What Did It For You?


Well-Known Member
Tonight I got to walk around of one of JBs brand spanking new A320s tonight. In doing so I got athinking......this is what made me want to be a pilot. I remember walking around the NE Air Museum, walking around in complete awe of those airplane. Then came my very first ride in a airplane....another brand spankin new airplane,this time a USAir 737 going to see Mickey Mouse. I remember thinking "this is the most awesome thing in the world". I got a chance to go up to the flightdeck during our stop in DCA.....and I think that's what really did it. Seeing the (then) modern cockpit and sitting in the captain's seat was one of the greatest thrills of my life. After that moment my goal in life was to get back to that seat. While during middle and high school, I got a little off track,but then working at the airport and around the airplanes again that "old feeling" came over me again. That's part of what gets me though the working day....knowing I'll hopefully get to fly one of those airplanes in the future. Sorry for getting too deep at 1225 AM....but it was just a thought I had tonight!

From the various stories you've shared with us in the past, it seems like you have experienced some pretty cool things working on the ramp.

I would say for me aviation has been a life-long passion. I remember always being the kid to look up at the sky during recess when an airliner or even a little single passed overhead. (Of course this was usually followed by being blindsided by the soccer ball)
. Our family didn't fly commercially very often, but when we did it was a BIG deal to me! I was always more excited about the plane ride than the great vacation that followed. It was like Christmas Eve for me. I would lay there in bed for eight hours just thinking about how much fun the airplane ride would be! Who needed sleep on the verge of such an exciting day?! Of course I would always insist that we get to the airport at least 5 hours early so we could see all the airplanes!

At the time, the thought of actually being a pilot was more of a fairytale idea than a reality. In fact, it wasn’t until about two years ago, after graduating high school, that I decided to pursue it as a career. I have been very happy with that decision, and don’t plan on ever turning back…
I think Ive always liked airplanes, but I didn't decide that I wanted to fly them until I was in the 7th grade. My parents took me to my first airshow. I think I saved all month to pay for a plane ride. I was hooked from there. Its pretty cool because the plane I took that ride in I eventually soloed in. The Red Barons were also at the airshow, and that just got me even more into the flying thing. During high school I lost interest in aviation. After high school I wasn't really even planning on going to college. I didn't know what I wanted to do. One day I was talking to my friend who is a pilot, and the way he was talking it just sounded so fun. He gave me the number of a flight school and I set up an intro ride. And its been all uphill from there.
I've wanted to be an astronaut since 4th grade when we learned about Valentina Tereshkova; this was also right around the time that Sally Ride was making headlines as the first American female in space.

I figured as an adult, flying would be the next logical step to getting to command the shuttle...
You know I've always had a fascination with aircraft, space craft, and water craft.

I was in 4th grade when the Challenger was lost. While some of my less mature friends immediately started with the jokes etc. I was in shock. I also began thinking that if I had to go, that would be how I'd want it.

Shortly after that my family took a trip to DC and I insisted that we hit the Air & Space Museam. I loved it, all the Apollo missions, the old fighters, all of it.

My goal at that point became clear: Astronaut!

When I was in Jr. High I met a guy who knew that he was going to be in the military. We got to talking, and I mentioned flying. "You can't fly. Your vision isn't perfect." Man that was blow. That shot down my hopes of flying in the shuttle as well. I forgot about being a pilot for a very long time, but always kept my eyes on the sky.

I did some reading and found out that you didn't need to have perfect vision or even be a pilot to be a mission or payload specialist.

In high school my grandparents loaned me money to go to Space Camp (actually I went to Space Academy). I loved it. My plan was to get assigned as a mission specialist for the simulator missions, what did I get? Pilot. I was thrilled, but the words of my "friend" still echoed. No perfect vision no fly.

Sometime after that my family took a trip to Florida to try to see a shuttle launch. We stopped at Kennedy Space Center and saw the astronaut memorial. It's an awesome sight. I'm planning on making a trip there after the Columbia 7 are enshrined there.

