First, I want to offer an apology for the delay in posting this article. The last few weeks have been filled with vacation, catch up work from vacation and some personal life stuff that’s kept me from writing. I intend to post more regularly on this blog, and I’ll endeavor to post more frequently. Thank you for your patience. Now, on with my story. . .
One of my few regrets in life was not completing my private pilot certificate so many years ago. Throughout the ensuing 32-years, I stayed connected to the aviation community as time and resources allowed. I kept up with the latest news and trends, attended air shows and talked about flying with whoever would listen. I would occasionally open one of my textbooks from my undergraduate studies and play the “what if?” game in my head. During that season I often felt a profound sadness for not finishing what I started. That indeed wasn’t a character trait my dad taught me.
After I finished law school, my dream of flying began to fade in the milieu of daily life. I hoped to pursue a career in aviation and space law, but it’s a niche’ practice. In 1994 a position for someone with no experience in the field did not exist despite a great deal of effort on my part to find it. Life events, the birth of my children and my responsibilities and obligations to my family, took me in a different direction. As years flew by, I never lost my passion for aviation, but it was lightly indulged from a distance in an increasingly complicated life.
After many years of fading hopes to someday fly, my passion for aviation reignited. I began reading news stories about the shortage of pilots and what it would mean for the future of the aviation industry. During my initial training decades ago, the competition for pilot jobs was fierce, the pay was exceedingly low and the hours were long. While my failed written test was the initial “stall” in pursuing my piloting career, these considerations also weighed heavily on me. I could not justify the expense of continuing training as a burden on my parents or taking out large student loans with the job prospects as dismal as they were at that time. But the present aviation market is a radically new and different era. Airline pilots are retiring at record rates, and due to the high cost of training, they are not being replaced at a sustainable rate. I’m under no illusion that I’m going to start any kind of flying “career” at nearly 50 years old, but this excitement around the industry captured my heart once again.
I began yammering on and on to my wife about how much I regretted not finishing my pilot certificate and how I wished to have the time and resources to pursue it. I lamented the cost of training and whether we could afford it. She patiently listened and encouraged me to pursue it. She offered suggestions on how we could make it work. She genuinely felt my disappointment. Despite this encouragement, I never seemed to have the time to get started. Then in the fall of 2016, my wife did something remarkable. On my 48th birthday, she handed me a birthday card with an impish and expectant grin on her face. Not knowing what to expect, I opened it to find a certificate for two hours of flight time at a local flight school. For once in my life, I was rendered speechless. In that instant what had returned as a simmering ember in my heart roared to life as a blazing four-alarm fire! She told me that it was a down payment on my training and that she fully supported me pursuing and obtaining my private pilot certificate. My heart soared. She explained that she had gone to great lengths to arrange the flight time for me and to keep it a secret. I was more determined than ever that I would finally conquer the skies. While my training would suffer from starts and stops along the way, that gift was the nudge I needed to make time to fulfill my dream.
Flying an airplane is a challenging task that requires a lot of knowledge, attention to detail and concentration. Having a co-pilot makes those tasks much more manageable. An onboard partner who shares the workload and backstops your mistakes is invaluable. Likewise, life is full of challenges and similarly requires dedication and attention. Sometimes we need a co-pilot to help push us forward. Having a life “co-pilot” to share the workload and backstop your mistakes is priceless. I am truly blessed to have the best co-pilot to fly with me through my life’s journey. This blog is equally dedicated to my amazing wife and life “co-pilot” Kimberly Hurst. Thank you for helping me get my wings, but most of all thank you for helping me to soar! Without your encouragement, support and longsuffering through many nights of study, I would still be earthbound.
Me and Kimberly on our first flight together on December 16, 2017. The first of many we will take together . . .
– Miller Hogan
Copyright 2018 – Miller Hogan