PEI is quite beautiful from on high… I feel very fortunate that I get to fly most Saturday mornings while out here. Last Saturday morning, the boys joined us in our airbourne adventures. Selected highlights are below. (Click to enlarge.)
“I wouldn’t try that with the kids you have this year”, a support teacher warned her colleague, who was eager to try out a writing program with her group of exceptionally high ESL and Spec Ed students in Grades 1 and 2. “They won’t be able to handle it.”
Well, I was going to write a nice little post about the new ETFO building on Isabella, which I had occasion to visit this morning, after dropping the boys at ROM camp (they’d had a sleepover at my place downtown, where I’ve been staying these two weeks before heading off to PEI, in order to get my PPL done for once and for all)…
But then the power went out, and in the middle of me cooking myself up a little potatoes, eggs and buttered broccoli to boot! So, instead, I wolfed down my (thankfully finished) boiled eggs, half-cooked potatoes, and very raw broccoli, put on my rain jacket, and headed outside to see what there was to see.
What there was to see was a lot of grey.
I wandered past neighbours visiting neighbours, peered through candle-lit windows, and trudged through the already-saturated grass of the nearby park to have a look at the two Porter planes that were lined up at the end of Taxi-way Alpha.
I’m not sure if they were lined up because of the thunderstorm, or the power outage, or what, but they sure were NOISY! (Especially without the hum of a hundred or more air conditioners to drown out the din. Let me just comment as an aside, that -- much as I am infatuated with aviation -- I do not subscribe to Bob Deluce’s “whisper quiet” promises… if these Dash 8’s are any indication of what the allegedly “silent” jets will be like, NO THANK YOU!!!)
In any case, I puttered about in the rain for a bit, then meandered back to the little town house I’ve been subletting across from the airport, to see if I couldn’t get a little more studying done and -- behold! The power is back on!
Pity flying can't be all fun and friends and flying clubs... I do love soaring high above the water and the city, and feeling like I can almost touch the clouds, as I did on my recent cross-country flight to Tillsonburg - Waterloo and back. And I enjoy my Saturday morning breakfasts and flights with the boys in the PEI flying club each summer...
But it's the math, the endless calculations that kill me in this crazy hobby of mine!
Behold Exhibit A, above, my planning sheet for the west cross country. This gal who dropped math -- much to my mother's chagrin -- in Grade 10, and swore up and down she'd never again play any sort of numbers game unless absolutely necessary, now spends hours and hours and HOURS filling in columns and calculating magnetic variation, weight and balance charts, wind corrections and other such nonsense, just so she can go on a wee, little flight to two nearby airports and back.
My brain is just not set up to work that way. Those muscles are not fit, haven't been used in decades, are cobwebby and hidden away in dark corners.
But somehow I do it... and each time I do, it becomes marginally less mysterious to me, and increasingly, I begin to see links, and am able to notice logical errors without my instructor screaming, "Whaaaaat?!" like I'm some kind of idiot.
And if I keep it up, I'll eventually have a real pilot licence. Amazing!
Oooooh, was it ever nice to be flying again this weekend!
The boys climb a tree near the playground city side, before heading over to CYTZ, where Tats took each of the four of them up in a Cessna 150 today. Boy, were they ever excited!
Once again I am surrounded by loud, annoying travellers. Louder, and more irritating, even, than I!
Stuck on board a 3 hr 45 minute flight from YYZ to YYC, we are seated behind two balding men in “cool” hoodies yelling to each other about investment strategies. Behind us are a woman and her heavily-made-up teenage daughter. The latter seems fearful of flying; the former is “soothing” her in a loud, abrasive voice.
I am not soothed.
The daughter keeps yapping for a while, and eventually drifts off to sleep. The mother continues to grate on everyone around her for about 20 more minutes, then she, too, settles down for a nap.
Soon the flight attendants come through with their cart of in-flight snacks available for purchase. The healthy, fresh, Asian vegetable wrap and cheese with fruit platter I had pre-ordered online at a savings of 50 cents a piece are not on board, nor is there any record of them, or of the other three pre-ordered meals on this flight. The flight attendant is very apologetic, and offers us complementary nacho chips and twizzlers, the only other “vegetarian” options on board.
Since I will be unemployed during our planned year in Argentina come Sept 2013, I am trying to generate some passive income, so that we are not all eating KD every day. One project I have been working on with my flight instructor is Online FTM, an online version of the Canadian Flight Training Manual.
