Always Dreaming, always flying!
I have always been fascinated by anything that flies. From an early age, as a child, I spent many hours looking up and wondering about all the places I would go in the air, dreaming of being up among the clouds, watching the world that I saw around me from the confines of the ground, slowly trail behind. To make the dream a reality would take a while, however. I started taking lessons in sailplanes out of Calistoga, CA in 1979, and I have been flying ever since. From the moment I first felt the aircraft start to break free from the ground, I knew that there would be no going back! From then on, that Schweizer 2-33 became my obsession, my passion, and the focus of just about everything I did. I was completely under the spell of aviation, and most waking hours were devoted to learning all I could about the art and science of flight. I achieved my first license in gliders just before I graduated from high school. Far from being the end of the road, that was just the start of an adventure that has taken me to some great places and in ways I had never imagined. Since then, I have gone on to get ratings in airplanes ( of course!) including jets and turboprops, always looking for new ways to fly. I have been an instructor, a tour pilot for Grand Canyon sightseeing operations, charter pilot, airline pilot, banner and glider tow pilot, and of course a glider ride pilot, back at the very same place where I learned the craft.
I made it all the way to working as a first officer (copilot) for Hawaiian Airlines, where I worked on the McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, Boeing 717, and the Boeing 767. The destinations were always nice! Unfortunately, times were not so good for the airlines in 2003, and I was furloughed along with a lot of other pilots after only a few years there. In the meantime the world of aviation has changed for the airline pilot, and what was so great for so long seems to have lost luster, for me. Having all the time off from the world of professional aviation really made me think about what was most important to me. I guess, in the end, flying airliners is not as big a reward as I thought it would be, but I still love to fly. Having been an instructor for so long, I also have realized that I still enjoy working with new pilots and teaching what I have learned through so many years of flying. As a professional CFI, I get to fly many different airplanes, from self-launching gliders and experimentals to antique tailwheel airplanes and some of the most technologically advanced general aviation airplanes out there. The world of flying stays nearly new for me, and i still haven't lost that sense of wonder that originally brought me here.
So now I wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and the dream of flight still calling to me!