It all started with a Concorde…or to be precise a miniature model of it, which I got from my grandfather at the age three or four. There were a few of other airplane models too, mostly jet fighters. But it was the Concorde that I was fascinated with the most…its sleek lines, the graceful delta wings, the elongated, sharp nose, the shiny white paint it was covered with, the colourful Air France livery…
It perfectly landed and took off of every table, shelf or dresser we had in our house. However, as it also had its share of crash landings after a few months the surface of our tables looked like a Swiss cheese.
Then I grew up. The colourful, limitless of the world of my imagination that made me the Captain of that Concorde was replaced by a routine world of the school classroom. Years passed by and I never came back with my thoughts to the Concord, and the magic of flight…until the time when I was 17 or 18 and started to travel regularly in airliners.
However, surprisingly, this time my fascination with airplanes blended with fear; I was actually afraid of flying. Quite logically, I didn’t even dare to think that I could take controls of an airplane myself and convinced myself that taking a plane would always remain a painful necessity.
It was only several years later at the age of thirty that a friend of mine managed to convince me to take a trial flight in a small airplane. In hindsight, I can see now that despite the fear, deep down, flying had always fascinated me. I was overwhelmed by the magic and beauty of soaring above the clouds; the aviation bug was dormant deep inside me, the small boy that used to be the Concord Captain when he was four, and was waiting to be awaken.
Did I run away that special day from the airport? Hell no! I did take up to the skies with a flight instructor in a little Piper Tomahawk, a popular two-seater trainer. And although I was still fearful, I knew that day that I was able to overcome my fear, and what I found on the other side was extraordinary. In fact, it was not only the flight itself that fascinated me but also the confidence and strength I got from overcoming my own limitations. I saw the rewards that came along with going outside my comfort zone.
This was the real start of my journey not only as a pilot but also as a grown up man and although I have had my ups and downs, the journey continues to that day following the famous motto of Leonardo Da Vinci:
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.