Online FTM is the resource I wish I had had when I first began my flight training. It includes colourful, animated presentations for exercises corresponding to the FTM, along with a heavily annotated quiz for each exercise.
In addition to the lesson itself, each of the FTM chapters online includes relevant videos and/or links to other resources.
When I was first learning to fly, I spent hours sifting through garbage online, trying to find some sort of organized resource to supplement the dull reading I had to do before and after each lesson. Eventually, I spent nearly $100 for an online course that was helpful, but average at best when it came to content and visual appeal.
We're only charging $27 for Online FTM (we'll probably up the price as we finish the course and make little tweaks to improve the content and layout), which includes FREE email support from a certified flight instructor!!!
I hope you'll take a moment to check it out, or -- if you know anyone who is into flying airplanes -- please forward the link. Thanks!
I am thinking of quitting.
No, not smoking, flying!
Well… not even "flying", technically, but rather, I am thinking about quitting the pursuit of my PPL.
I love flying. Difficult as the learning process has been for me, it’s also provided me with endless inspiration, both in my writing, and in a more metaphysical sense. (I think learning to fly has made me a more “spiritual” person, has brought me a greater appreciation of God... or at least, of Mother Nature!)
But there comes a time in every major challenge worth pursuing – at least for a while – when one must consider when the end is near, and if that "end" is the accomplishment of the original goal, or if it is the decision to quit and make space for other goals.
I don't like the idea of "quitting", in and of itself. It feels so incomplete, somehow, so failure-like. But would be the cost of NOT quitting, in this case? The money and time I have spent on learning to fly has been robbed from other, also important and valuable pursuits: My children, my career, my musical hobbies, my work with multiples…. I didn’t mind putting some of those things on the backburner for a while, while I learned this incredible new thing. But as months turn into years, thanks to uncooperative weather, bouts of bad health, and a recurring shortage of funds, I have to ask myself “how much longer”?!
On the one hand, I feel like I would be giving up so much if I quit now: I’ve soloed, even flown a cross country all by myself!!! I passed a three-hour written exam I never thought possible! I understand (superficially) mathematical and physical concepts I was terrified or blissfully unaware of my whole life up to now… if I quit after all this, am I a total loser?! How will I face my many new Pilot friends in PEI this summer and tell them that I not only STILL do not have my PPL, but that in fact, I have chosen to stop chasing after it?!
On the other hand, I feel like if I don’t drop this all-consuming hobby, I will never play a Bach violin sonata on the xylophone, or sing in a choir, or play my drums ever again! If I don’t make space for some reading (not flight training manuals!!!) and thinking and writing at the end of a stressful day at a job that seems to be the target of attack from all angles these days, my ability to do so will shrink until I am no longer able to write a coherent, grammatically correct or even mildly interesting sentence. And if I voraciously check the weather report every Sunday morning to see if it is VFR and whether I can fly, when will I be able to enjoy an uninterrupted sermon-series at church again?
I miss reading fiction books without feeling guilty that I am not studying for my next flight lesson. I miss taking AQ- or other teaching-related courses. I miss the idea of an uninterrupted summer in PEI with my family. But every time a plane flies overhead, my eyes turn heaven-ward. If I stop chasing after my PPL, will I forever resent the missed opportunity to become a licensed pilot?
In the uncertainty that is the limbo between deciding definitively to quit, and hoping that the weather and my financial situation will align favourably in support of a final series of flight lessons leading to a successful flight test, I am not sure of anything anymore!
After writing for several teacher and multiple birth publications, including ETFO's Voice Magazine, Multiple Moments, and the Bulletwin, Vera turned her written attention to prolific blogging for some years, including BiB, "Learn to Fly with Vera!" and SMARTbansho . Homeschooling 4 was her travel blog in Argentina. She now spends more time on her Instagram (@schalgzeug_usw) than her blog (pictures are worth a thousand words?!) Contact Vera by clicking the photo above.
The views expressed on this blog are the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the perspectives of her family members or the position of her employer on the the issues she blogs about. These posts are intended to share resources, document family life, and encourage critical thought on a variety of subjects. They are not intended to cause harm to any individual or member of any group. By reading this blog and viewing this site, you agree to not hold Vera liable for any harm done by views expressed in this blog.