Our family is learning to fly. Well, two of the three. The third is still learning to run and talk, but he’ll earn his wings soon enough!

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How the passion began…

I luckily was exposed to flying small planes when I was young. Dad flew and had a share in a Piper at Centennial Airport (KAPA). And my mom soloed at one point. When I was 16, my dad took me on a cross country flight up to meet some friends to go sailing on the Great Lakes. It was amazing! I vividly remember punching through a layer of low clouds and then flying above them with a clear blue sunny day and fluffy pillows below us. We also experienced running out of gas in one tank and finding an ’emergency’ airport to fill up at. But that’s another story.

I first started as a student pilot in Pinedale, Wyoming. I was working at Two Bar Spear Ranch, branding cattle, moving cattle to the summer grazing pastures and starting horses. During my time off, I flew. It was very relaxed, as it was an non-towered airport with lots of rural land to fly low over. I remember never seeing another plane while I was in the air. I absolutely loved practicing stalls; the loss of gravity but for a fraction of a moment. The views were stunning and I have always wanted a ranch of my own since then. Unfortunately, I never started a log book, so my ten to fifteen hours are unofficial, but that’s okay with me. I had the chance to fly once or twice in Chattanooga, TN and also over the Everglades in Florida, but not logging time.

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It wasn’t until Steve, my husband, wanted to earn his private pilots license that I renewed my interest in flying little planes and started an official log book. We joined Northway Aviation at Paine Field (KPAE) in Washington. It was the complete opposite experience from Wyoming! KPAE is class Delta, but within 40 miles of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (class Bravo). More importantly, it’s where they build Boeings! It was a busy airport where I would be landing or taking off with 747 ‘Heavies’ and there was a lot more going on. Both on the radio, on the ground and in the air.

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Boeings and air traffic at KPAE

My favorite experiences flying in Washington were the rare, but very clear days where you could see Mount Rainer, Seattle and Victoria, BC. When it is sunny in Seattle, it is like nothing else. I also liked flying up to Arlington Field, which is also an non-towered airport. But here, they also tow gliders, test fly experimental planes, it has a busy heliport and some aircrafts don’t even fly with radios. I really learned to keep my eyes and ears peeled constantly.

I recommend Northway Aviation if you’re up in the Seattle area and taking the King Schools Cessna Flight Training Course.

Why do I want to fly? It’s a combination of all the little stories above and the challenge of it. Flying is a freedom of gravity (well, in a sense, it is still a vital reason why we can fly). And it is a way to view our beautiful world that not many folks experience. If you’re in Colorado and want to come fly with me, I hold an open invitation!