I wasn't until after college when I met the husband of a woman my wife was in med school with that I started looking into flying again. I quickly learned that you didn't need 20/20 vision to fly. He took me flying, demo'ed some stalls (and made sure to introduce my head to the ceiling of the 152), and I was hooked.

The rest is history, I've logged 1.4 hours of dual and I'm dumping thousands of dollars into the medical industry to get my 3rd class medical. I don't know if I'll ever fly professionally. At this point my dream would either be flying for AirNet or a nice corporate job (I'd also love to do helicopters, but I'm going to get my fixed wing stuff first).

So there it is. On some level it's been life long for me, and I don't know if I can put my finger on just on thing that got me interested in aviation. It's just always been there.


My father flew in the USAF and I always thought airplanes were cool, especially when I got to sit in the cockpit or even the simulator on occasion. I always knew I wanted to fly but was never quite sure how to get there, or what path to take, civilian or military. In later years, I crossed the Atlantic 18 times and never failed to be awed by the machines that could carry me so far away so quickly. What really did it was being invited to the flight deck of a brand new British Airways 777 as we were approaching North America, and spending quite a while up there in the jumpseat. (this was pre-9/11). What a great ending to a vacation in Europe! That cockpit is incredible, and the sound the GE90 makes at takeoff is neat. I took many trips in a Challenger 601 in a job later on, about the time I was becoming disenchanted with both the IT profession and my fiancee. Having been freed from both, and having recently completed my PPL and BS degree, I made the decision to attend flight school. I'm now writing this message in my FSI uniform, having just taken the CAX written (92!) and about to have a Frasca encounter. I could not be happier with my decision, and really look forward to the adventure that awaits me.
I always loved flying on commmercial airlines but never considered flying for a living. Last year I had some time and money to take flying lessons still with the mindset of doing it "just for fun".

I'll have to say once I started training and the little and big milestones I accomplished combined with the beauty up there did it for me. When I finally found our home airport without help, landing unassisted, soloing!, a monster solo cross country through mountains and wind, flying at night, flying over a sea of clouds, things that make you say "Holy crap I can't believe what I did today!". I now know I'm totally hooked and will fly for the rest of my life in some capacity. However for a living I'm still sorting that out. My first instrument lesson is tomorrow! I want to try some gliders, balloons, and helicopters before I die. I wish I could go to space! I just get jacked about leaving the ground.

This website also helped a ton in "doing it for me". thank you!
I've been in Cessnas and other small civilian aircraft since I was in the back seat in my car-seat. My dad's been a pilot almost my whole life. He later worked as a CFI and got his ATP rating and accrued just under 1600 hours of flight time to find out that he couldn't get hired other than with the little puddle-jumper salaries that would not support a family of 3 kids. So he went back to his dental work.

I've always been around aviation my whole life. Going to the Reno Air Races and many other air shows perched on my dad's shoulders to get a better view of the airplanes and going out with him in the back seat of a Cessna 172 watching him insruct inspired me to become a pilot. My grandfather was a pilot for the Army, so I've got a family history of aviation. I'm happy I'm on the track of taking over my dad's dream of becoming an airline pilot ...where he left off
I've known for as long as I can remember that I've wanted to be an airline pilot. Even now after every trip I take, I walk off the plane with a sense of excitment and a feeling that flying is what I have to do. Just two weeks ago I flew to SLC, and after stepping off the plane I was still amazed how you can be shot across the country In a piece of tin in about 4 hours. Most of my friends have absolutely no idea what they want to do for a living, and are jealous of me for knowing what I want to do. I think sometimes we forget that there are plenty of people who are not as goal oriented as us aspiring aviators.
I never really thought about flying as something I wanted to do for a living until I actually got up into the cockpit of an airplane for my discovery flight. Don't get me wrong, I always was fascinated by airplanes and always thought it would be cool to fly one. But doing it for a living never crossed my mind until I got sick of the corporate BS that you deal with in the work world, without a cool view. I know there's a lot of politics and crap involved in flying, but you know what, you get a great view, you get to fly, and most importantly, when you get off work, you leave it behind at the airport.
I grew up in an airline family. My dad flew, my mom was a flight attendant and I guess the love of airplanes and flying just rubbed off on me. I remember, in kindergarten, that for a "show and tell" I "taught" the class how to draw an airplane. Kinda silly but that's probably my earliest aviation related memory. I always had a couple of airplane toys laying around.

