After weeks of paperwork and dealing with the FAA, I have finally been cleared to fly. And just in time, too!
By the time you are reading this, I will have already been back in the left seat and in the air. Over the next few months I will be refreshing my Multi- Engine and Instrument ratings and will add a Tail-Wheel endorsement so I can be prepared for the DC-3 certification I am scheduled to complete in October of 2017.
As with any project of this size and scope, there have been high highs and low lows over the last year. I have struggled to hit my stride and have not been able to devote the time needed to plan for this flight because of pressing responsibilities to my other businesses.
I would love to be able to spend much more of my time toward this, but I just haven’t been able to do so – until now. New editors in place to take over The Eagle and Gaycation Magazine and a growing staff will allow me the luxury of focusing more on PrideFlight.
The amount of planning and coordination required for this flight could fill months, and will continue to evolve as my team and I move forward. In mid- January, we will again begin the search for crew. A single pilot can technically fly the DC 3, but in reality it really needs a minimum crew of three: Pilot, Co- Pilot and a Flight Engineer/Mechanic. Because this flight will span a year or so, I will be looking for several Co-Pilots to sit in the right seat during specific legs of the flight. I would prefer to have an LGBTQ Co-Pilot, but quite frankly I am not really sure if there are any out there who would be willing to commit to a project like this. Nevertheless, we are beginning the search right after the New Year.
I know a lot of people think this project is never going to take off for a myriad of reasons, and I under¬stand why they would think that. It has NEVER been done before and they don’t know me. I get it, and I understand the challenges that I will face trying to get this project funded and off the ground, but that will not deter me from trying.
If I had listened to the naysayers that cautioned me about buying a 61-foot sailboat as my first boat and living aboard for three and a half years – or buying a vintage motor home and driving across the U.S. for a year; or launching a Gay travel magazine; or buying hotels; or starting a radio station; or buying a gay newspaper in Indiana – I never would have done anything.
The first step of accomplishing anything is to dream it, then work your ass off to make it happen. I hear all the negative comments, the cautionary advice and the fear of failure that others try to project onto me for whatever their reasons, but that has never stopped me before and it won’t stop me now.
If I hit a wall during the process, I will try to climb over it, under it or around it and I will get past it. I never once thought that this project would be easy and believe me, it hasn’t been, but in 2017 I will do whatever I have to do in order to keep this project alive and moving forward.
One of the things that will hap¬pen right away is the PrideFlight2018 website, www.prideflight2018.com, being redeveloped to host my blog, “From the Flight Deck,” and to offer regular project updates. We will also launch several crowd-funding campaigns. We have many other initiatives throughout 2017 scheduled to let people know about our flight and to continue moving the project forward.
I realize and accept the fact that the LGBTQ community may take its time to get behind me, but I believe with all of my heart that eventually, they will come around.
Until then, stay tuned.