“Rite of Passage: Open those Cages!”

If you’re in a standardized pilot training program, get out and do some additional personal flying on your own. You’ll have more fun, and be a better pilot for it.

I wrote this article way back in 1998, but it’s even more relevant today…


Not long ago I enjoyed a heart-to-heart talk with my old friend Mark, recently hired by a major airline.

Mark and I had spoken briefly several times over the past few months, but this was the first time in several years when we found ourselves with time and the urge to share inner feelings about flying, and about life in general.

I’ve always admired Mark, because he knew from the beginning he wanted to be an airline pilot, and stuck with that plan through thick and thin until he got there, despite personal and professional obstacles.

“How’s it going?” I asked, “Is working for the majors all it’s made out to be?”

“Absolutely,” Mark told me, “I work with a super bunch of people; the equipment is top-notch, and I love everything about it. And for the first time since getting out of college, I have plenty of free time — to enjoy my wife’s company, to work around our new home, and to appreciate life in general.”

“You deserve it after those years of struggling through three commuter airlines.” I said. “Any regrets?” Of course I expected him to say no, or perhaps share minor complaints about trip schedules or difficulties of parking at the airport.

“To tell the truth,” said Mark, “I do have one regret.” The words came with gravity, like I ought to sit down before pondering their meaning.

“Greg, I feel like I’ve let the last ten years slip by me without having any fun. I love what I’m doing now, but I now think I should have tried to enjoy the flying more along the way…”

**Continue reading Greg’s entire article, RITE OF PASSAGE” **.

(This article first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


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For more guidance on this topic, see Greg’s book, The Savvy Flight Instructor 2nd Edition, available in print and ebook.

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