As our boys get older and closer to graduation, thoughts frequently turn to what they want to do with their lives after high school.
Isaac is a senior and is pretty close to pinning down a college and course of study. Isaac has always been adamant that he wants to be a farmer, but as he gets closer and closer to starting his future, he is realizing that it is virtually impossible to be a farmer without another occupation. So, his sights have turned to what he can do in life that he enjoys, but also earns enough to support his dream of farming.
Walker, on the other hand, hasn't always been too focused on a career. He wants to farm, but just hasn't settled on that dream.
Until one day...out of the blue...he said he wants to be a helicopter pilot.
We still aren't quite sure where that came from...but our job is to support him.
He waivered a little when someone told him that there is a lot of math involved in getting an education and becoming a pilot. Math is not his strong suit, so he started to rule out the possibility.
Last Christmas, Walker received the gift of a helicopter lesson.
COVID delayed that lesson, but a few weeks ago he was able to finally redeem that gift certificate.
He was excited and nervous all at the same time.
We gave him explicit instructions to ask his instructor all kinds of questions. The top question on the list was whether he would be able to cut it with his math skills. His instructor reassured him that he wasn't a math wiz either.
We knew this lesson would either turn Walker in a different direction or reaffirm his desire to be a pilot.
I think we created a monster.
Walker had a great experience and was so excited when he landed. He was able to hover (shaky...but one of the hardest skills to master) and even had complete control of the helicopter for a while.
The instructors at Haven's Aviation were amazing and just what Walker needed. Not only did they patiently answer every question Walker threw at them, they spent an additional two hours with our family back at the hanger. They explained everything about flying, showed us additional aircraft, and most importantly helped direct us in the next steps for Walker. They gave us a lot of hints and tips for getting started...books that he can start studying now, amount of time it might take to get his license, jobs and career paths as a helicopter pilot, estimates of how much the training would cost...a lot...and ways to save some money.
One piece of advice they gave him was to go fly a plane. They told him to experience flying several types of aircraft to really see what he wants to fly. Helicopter lessons are more expensive than plane lessons, so they suggested getting a plane license first, and then later getting an additional helicopter license.
But he still wants to fly a helicopter
We are very fortunate to know someone who knows someone who owns a plane.
Last Sunday Walker was invited to take a Sunday afternoon fly.
The plane was just big enough for the family to join Walker and the pilot.
Walker was the co-pilot, complete with his own headset.
We just sat in the back and enjoyed the ride.
We left our small town airport and headed south to fly over our cabin in Southern Ohio. It's amazing how far you can go in a little jaunt in an airplane.
It was so fun to look down and pick out the farms of many of our friends, a family member's Christmas tree farm, a small local town and all the different roads we travel. Isaac has an eagle eye and was always the first to point out the different landmarks.
Unfortunately, our flight was cut short. A few minutes into our flight, the pilot had some concerns, and out of an abundance of caution, felt it was best to return to the airport. Once we landed, the plane was re-checked by both the pilot and a mechanic and a minor adjustment was made.
Our pilot was great through the entire flight. She did her job by focusing on getting us safely back to the airport (don't worry...we were never concerned) so she turned communications over to Walker. As the co-pilot, he reassured us that everything was O.K. but just to be safe, we were going to return to the airport. He emphasized not to panic and that everything was fine.
Even though the flight didn't turn out the way we had all planned, Walker had a great experience and was able to see the pilot in action in a not so ideal situation.
Through it all, the pilot and Walker kept communicating through their headsets. We were in the back where we couldn't hear what they were talking about, but they had their own special thing going on up front.
The most important lesson he learned was that no matter what happens, the pilot never gets to quit flying the plane. In other words, even if things start going south...the pilot keeps on piloting...and not panicking.
Once we returned to the airport, we stuck around waiting for the mechanic to arrive (in the airplane world, your mechanic just flies to you). We got to know our pilot better and Walker asked her lots of questions.
This airport happens to have a flight simulator. One of the guys in the airport asked Walker if he wanted to try it out. He was more than happy to oblige. He got to learn what all the instruments were for and which ones to watch in flight. He had to circle the airport a couple of times to get lined up for a landing, but he landed his "aircraft" safely on the runway.
Then Isaac gave it a try.
I don't think I am going to be flying with him any time soon.
His landing was a crash and burn.
Our pilot assured Walker that he will get another flight.
I really think we have created a monster.
All he does is play on his phone...except when we tell him to get off, we realized he is shopping for planes.
He can't wait to get back in the air.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.