I've been flying for about twelve years now. I began flying gliders in 1999 near Caddo Mills, Texas. Southwest Soaring was a small glider outfit with three rental gliders and two tow planes. They had a healthy business with a number of private gliders in the hangar, but ultimately shut down in 2007.
Gliders are great, but it is difficult to go from point A to point B, land and return back to home base without a lot of help and expense. Gliders are more of a sport unto themselves. How far can I go without landing out and how fast can I get there and back? This is the sport of gliders and I encourage everyone to try it. It really is more art than science.
In 2006, I started working on my private pilot's license. It basically took me nine months to complete that training and I immediately rolled into my instrument training. A private pilot's license is great, but you can only fly under visual flight rules. I wanted to make sure that no matter what the weather was doing, within reason, I could get back home. So I enrolled and completed my instrument training in roughly 12 months. An instrument rating allows you to fly in suboptimal weather. This also made flying much more enjoyable for me because it took a great deal of worry away about how I would get home if the weather turned bad.
Now I enjoy co-ownership of a 2006 Diamond DA40 airplane that I share with three other instrument rated pilots. We recently passed a year of co-ownership and are having a great time. The plane is used every week and all get alone greatly. See the picture below.
I started taking photographs in earnest during high school, and always had an interest in photography as an art form. Who can look at the work of Ansel Adams and not be moved by the strength and beauty of his images.
After working for Radiant Systems (later acquired by NCR), I took off some time to recharge my batteries and explore my photography passion. Since most of my photography interests are still life, landscapes and travel related, I combined my interests in flying with that of photography and flew myself to Palo Duro canyon near Amarillo in January 2013. This was a wonderful trip allowing me to see a new part of the state and really experiencing west Texas. The result of that trip was a photograph I entered in the 2013 State Fair of Texas photography contest which won acknowledgement from the judges.
Being a driven, type A personality, the decision to take some time off was difficult. In fact, the time allowed me to reflect on past experiences; successes and challenges, and gain perspective on each. I believe this prepared me better for future endeavors than any training I could have taken.
At the encouragement of friends, I have established a photography web site which offers my best photos to the general public. It is somewhat tongue in cheek that I report $0 in sales to date.