For as long as I can remember some form of aviation has been in my life.
In my early years my Dad bounced us around the states in a Beechcraft Bonanza. Actually, he flew a bunch of aircraft – fixed wing, helicopters, jets, balloons… There’s a good chance I’m doing this because of all that time around those little planes and hot air balloons. Looking back we didn’t camp or throw a football around, we went flying. How cool would it be to take him up for his 70th.
Anyway fast forward to early 20s I was living down in Belize I got to sit right seat in more than a few Cessna Caravans, it was cool to island hop all over Central America. Hurricane Iris was on her way and I was on the last flight off the island, flying ultra low to stay out of the chop and I knew one day I’d be in the left seat. When I moved back to the states, a private charter flight in a King Air here or there and I started to seriously think about grabbing my fixed wing.
Too expensive, too time consuming and I’m running a company… my day job requires my full attention. Also, I have a wife and 2 kiddos that keep me busy. How am I going to convince her? She wants a new kitchen and the backyard needs to be cleaned up. If I do this will I have to give up camping trips on the dirt bike? I told myself – I’ll get to it at some point but for now I’ll just buy these books and read a bit at night.
I knew I’d do something with aviation eventually, maybe for my 40th and when the company settles down. I’ll make this happen one day…
Well, that day is finally here! I should back up just a bit more though.
How did it come to be that I’m getting trained by Midwest and why did I choose them?
I have, for lack of a better term, an advertising and innovation company. We build complicated software, mobile applications, websites and in some cases physical components that talk to the apps we build. Our clients are awesome and I’m lucky to count Midwest as one of them. -We built this website.
Anyway, I needed to shoot some video for a client, Anheuser Busch, their original brewery is right downtown and we needed a couple quick shots for this app. Awesome, time to charter a helicopter! So, after talking to a few folks in the area everyone directed me to Midwest. The description was always the same – “safe and professional”. Super close to the brewery too. Perfect! I called and booked some time and the following day we went out to grab the video. Whoa. That was rad. Am I the type of dude that can possibly fly one of these? Helicopters are expensive… I’ve always had RCs and recently, pro quality flying cameras otherwise known as drones. Sadly in my youth I spent a bunch of time playing with flight sims, building and flying models. Nerdiness abounded. My wife barely tolerates me dragging out the drone to take family photos.
An actual helicopter though, that’s a lot different then playing dodge the clouds with your pop on the way down to Florida or nerding out with a DJI inspire. Hmmmm. I should research this. Don’t I have to get my fixed wing first? Nope. Isn’t helicopter training expensive? It is right? Surely fixed wing is cheaper?
I’ll charter a 172, I have to go to Springfield, Mo. for a client -might as well see if I still like sitting right seat after being in the R44. As soon as I got back I decided fixed wing wasn’t for me right now. Maybe later but not right now. I called Midwest for another shoot and that was it. When I landed from that flight I let Jessie know I was ready to figure out a way. Crap. My wife is going to punch me.
So with any luck this will be a pretty complete account of what it’s like for someone starting from scratch.