Friday I put my plane, N922CD, up for sale.
I got my pilot license in 2002. Since then I have flown over 700 hours, obtained my instrument rating, flown from Colorado to Alaska and all points in between. It has been an amazing 10 year journey and I'm so glad I made the effort to learn how to fly.
So why stop? It's not the money - but don't kid yourself, having your own plane is never cheaper than commercial travel. It's not the hassle of keeping the plane in good shape. It is not the hassles of dealing with all the paperwork and tax issues. It all comes down to relaxation.
For me, flying is not relaxing - it's work. It's pleasurable work and very rewarding when I fly from one place to another, but it's still work. It's work to stay current so I remain safe. It's work when I land in a vacation spot and have to check the weather constantly to make sure we can end our vacation in safety. It's work to keep all the databases and systems up to date with the latest information. And mostly it is work just flying. My body is tense as I'm always alert tending to the aircraft. When I fly, I'm constantly looking for other airplanes, listening to ATC for instructions, and thinking about the next three things I need to do while keeping emergency procedures always in the back of my mind. And while the scenery is beautiful and the feelings of moving in the air like a bird are uplifting to the soul - the work side of things weighs heavy on me. It weighs more the less I fly and that weight makes flying less joyful.
When I started flying I was looking for a challenge outside of work - work was becoming predictable after 10 years in the same industry. I always dreamed of being a pilot - I guess that is why I decided to go to the USAF Academy. I passed on being a pilot in the AF - but I always knew some day I'd learn to fly.
Now with so much going on at work - my mind is in overdrive - the last thing I need is a hobby that is a lot of work. The fact is, flying less made me feel guilty. Every time I heard a single engine plane overhead or decided to stay home on a beautiful weekend I felt like I should be flying - going places, staying current, getting the value for all my training and investment.
And then there is my healthy fear of death. I don't want to die flying. I don't want to be a casual pilot - flying a few hours every now an then. All of my training and experience tell me that is dangerous. If I am going to fly I need to fly enough to be safe - which for me is more than 50 hours a year. The last 2 years I barely got in 20 hours. I felt so rusty I would only go up with an instructor.
The fun went away - the challenge became work - and I need something other than work to relax.
Here are the last two images of N922CD as she makes her way to Scottsdale, AZ to be sold. This was the second time I saw my plane flying from the ground - the first was when she was delivered to me 10 years ago. Bye 2CD - I hope your new owner has as many great experiences as I did.
Away She Goes...