Flying Lessons

Flight Lesson – 7

I learned to love being lost from my mother, playing turn left – turn right, on country roads that stretched out like gravel grids in every direction from “the road.”  My brother and I would be loaded in the backseat of mom’s car, and draw straws to see who got to go first. Untethered and […]

Flight Lesson – 6

The four corners of the meadow stretched for 50 acres connecting four houses, like four pillars on “the road.”  The four fathers of those four houses were the Titans of my meadow.  Larger-than-life men, as seen through my child’s eyes, with single-sided personalities. The funny one, the generous one, the strong one, and the mean […]

Flight Lesson – 5

First takeoffs are easier than first landings. They’re hopeful and more forgiving of any lack of technique. On their first takeoff I tell my student they are responsible for two small selfless tasks.  Acknowledge the wind, and offer your hand to the plane when he’s ready to fly.  All they have to do is keep the […]

Flight Lesson – 4

On Saturday nights the parents on “the road” would have parties. Sometimes my brother and I would get to be the greeters, or the coat bearers, but most Saturdays were spent with our grandmother.  We would be dropped off at her house freshly scrubbed clean, and already in our pajamas, before 5pm.  Grandma would greet […]

Flight Lesson – 3

Towards the end of their first lesson, I tell my tailwheel student to take me back to the airport.  Their lightness on the stick immediately changes with the word “airport” biting at their reptilian brain, and they return to over-controlling my plane. Projecting their anxiety, from the thought of their first landing, into their body […]

Flight Lesson – 2

I grew up in a Fairyland of no stranger danger, in a place defined as “the road.” Nurtured by a neighborhood of families, tied to each other by an umbilical cord of one long gravel road that strung all of our properties together. There were very few fences between us.  The one’s that divided our […]

Flight Lesson -1

When I have a new student, someone who’s never flown an airplane before, I explain to them simply – the stick is a pointer. You gently point it in the direction you want the plane to go. Up, down, left, right. Your hand directs the plane’s nose. I begin the first lesson with getting their hand […]