Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well here it is... my first blog posting ever. After reading some great blogs from other pilots, I got motivated to do the same. I've never been much of a writer so I don't imagine this will be nearly as much fun to read as journals such as Freight Dog Tales and House of Rapp. I'll do my best though.

First, here's the Cliff Notes on me. I was born in 1974 and raised in San Diego, CA by my mother and father. My dad is a retired airline pilot who after flying as a forward air controller in Vietnam got out of the Air Force and was hired by PSA. During the period of his career that I can remember, he flew the 727, MD-80, 737, and 757/767, the later models coming after the merger with US Air(ways). Needless to say, I was exposed to aviation since birth, and even with virtually no pressure one way or the other have always loved everything having to do with flying. It must be genetic.

I was taught to fly by another PSA/US Air captain who's family has been very close to ours since before I was born. He didn't let me get away with much of anything and taught way beyond standards. I believe I will be a much better and safer pilot for the rest of my career because of his teaching and am forever grateful. My first solo was in a Cessna 150 out of Gillespie Field (KSEE) in San Diego, rented from a great flying club called Plus One Flyers that has planes at several of the airports in the county. I moved on to the 172, and managed somehow to pass my Private Pilot test with the examiner. I then moved on to get my instrument rating at a more formal Part 141 school at Montgomery Field (KMYF), American Flyers. The training was very thorough and professional, including the stressful hours in their Frasca simulator and before long I touch and puncture clouds legally. I was very happy with the training and the planes, but unfortunately that school got way too expensive compared to other options out there and I stopped after a few commercial lessons.

At this point, my life took a different track for a while. I continued to rent airplanes on my own and fly now and then, but it was time to go off to college at the University of California, Irvine and get a four-year degree that the airlines would eventually want to see. I choose Computer Science because I had to choose something and was pretty good with computers. Something very intersting happened around that same time... the internet boom. I found a flight school at John Wayne Orange County airport (KSNA) called Sunrise Aviation and started my commercial training there. I unfortunately got way to busy with school, work part time, and the other distractions of college student life and did not finish my training. I graduated with latin honors and was even accepted into the PhD program with an offer of a research assistant scholarship. At the same time I had multiple job offers in the $50k-60k range.

Now I would have been the first person in my family to be a "doctor" :) if I went into the PhD program, but I knew that my dream was to fly planes and that 5+ years of intense study with little pay would not be compatible with flying airplanes. I declined the offer, realizing that maybe the reason I applied was to know that I could have done that if I wanted to. Now those lucrative offers with stock options in 1998 were to good to turn down, and I moved back to San Diego to work at a big name wireless company. I reasoned that with the money I made I would be able to put myself through flight training, then switch over to being a CFI after a year or two. It turns out that working was just as time consuming as school, and I flew infrequently over the next 5 years. Financially it was great. I put a down payment on a house with my profits from stock options, and managed to keep employeed even through the dot-com bust. I even lived in Germany for 6 months as part of a work assignment. I did go back to flying in 2003, driving up to Sunrise Aviation on weekends trying to finish up my commercial. My training was interrupted when I got hit from behind by an 18-wheeler truck on the way back to San Diego from one of my flight lessons and was out for a few months. I didn't get back into the groove very quickly because I was working on transition to a new job (the one I'm at now) in the Los Angeles area.

Well, there is only so long you can be doing something else when what is in your blood and soul can no longer be contained. Reading blogs from other pilots and community sites such as Jet Careers makes that desire burn even stronger. I have been in Los Angeles for about 10 months and have started my commercial training again at a Part 61 school, Vista Air, at Whiteman Airport in Pacoima (KWHP). This airport is north of Burbank at the northeast edge of the San Fernando Valley. It is towered, but a sharp contrast to John Wayne. It does not have an ATIS and a single controller handles ground and air traffic. I have had a couple flights in the 172RG and feel right at home again. Today during a long lunch :) we practiced lazy-8's, chandelles, steep spirals, and short field landings. I was a little rusty on all of them at first, but its all coming back fast. Those d$@n lazy-8's not quite as fast as the others.

I won't be able to fly until the middle of next week because of my instructors schedule and that I am going out of town for a long weekend. Time to hit the books since my commercial written expired long ago! Stay tuned.

35 Comments:

Blogger stockonline2 said...

Just letting you know, someone is actually reading your blog. Good stuff, keep it up and good luck on your commercial.

--FlyWhiteSox
(from jetcareers)

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Blogger Brett said...

Thanks for the comment. I was wondering if only I would ever see what I was writing!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoi Brett, thats written very nicely, I remember most of what you have written. You have been thru a lot, take care and lets keep in touch! ;)

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Anonymous Tom said...

Hey Brett, how do you like Vista? Im thinking of doing my PPL there, and insight on instructors?

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I'm reading your blog too. Post more often!

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Blogger Chuck W. said...

Wow, you're doing exactly what I'm doing. You and I were both born the same year, we are both on similar career paths, and both got caught up in the .com boom.

In my case though, my Wife and I had a son in 1998 which called a major stop to my flying lessons. I managed to pass my instrument checkride 6 days before our Son was born. From there I had to spend all of my time and our money securing a nice house, car, furniture, etc etc etc.

Almost 8 years later (six years since I logged any PIC time) the bug has me again and it won't leave. I'm working at a "Large Puget Sound Airplane Manufacturer" building an operating system for an embedded avionics device. I'm working towards my BFR and then I'm going to enroll in ATPs 10 month self paced program. From there I'll probably be a CFI over at KBFI somewhere and see where it takes me.

My eventual goal is to fly for a major cargo carrier like FedEx or UPS. I wouldn't mind flying for Northwest either, but they're having trouble lately, so it's gonna be many years before they're looking for any new pilots.

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