First Solo

“Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first.” –old adage

Spurred by a girlfriend’s prompting many years ago to spend a bonus on himself, Curt fulfilled his childhood dream of flying and earned his pilot’s license. He didn’t set any records for soloing or getting his license in record time, but he did spend a lot of time during his early training practicing crosswind landings. Understanding the nuances of Mother Nature when she refuses to cooperate and learning patience are two important qualities for any pilot.

Passed the checkrige–a licensed Private Pilot

He’s since gone on to earn his complex endorsement (authorization to fly a plane with an adjustable pitch propeller and retractable landing gear) and flown several different makes and models. His flying career dwindled when he moved to Florida and started raising a family, but now that he’s sold his sailboat he’s devoting more time to boring holes in the sky.

His most memorable flight was flying from Pontiac airport in metro Detroit to Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was dark on a Friday night and he could see the traffic jam taillights where I-75 and I-10 converged below, making him very glad to be toodling along at 125mph in clear skies. Visibility was “severe clear” and he could see the lights of the Mackinac Bridge 80 miles away.

As an added bonus, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) were shining overhead and prompted the name for his rental condo on Mackinac Island, “Northern Lights Vacation Rentals.”

His second favorite flight was flying out of John Wayne Orange Country Airport in January 2012 at the end of a working trip. Doing two touch-and-goes at Long Beach as the sun was approaching the horizon, followed by a landing and take-off at Compton as the sun was an orange ball touching the Pacific Ocean, lighting the sky in a perfect orange sunset, was enough to fill his soul. Flying back to John Wayne as the lights of the LA Basin were lit up like diamonds below was a magical moment for him. After landing he had a grin from ear to ear. His short description, “LA Woman,” was inspired by that flight.

The old adage might be wrong: There are times when the majesty of flight transcends the earthly realm and landing is but the inevitable return from heaven.

The Mackinac Bridge after taking off from Mackinac Island


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