When I was in the first grade our teacher asked us all to draw a picture of what we wanted to do when we grew
up. What did I draw? An Airplane! Of course! I always wanted to fly! Seems
lots of us are that way--are you, too?
Let me give you some cheap advice: GO FOR IT!
Yes, flying is expensive, yes, it involves some work, but you know what? YOU CAN DO IT!
A friend of mine loves doing aerobatics in his Yak-55. He's an engineer who flies serious aerobatics for
fun. Every year at the Arlington Fly-In he parks his Yak so people can see up close what a serious aerobatic airplane
(and a Russian one, at that) looks like. Alongside he puts up some information about the airplane and doing aerobatics.
He also puts up his message to you kids who want to learn to fly. The message: GO FOR IT! YOU CAN DO IT!
He did it, I did it, lots of people have done it, YOU CAN, TOO!
But do yourself a favor. Finish school. Go as far as you can in school. Because: If you
can't read you can't fly. If you can't do basic math you can't fly. If you can't get a job because you dropped
out of school you can't earn the money you'll need to learn to fly and the military and airlines won't take you, either.
Even if school is hard, STICK WITH IT! It won't last forever. You'll be glad you did.
There are no dropout Astronauts, fighter pilots, Flight Instructors or airline captains.
You don't need to be a genius, you don't need a PhD, you don't need to be an athlete, you don't need super vision,
you don't need help from your parents or the government or anybody else (though it helps). But you have to be able to
read, do basic math and earn enough money to learn how to fly. Otherwise, its very, very tough.
START EARLY--like RIGHT NOW! You can start at any age--six or sixty! Learn all you can about airplanes
and flying--go to the airport (you can be an airport bum like me!), talk to pilots, go to the library, talk to your teachers,
talk to your parents, get a job (maybe at the airport--lots of pilots started out washing airplanes or pumping gas), build
and fly model airplanes. Put your heart into it!
If you can only afford to fly once a month, or even only once every six months, DO IT! Read all you can.
Flying is all about acquiring experience in the air and an understanding of how this flyin' stuff works. Whether you
want to fly a model airplane, solo a real glider at age 14 (lots of FUN!) or fly the Space Shuttle--YOU CAN DO IT!--but
you need to learn as much about it as you possibly can. That means reading about aviation, watching TV shows about aviation,
talking to people in the flyin' biz and plain old hanging around the airport.
I met a clever young fellow recently at a small airport who was earning flying money by drawing pictures of people's
airplanes and then selling the pictures to the airplanes' owners/pilots. Talk about a smart businessman! He even
got on national TV!
It's amazing how friendly and generous people are to kids who show some interest in interesting things, like
airplanes and flying. You might even get a hamburger ride and a chance to take the controls yourself. Show some
initiative, be bold. You'll be amazed at what happens.
Life is a lot more fun when you have a purpose in mind, are working towards a goal and have taken control of
your life. YOU CAN DO IT! Don't just accept life by default. Live your Dreams! Doesn't matter who
you are, how much money you have or don't have, who your parents are or how much money they have or don't have, what color
you are, where you come from, who your friends are, what your religion is or anything else. You don't need to be a geek
or superman. All that counts is YOU. You make your life what you want--don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
You're nobody's victim, slave or fool. Take charge and go for the gold. You'll never regret it.
If this sounds like I'm just talking to boys, sorry, I'm not. The commander of the last Space Shuttle mission
was a woman. Women have lots of advantages in the cockpit--really! Some of the very best pilots are women!
YOU CAN DO IT!
If you're anything like me, learning to fly will change your life.
See you at the airport.
Jamail Larkins is a young man who soloed at age 14 in Canada, in the US at age 16 and is now attending Embry-Riddle
Aviation University. He's also the world's youngest Air Show Pilot! Not only that, he's also a flying ambassador
for what you kids (and us old-timers, too!) can do at any age if you put your heart and mind into it. You can email
Jamail at JLarkins@JamailLarkins.com. See his web page at www.JamailLarkins.com. You can also read about him in the July/August 2006 issue of Pilot Journal Magazine or online at www.PilotJournal.com.
More! Click on these web page links for lots of great stuff for you young/not so young folks who want
to get in on this aviation stuff!