Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why Amature

I am going to break with one of my rules of not engaging with commentators I don't know to try to explain my description of my father as an amature pilot.  

My father earned commercial and instrument flight ratings in single engine land aircraft.  He worked very hard to earn those ratings with written and flying exams. If I describe him as a private pilot, I am failing to recognize his accomplishment. If I describe him as a commercial pilot, people want to know who he flew for. He never flew for money. 

He flew for the pure love of flying.  He refused to accept payment for flying.  I was at the airport with him one Sunday afternoon and a guy came in who had lost a radio controlled model airplane airplane, on like the second time he had flown it.  He had spent all winter building it, and within a couple of hours he had lost it in the trees.  None of the flight instructors was available to take him out to find it from the air, and the FBO manager, said - George why don't you take him out.  Within 15 minutes they had located the model airplane from the air, safely in a ditch. When they came back to the airport my father steadfastly refused to accept $20 for his time.  He did let the model owner pay for the airplane rental, but not the pilot time.  He said, I fly because I think it is the most magical thing you can do, I hope you fall in love with it and come back and learn to fly.  

So he was a commercial pilot, who preferred to remain as a hobbyist, doing it purely for the love of flying. I know a couple time he flew freight, in one case a corpse that needed to be delivered in time for a funeral, again refusing payment for his time.  
His unfulfilled dream was to spend his retirement as a flight instructor.  He let his insecurities get in the way, and failed the flight check - twice - and gave up.  I am sure if he had more self confidence, if he had tried again he would have passed.  You can do what you believe you can do, success is measured not by the number of times you try and fail, but by the one time you succeed.  

He learned to fly in the 50's, in aircraft that required the pilot to truly master the skills of flying. He was an amazing pilot. He flew a wide array of single engine aircraft.  He logged a couple thousand hours of flight time over about 20 years.  


  1. I thought that commentator was extremely rude. me - I would have deleted his verbal vomit!

  2. I had to research the meaning of the word ‘amateur’, commonly misspelled as ‘amature’. I now see that according to Merriam-Webster it has multiple meanings. One is ‘a person who does something poorly: a person who is not skillful at a job or other activity’. Another is ‘a person who does something (such as a sport or hobby) for pleasure and not as a job’. I was only aware of the first one listed here. I apologize for misinterpreting your use of the word when speaking of your father.

    1. Thank you, it did stimulate my thinking about his love of flying, something that kind of rubbed off on me, - though I never became a pilot.

    2. As a Private Pilot, prior to now if someone had referred to me as an ‘amateur’, I would have felt insulted. Now I know that in one sense of the word it DOES apply to me because I only fly ‘for pleasure and not as a job’. We live and learn.

  3. After reading all the brouhaha I decided to research the spelling of amature. While amature is not the common "proper" spelling it is an acceptable slang spelling of the word. I, myself, would have also spelled it amature.
    I have had a couple adverse commentaries of recent myself. Much like this one they were simply a difference of opinion. Occasionally readers seem to forget that we are blogger's simply sharing our own experiences and not journalists reporting factual news nor are we writing a thesis for our Masters degree.

  4. Anonymous8/31/2016

    I enjoyed reading about your Dad. I should be so lucky to find something that I am as passionate about.

    ~ Freckles

  5. this was a fun read.