But for one reason or another I never got around to taking flying lessons. Dad was kind of burned out so he didn't push it and sooner or later I was off to college where I fell in love with journalism. I also started working full time and between school and reporting and working, flying didn't really enter into the equation. I did think about getting my private once or twice and I'd stop to watch aircraft pass overhead, go to the occassional airshow or watch some WINGS channel and definately played a lot of flight sims, but it wasn't until my brother (younger, no less) moved to go to a flight school that it hit me that I could be a pilot too. I was getting disenfranchised with journalism (still love it, however) and I had to make a choice.

I went for a discovery flight and I was hooked. Not a big surprise to me but a huge surprise to my soon-to-be-wife who had never really been exposed to my aviation "thing." To her this was out of the blue.

She has supported me nonetheless and sometimes it gets rough (when you read airline A lays off 1 million workers) but for the most part I don't think I'd change a thing.

But come May I don't know what I'll do with myself as, if everything goes according to plan, I'll have finished my BS, my multi instrument/commercial and I'll just have too much time on my hands.
It's a problem I'm looking forward to though.
Read flyitup's post that's exactly how it was for me also.

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Including getting blindsided by a soccer ball?
My first recolection of wanting to fly, was back when I was 8. My family flew out of IAD to LAX on an American DC-10. That was back in the days you took the skylifts out to the aircraft to board. They had a camera in the cockpit and it was shown in the cabin during takeoff and landing. It was really cool to see that. I knew I wanted to become an airline pilot when I was 12, and flew by myself across country to L.A. I took a brand new Piedmont 737-300 to CLT and another spankin new 767-200ER from CLT to LAX. I got to sit up in the cockpit of the 737 before the flight. I was like a kid in a candy store! I think I had a permasmile the whole trip. Of course there was Top Gun in between to add the fighter pilot thing. When my Dad went back to active duty in the Navy, he got orders to Carrier Air Wing Two at NAS Miramar. So we packed up and headed across country to "Fightertown USA." Ohhh man, I was in heavan! We lived on base in base housing and I rode my bike down to the flight line everyday to check out all the F-14s and the Top Gun A-4s, F-16Ns, and F-5s. I always dreamed that I was that pilot strapping into those jets, getting ready to go shoot holes through the sky. That really sealed the deal. I wasn't able to get an NROTC scholorship, so I went to CC and worked as a ramp rat for American at SAN. Got bored, so I joined the Navy and became an Naval Aircrewman in the CH/UH/HH-46.
I'm suprised that no one else has mentioned this but I think the thing that first got me really interested in being a pilot was seeing the flim 'Top Gun' after that I felt nothing else in the world would be as cool to be a F-14 Tomcat figher pilot. I still belive that and I think the F-14 is one of the most awsome preformaing (and looking) aircraft in the world! However as I developed less than perfect eyesite at the age of around 11 that soon dashed my dreams of ever flying a combat aircraft.

That aside I have been flying on comerical airliners since I was a few months old, I think I've flown on just about all on Boeings jets except the 707 and 777. I've also figured out I have a bout 180hr logged passinger time on a 747
What can I say? The excitement of take-off, the cool coloring books, the visit to the cockpit and the landings. I have also had the preivlage of watching the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean at FL350 a couple of times and I can tell you that is an awsome site!

