In 1999 I found myself finally in a position where I could fulfill my life dream. Enrolled in the aviation program of Cochise Community College, started flight training concurrently with ground school, as is customary in a part 141 school. Just days before the end of the year, I got my private pilot certificate.
A few days after, came back to the College with the intention to go fly and was told “no, you can’t fly, because you’re no longer a student here and our insurance only allows us to let our registered students use our airplanes. Since you got your pilot’s certificate, you graduated from our program and we can’t let you use our airplanes.”
Although the southeastern corner of the state of Arizona has a venerable aviation tradition (Douglas Municipal was the first international airport in the USA), and despite the fact there are several airports in the area, there were no aircraft for rent anywhere within 2 hours driving.
Drove two hours to Tucson, only to find very limited options. During my time as a Cochise College student I got spoiled. Their maintenance department was then headed by a good friend of mine and he was a stickler for maintaining those airplanes in tip-top condition. What I found out there available for rent was not up to those standards. They may have been airworthy, but I was not convinced. If I was driving two or three hours each way to go fly for an hour, I was going to be very picky.
Then, someone told me about a very nice FBO in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they had a variety of aircraft, including two brand new Diamond DA-20-C1s (Katanas). Three days after the new year 2000, I was being checked out in one of their Katanas, and I loved it.
to be continued…
Hello! My name is David Silchman, I am a pilot, and I fly a Falco F.8L, a Piper Cherokee and a Cessna 172.
The summer of 2013, Bob Meder and I, decided that the main airport in the region should have a flight school and rental of aircraft, so we decided to re-start the Nebraska Flight Center, a flight training operation, at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska… But let’s start from the beginning.
Years ago, after doing a thorough review of my life, I decided that what I really wanted more than anything else was to fly.
My story is typical of many middle aged individuals who had always had the urge of flight in them, but the responsibilities of “real life” always took precedence.
When I was a small kid I took my first airplane ride in a DC-3 from Tucson, Arizona, to Washington DC, and I was hooked. Afterwards, I have spent a lot of time looking up, admiring and envying the birds. When I was growing up in the southwestern desert I remember sitting by the window in school and watching the turkey vultures spend hours up there, effortlessly and elegantly flying in circles.
In kindergarten our teacher asked the class: If we were an animal, what animal would we be? All my classmates chose fierce, cool animals, like lions, tigers, wolves or pumas. When it was my turn, I said I wanted to be a turkey vulture. Needless to say, it didn’t go well, and I never got the chance to explain.
When I was in college, I was at a club with some friends and somehow I ended up talking to an older gentleman (older back then meant probably late thirties), who happened to be a professional pilot, flying small propeller planes at the time.
When I told him that I was a university student, he said that he had already gone to school and under pressure from his parents graduated with a medical degree. Immediately afterwards he gave his diploma to his father and went to flight school to follow his true vocation. He never practiced medicine. He was now flying people around in small planes in an air taxi operation.
I didn’t say anything to him, but for years I thought that he had wasted a good education in a “real” profession. How can someone turn his back to being a “Doctor” to go and become a glorified taxi driver? I would never do that, I thought to myself.
So I graduated from school and became a pediatrician, got married and raised a family and did the responsible thing and worked hard to fulfill my obligations as a responsible adult. All those years, I kept looking up and dreamed of flying.
to be continued…