I was born barefooted, and naykid now that I think about it.
Who'd a thought that a naykid and barefooted country boy would grow up to
give folks the opportunity to see sites unlike they'd ever seen before.
Although clothed now, the amazement of flying has never subsided in me.
Gravity Smavity, I feel that I was born to fly. I'm sure many
other aviators have felt the same, and are realizing the same dreams that I
am today. Although I've not attempted to embark upon the commercial
airline world of aviation, I don't feel that I'm missing anything. I
wish I could express in words the joy that I, along with my precious cargo,
enjoy each time our wings lift from the earth and climb into the beauty
above. Its a sight that so many have looked at in silence and
amazement. It's no where like the picture that is presented from
several miles above the ground when you fly with the airlines. We're talking between 1000 and 8000
feet here, the colors are not meshed together, the roads and rivers are
visible, and the layout of the land is displayed in a manner
discernable by each of us as we continue our journey along the path that so
few get the opportunity to do.
By the way, Who Is OTIS? Take a look at the journals
page to get the scoop. Before you go though, be prepared to laugh, to
cry, to visualize, and perhaps the most important, to dream.
My name is Shane Watts and have been involved in the
aviation community for over 20 years. I began my aviation career as an
Air Traffic Controller serving America and the United States Air Force.
I truly enjoyed the time that I served and the opportunities that presented
themselves along the way. I did see the world, sometimes it was in 60
pounds of gear with the 1st Combat Communications Group, or sometimes it was
in Bermuda shorts and flips flops. Serving in the US, Germany, UK,
Italy, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Belgium, Spain, and perhaps, just perhaps,
a few other places, I was given the opportunity to view many different
lifestyles and learn from each. For those young men and women
contemplating the military as a career, I did enjoy it. Ask questions
along the way, it gives you so much of a clearer view of the world that's
out there. Have expectations and make them reality.
Okie Doke, so I served and learned for 15 years as an air
traffic controller, and simultaneously began flying in September of 1997.
This flying thing is something that I had always dreamed of, and now there I
was standing on the flight line looking at a Cessna 172 like it was a UFO.
Since I'd been around aviation most of my life I was somewhat familiar with
most of the instruments, dials, switches, etc that were in the cockpit.
Throughout my career I had held positions within the ATC community that were
Pilot-Controller Liaisons (PICLs) and was lucky enough to get rides in
T37's, T38's, UH-1's, UH60's, T43's, and an F16! All in all, 21 hours and
none of it counted, hehe. Anyway, the first couple of day's flights
went really well and I soloed on my fourth training day. When I had
made up my mind to learn to fly, I tried to fly every single day, and
sometimes twice. I felt that if I flew once a week, half of the
following weeks lessons would be spent on relearning what I had forgotten
the week before. This strategy seemed to work and 3 weeks later I was
submitted for evaluation. The FAA inspector that I elected to go with
wasn't able to do it immediately so I had to wait for a few days, and from
flight one to certification took 42 days. I was certified and owned
the skies!!! My wife (probably scared to death) hopped in the aircraft only
5 minutes after my checkride and off we went site seeing over the Hoover Dam
and Red Rock Canyon. It was cooooool!
I now had my license to learn and learn I did. I flew
as often as possible and since my work-mates were air traffic controllers, I
often took them with me and we shot approaches into Nellis AFB (Home of the
Thunderbirds) and went site seeing up-range near where Area 51 doesn't
exist. That too, was cooooool!
I started my instrument training in 98 and realized that
there was so much to learn. Flying and precision flying are two very
different things. Not to take anything away from non-instruments
pilots, but I honestly learned how to fly properly when I was given such a
narrow margin of tolerance. VFR drivers with bazillions of hours know
this as well; it's a different world when you learn to absolutely positively
control the movement of the aircraft within a very small flight path.
I would recommend instrument training to all pilots, if only to teach the
pilots more about the aircraft they already fly.
Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. I love to fly and I
try to get airborne as often as I can. Take a look at the schedule and if
you'd like to go, send me an email and we'll do it. We share the cost
of the rental aircraft so it's actually cheaper than you think. I
don't charge anyone for my piloting services.