I also love just watching the activity that goes on at busy airports, I can, and have watched it for hours at a time! (who said long lay overs were a drag?
) I think one time when I was 5 or 6 I got to talk to an airline pilot in the lounge and he was telling me all about how the tugs work and what all those vechicles do, it was great!

The idea of being an airline pilot had always been in the back of my mind but never really gave it any serious consideration until about 6 months ago. And now that I have, the more I look into it the better it seems and it makes me wonder why I didn't look into it earier!

Here I was about to start my last year of college, doing a business related degree and still not sure what to do when I graduated, I had been considering joining the Navy (alas not as a Navy Pilot as I would like) as for somthing cool to do until I figured out somthing more long term. Frankly the idea of a desk job bores me silly and I seemed more interested in playing Flight Simulator than making a start on that next report. So I asked my self, if I love flying so much why don't I become a professional pilot? And since then I haven't looked back and find myself excited to graduate so I can start my flight training and work towards my new career as a professional pilot! I've got my loan, I've been accepted into a flight school so all that remains is one last semester of college and then my dream begins!

Sorry that was long but I guess avation really does get me excited, surely a good sign of a wise carrer selection!
What did it for me was 10+ years (and still counting) in the legal field.

I originally intended on attending law school after paying down my undergrad loans. What better way than to be a Paralegal? So, I did the "musical law firm" thing for about five years trying to find an area of law I found interesting...

What I found out was that I did NOT want to be an attorney and SURE AS HELL don't want to remain a Paralegal for the rest of my life.

So, the search was on.

One day, in 2001, I was thinking about things I've ALWAYS wanted to do and thought "well, I've always wanted to get my 'pilots license'" and went on line for flight lessons around my home.

I had always had a love of aviation. As a child I was ALWAYS fascinated by anything that had to do with airplanes. BUT, I was told many, many times that the only way to become an airline pilot - was to be ex-military.

Well, being young and bullheaded, I decided not to join the military and hence, scratched my dreams of flying for an airline.

BUT, I could fly for myself, right?

Well, lo and behold, during my search, what do I see?

Private Pilot

On almost ALL of the sites.

I thought - "you mean I CAN realize my dream and fly for a living - maybe even and airline???"

Long story short - I did a search regarding loans for flight school and found Jetcareers.com.

I asked the question to Doug (as well as other individuals and on other sites) and read it on the home page "Am I too old?" (I'm 37 now). To which the answer was an EMPHATIC "NO".

So, here I am - working full time for a law firm whose primary focus is aviation law (lucked into that one) and flying three times a week and should have my Instrument rating by early Spring, then moving directly into the Commercial ticket.

I have no idea when I'll finish, but I'm glad I'm training right now and not looking for a job flying.

Maybe - HOPEFULLY - by the time I'm ready to apply for a CFI position, some of log jam that is the aviation industry will have loosened.

My career with whatever major I fly for will not be a long one in the grand scheme of things, but I'll do everything I can to enjoy every minute of it!!
Well im not a professional pilot yet, but know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the career for me, I dont care if all i get to is the regionals making less than 20,000 a year i will be happy, and thats all that matters.
I first flew in a 152 at my kindergarten graduation, it was awesome, then in 3rd grade i flew to Hawaii for vacation, and I knew then thats what i wanted to do. I didnt know if would come true but i knew that out of all the careers out there this was for me. I remember distinctly telling my dad at age 10 that i wanted to be a Delta airline pilot. I never recieved any real support because my vision is less than perfect and I wasnt around any airline pilots to associate with to support my dream . I lost site of my dream until 11 grade in high school, then i decided to go for it, but during my senior year after September 11 i completley gave up, i thought it would be impossible for me to obtain my dream, so i decided to find something else. But nothing made me happy as aviation, me and my dad looked into some schools and now here i am at Comair Aviation Academy and Im the happiest Ive ever been. I fly once a day and twce a day on weekends and the work is hard, but i know that its worth it. I love Jetcareers and my only regret is that i didnt find it earlier, its great to have support and advice from fellow airline pilots.