Expanding My Horizons: Why I Fly

[Zach Brewer, a junior at UIUC, has taken flight lessons since fall 2013 at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland. He has even taken family members up in the air with him (above, with his dad and grandfather), and explains why he enjoys the experience of piloting a plane (below).]


Whenever people ask me why I fly, I always answer, “because I love it.” It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason, but the feeling of freedom that comes from flying is incredible, and the view doesn’t hurt, either. I was hooked after my first flight, and even today, I look forward to the next time I get to fly.

When I first started taking flight classes, I had only planned on completing my private pilot’s license. Now, almost two and a half years later, I’m working on becoming a flight instructor. I joke around about this, saying, “I started flying and forgot to stop,” but the truth is that I wouldn’t want to stop. Being in the air is not only fun, but it is also a great way to take a break and escape the stresses of classes, homework, and exams. Sometimes I think flying is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Through aviation, I have met a ton of fantastic people and made lifelong friends. Whether it is in class at the Institute of Aviation, talking to a group of flight instructors, or at EAA Airventure (the world’s largest annual airshow), everyone is extremely friendly and passionate about the same thing: flying.

I’ve always been someone who enjoys expanding my horizons, and flying has helped me scratch this itch as well. There’s a plethora of aircraft you can fly, airports to go to, and things to see. Parkland has plenty of certificates and ratings to pursue as well, if you are so inclined. No matter how much experience you have, there is always something you can improve upon or learn.

When people hear that I am a pilot, they often ask me if I want to fly for a living. I’ve definitely considered this option, but being a pilot has a lot of benefits even if you don’t fly for an airline. It shows a high level of responsibility, independence, and determination that can be useful anywhere. Being responsible for flying an airplane makes you better at analyzing a situation and making an informed decision. It can also make you better at objectively evaluating your own performance and figuring out how to improve. These skills are useful in many different aspects of life.

I’ve always loved flying, and there has never been any doubt in my mind about whether or not I was going to become a pilot. As an engineering student at the University of Illinois, it has been a bit difficult to find the time for flight classes, but I’ve always been able to make it work. Even though I try to explain why I love flying, the only real way to understand is to experience it for yourself. If you are at all interested in flying, I would highly recommend that you give it a shot.


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