There is a road connecting Southport, NC to Oak Island where the Brunswick County airport sits, nestled along the salt marsh at the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway. As a boy, I spent my summers bouncing between my grandparents homes, one lived at the beach and the other in town. I can’t remember if it was my mom or dad who finally caved in and let me take an airplane ride, advertised with an old wooden sign by the road, “Flights Today….$25” it read. That first flight, in a Cessna 172, changed me forever. It must be in my blood, nothing makes me feel quite as alive as when I am flying.
When I made it back home to Satellite Beach, FL after that summer, I began flying lessons at Melbourne airport, I was 15 years old. A lot of mowing lawns and a loan from my Dad helped me get my license on my 17th birthday. I’ve been flying ever since.
Brady Lane wrote a column in the May 2014 Issue of EAA’s Sport Aviation in which he told powerful stories of the efforts people put forth to not only build their plane, but fly it to the annual gathering in Oshkosh, WI known as Airventure. In this article he included a couple of quotes that explain why I build better than my words ever could.
Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizen in a Republic speech, delivered in 1910. “Self-restraint, self-mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution—these are the qualities which mark a masterful people” Aviation seems to be full of masterful people, and I enjoy being around them.
He firmly believed that people learn by doing, and therefore “to judge a man merely by success is an abhorrent wrong.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man tumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Why not give it a shot?