoke volumes about his passion for flying. How could I doubt a teenager’s eagerness to be a pilot?
I had been in his shoes, not so long ago. In a way, Sri was my savior. On a day, when my world was crumbling, he was the anchor that steered me in.
And so began my second career as a CFI.