When you fly your own family members around you take special care to make sure that they have a positive experience. I don’t really know how many times I have flown my children in a helicopter. My oldest boy Adam, who most people know as Jonathan, is a Chef living with his family In Tokyo. Adam flew with me on many occasions and was always interested and relaxed when we flew together.
Adam’s younger brother Ben was not so relaxed. When my other children were asking for steeper turns or more radical maneuvers Ben’s voice could be heard above the others shouting
I knew Ben would never be a pilot and that is fine. I am a believer in doing what you have a passion for and the rest will follow. Ben’s little brother Colin always enjoyed flying with me and if anything ever happened on a flight that bothered him he never mentioned it to anybody. Colin was always the first one to climb a cliff when were out in the mountains and he seemed to be comfortable with heights, to the extent that we often had to have Colin in the back when we hiked on mountain trails.
Laura is the youngest and having three older brothers who played sports and enjoyed the outdoors was just the family she grew up in. Laura turned out to be the biggest jock in the family, actually. She played all the sports the boys did, including hockey, and then went on to become one of the top ranked women water polo players in the nation.
The water polo fell by the wayside and Laura has, as many younger people do, been seeking a life that makes sense for her. She has the same spirit she has always had and I guess it only took me by surprise for a second when she told me that she was interested in becoming a helicopter pilot.
Why not I thought? Sure its a male dominated occupation, but I know quite a few capable female helicopter pilots. The fact that their gender has made them have to work that bit harder to establish themselves is not really in dispute. Female pilots that earned their positions through hard work and demonstrated ability have almost unanimously earned the respect of their peers. If Laura investigates the career a bit more with my help and decides that flying helicopters is the job for her then I have no doubt she will do what it takes to be successful.
We will get started with some preliminary investigations and see where that takes us. If any of my blog followers have any input it would be appreciated. My views tend to be a bit biased when it comes to flying helicopters and wishing my children all the best in what ever career they have or will pursue.
Laura sounds really cool! Good for her, and good for you for encouraging her to live her dreams.
My Dad was a diesel mechanic when I was growing up. I always wanted to learn more about engines, but whenever I tried to hang out in the garage so I could see what he was working on, he’d say “Go on, go bug your Mother.” Sheesh.
I wish you guys the best of luck in the research and pursuit of this awesome career. Keep us posted.
wow. That’s a shocker! I wish her the best of luck. We all should be so lucky that we find something to occupy our days that we enjoy so much.
Good for your daughter! It’s not like she doesn’t know what a helicopter pilots life is like! I also have a daughter who became an adult when I wasn’t looking! I think we all just want our kids to be happy. There are worse things then being able to talk to Dad about your day at work and have him really understand. I wish her all the luck in the world!
Ok, I’ve been thinking about this. It’s great that the comments have been so supportive of Laura becoming a pilot. I do believe that you should find something that you love to do. I’m weighing in as a Mom, with kids that do “adventurous” things, but this helicopter pilot thing scares me. I’ve been reading your stories!!! Wonderful as your experiences are, (and not so wonderful) I hope Laura finds something related that she might love to do.
Debbe ,I share your concerns but I started in helicopters when they were less reliable. I also chose to fly more hazardous types of missions which is not to say that Laura won’t chose the hazardous work as well.
Your daughter has a very active outdoor lifestyle that has some risks associated with her activities. I am sure you have your concerns as well but it is their life and their choice no matter what we advise or hope for.
What else can we do,but hope for the best for our kids.
I agree, we hope for the best for our kids!
I wasn’t really saying that she shouldn’t do it, just doing the worry part…
You’re right Lindsey does some sketchy stuff. She recently skied from Yosemite to Lee Vining by herself… and I agree again, it’s their life.
You never know where you might end up when you start with a career choice. It’s pretty exciting.
Really great blog.
I love this post especially. I’ve been a pilot for only about 5 years, but I came to it later in life. I had been a TV reporter in my early 20’s and really got hooked. I’ve got two daughters and the younger one, Jade, would often go up with me on the weekends, just doing traffic patterns or going somewhere in Southern California for lunch. I vividly remember her sitting there calmly eating a sandwich while I was working on steep approaches in our R-44. We’ve taken her friends for dinner in Santa Monica and San Diego and landed in her cousin’s yard in San Luis Obispo.
About a year or so ago, we were flying somewhere and I said “Do you want to try flying?” She thought for about two seconds and said “Sure!”
So on her 16th birthday she started training. She’s a busy girl like your daughter. Dances about 6 hours a day, teaches dancing at the Boys and Girls Club, school etc. So she took it slowly. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, the day before her 17th birthday, she soloed. And let me tell you, even though I’m absolutely comfortable with her instructor and our service team, I really freaked out when she sent me a text that she was going solo–should I run to airport to take pictures, or to the church to light a few candles? I decided to stay right at my desk.
Of course she did great. She is a very precise girl.
I don’t know if she’ll become a professional pilot–she probably rather be a professional dancer. But I know that she has learned so much about safety and keeping things under control and how weather and engines work. It has been a wonderful thing to watch.
So I’m conflicted. I know that if anything ever happened to her while flying, I would not be able to go on. But I love the feeling of accomplishment she gets and the pride she has telling people she is a helicopter pilot. How many girls our daughter’s age can say that?