GUEST POST: Blogging for Benet: A Few Ideas From FL290

Editor’s note: kids, as my month of fun continues, my old friend Rob Mark is up next with a great guest post telling me why I need to continue my flight lessons.  Enjoy!

With so much talk about ladies in aviation, with the recent Women In Aviation convention and my pal Scott Spangler just penned something at Jetwhine about how women might well represent the future in aviation — it seems a fitting time to accept this offer to guest blog. The fact that I’m siting in row 21 in the back of an American MD-80 at FL 290 as I type just makes the whole idea even more fun.

Since Benet has a couple of flying lessons under her belt, I thought it might be valuable to offer up a few opinions about why she should finish her training and earn that private pilot’s license I keep hearing her talk about every time we meet.

And for you cynics out there, my suggestion has nothing to do with the fact that she’s now part of that hard-working AOPA media staff that manages to squeeze so much out of my measly $45 membership every year.

So in this time of women in aviation, I know full well that learning to fly might just offer Benet a few extra points with management and also give her a bit clearer perspective on some of the day-to-day issues that pilots face in the U.S. She could even take her daughter — the Princess of Planes — up for a little aerial adventure from time to time for sure.

Of course I also know from listening to heaven knows how many AOPA folks that almost three-quarters of the people who start flight training never finish. I took a step back and decided nope, that’s not the real reason I suggest she finish up her flight training. Benet Wilson needs to complete her flight training for a more esoteric reason not that those others drivers won’t be useful or fun.

Flying isn’t just about learning how to smoothly move the airplane’s controls or navigate from point A to point B, or successfully manage ATC on the radio. Those are aeronautical tactics.

Flying is about much more. Learning to command an airplane will make my friend think differently … much differently. Benet, you’ll become sure of yourself … OK, in your case perhaps more sure of yourself. Learning to fly teaches pilots stress management skills as they come to terms with the awesome responsibility you hold in your hands as you roll down the runway. It teaches excellent resource management skills as you balance weather with fuel with useful load all wrapped up in a new appreciation for where a budget fits into every pilot’s life.

Best of all, these tactical flying skills always spill over into a pilot’s life on the ground. You’ll become a better strategist, a better communicator. I’ve even heard learning to fly improves your love life … OK, I might have made up that last one.

So Benet, you need to complete your flight training not for the industry … although we’re always happy to welcome another pilot aboard. You need to finish your flight training because the difference the license in your purse will make to the way you view the world is something you just gotta experience.

“Flying alone! Nothing gives such a sense of mastery over time, over mechanism, mastery, indeed over space, time, and life itself, as this.” — Cecil Day Lewis

Love, Rob

Rob Mark publishes, the blog of aviation buzz and bold opinion. He also
co-host the weekly Airplane Geeks radio show. A commercial pilot for “a really long
time,” he’s also CEO of CommAvia, where he and his folks deliver up leading edge media
to the aviation industry.

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