Hobbies, Hovercraft, and Aviation

Feeling unmotivated, couped up, or stagnant from socially distanced activities and working from home? If not, please share your secret, for everyone else, don’t forget about your hobbies. I work on the technology side of Pilot Proficient and, as with many in the industry, have a handful of career-related pastimes. Sometimes though, you need to take a step back and switch your thought process.

Why Hobbies?

In addition to the fun of a hobby activity, changing your focus and mental energy onto a different task can be re-invigorating.  It’s similar to having your best ideas in the shower, different parts of the mind kick in and do the job.

Spending some time on a non-work activity also reduces stress, and reductions in stress can help improve the quality of work as well as increase safety in dangerous environments.

When we take time off from working on a problem, we change what we're doing and our context, and that can activate different areas of our brain. If the answer wasn't in the part of the brain we were using, it might be in another.

Flying as a hobby

For the vast majority of pilots, flying is a hobby, a challenging avocation like nothing else. The very thrill of flying is what drew most of us to it early on, and for many, aviation is their escape; a time to focus solely on the task at hand. A time to justifiably switch the cell phone to Airplane Mode and connect with the machine and the elements. Flying can even allow its participants to take on a new persona: the mild-mannered accountant can (and has to) become an assertive master of his own destiny when at the controls of his airplane. While aviation is an engaging, fun, and involved hobby, it is one that must be approached like a profession to enjoy safely. Training, adherence to regulations, imitations and standard operating procedures, and intimate knowledge of the aircraft, environment, and operations are required to ensure a safe outcome. 

No matter how long you’ve been enjoying aviation as a hobby, we hope our courses (both free and paid) help keep you on the right path and enhance your journey. 

Is flying your career?

If you fly frequently for work we hope you enjoy the aviation industry, but following with the benefits of switching gears taking a break from aviation training might be more what you are looking for.  I’m not going to come out and announce some new weird portion of the site called ‘The Pilot Hobby Zone’ or some crazy app; However, I thought I’d take the opportuning to quickly share a couple of hobbies Gavin and I have.

Mechanical and Hands On

Gavin and I have both found hands-on mechanical work to be cathartic and relaxing after a stressful day.  If you work on your car it’s also a great way to gain comfort in your vehicle and save a couple of dollars along the way.  There is a lot of crossover between pilots and mechanical DIYers; the pilot is often naturally attracted to, and curious about, mechanical things. 

On the subject of mechanical things, one project Gavin enjoyed was reviving this garage-find Porsche. The satisfaction of taking a long-neglected machine and bringing it back to life is akin to greasing a landing (ok, maybe the landing is better). Even so, focusing one’s skills on a task and improving those skills each time brings satisfaction and pride, a common thread whether you’re replacing a clutch master cylinder (thanks for putting it in such a convenient place, Porsche!) or flying a single-engine ILS approach. 

While there is a reasonable side of me that uses the time change break and fix the odd broken car part, I would be remiss if I didn’t share one of my favorite hands-on projects.

Below are a couple of pictures from years of hobby time, focused on creating a hovercraft.  While it took some math and aerodynamic knowledge to build, it was really just for the fun of it and to take a break from the computer screen.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to take a break

Thanks for taking your time to read this months newsletter.  We’ve got some exciting stuff in the coming months with a new free video series to be announced as well.  Enjoy fall and fly safely.