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I never thought it would happen to me.

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Well-known member
Sep 22, 2005
Throughout my career I would occasionally witness a co-worker or friend who would one day throw up their hands and walk away from aviation forever. I mean not even stay current or read an aviation magazine just gone. It was like turning off a switch and they boxed up all their pilot stuff and shoved it in the attic. The spark could be a stint of unemployment or bad pro-check or life change like a divorce but one day they hung up the headset after thousands and thousands of hours and never look back. It always shocked me. How could someone with such a strong love and determination have it just vanish one day without warning? I had a clue from an old WW2 vet. After the war he hated flying and never sat in a plane again for over 30 years then one day the inspiration hit him and he was back at the field. He told me that after 4 years of war airplanes began to represent something negative to him. After some time he was able to forgive and forget and back his interest came. I still didn't understand then two years ago I was laid off from a good flying job. No big deal, I have been furloughed or laid off many times, but this time was different. I didn't have the desire to start looking for another flying job anymore. I made a few half hearted efforts but it was gone. I own a small airplane. I figured that perhaps I would put some time on the tach of my old friend and that would light up the dream again, but it too sits dormant and dusty in the hangar. I can't even bare to look at it anymore. It was like a switch was turned off somewhere and I don't know how to get it back. I know I still have the love and drive but still that part of me is lifeless. I also know that when my friends and I made it to a big jet our mutual interest in small planes dried up. At least I enjoyed taking my plane up once in a while. They wouldn't even sit in a shiny new 182RG if you were to give it to them. They would just say "thanks" and promptly sell it.

Anyone with any advise? Anyone with a similar experience?

I've got a couple of casual friends who flew left seats for Northwest and Delta and took early retirements last year.

Neither of them miss it and have no desire to fly again. To them, the way they each described it, th last several years of flying became just a job.

As a private pilot who works to fly, it seemed foreign to me.

The closest I came to this was after my carbon monoxide poisoning and subsequent entering IMC while throwing up, trying to keep concious, and vertigo scare six years ago.

It took me a few years after that to enjoy flying again. I had to force myself to do it, and occasionally I'd get a short anxiety attack (that I kept to myself) whenever I'd fly above 12,000 (even with a cannula up my nose).

Last year, I traded my Bonanza up for a C340 and my love and enthusiasm for flying has returned and risen like the day I first learned to fly.

Too bad avgas prices have risen faster and made me justify my flying time/trips. I picked a helluva time to trade 12gph for 40 gph.

Do you own a business? How can you pull the bucks for the expenses of a small plane?

Yes, I own a business that owns the airplane, and I'm the only one who flies it too.
Avaition Viagra.

Unfortunatly, they have not made it yet. I feel the same way, most of the time. I got checked out in a local 172 last summer for the sole purpose of taking my kids and neice up. I did that, flew a total of an hour, and have not been back since.

Flying still pays the mortgage, but as B.B. King sings so well in a song, "the feelings gone...."

Singing from the same page me thinks.
It may be that the missed birthdays, anniversarys, big games or parties just aren't worth the declining pay and benefits, tough commutes and (it seems) nothing but more cutting in the future is enough to drive the love for flying out of some.

It doesn't necessarily take being shot at to make an airplane seem like a negative in your life.TC
I know people who have washed out of military aviation programs who couldn't
bear to be around airplanes anymore. Some of them shook it off faster than others and many never looked back and never flew again.

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