A Lesson in a Kitchen

At the first job I had, a few of my coworkers and I lived on the same street. We would often spend time outside of work together, sometimes laughing or fighting, but always bemoaning the grievances of our mutual employment.

I remember sitting in a kitchen, watching a co-worker, Dereck, whip up a chicken and rice dish for all of us to share. He would slip his fingertip into the sauce and sample it’s progress, sometimes adding dashes or pinches of various spices without measuring.

While the end result was often good, what I remember best is the amusing stories and jokes he would tell while he cooked; he found ways to balance entertaining the lot of us while he diced, sauteed, and served.

Only a few years later, I realize he was so much more than a good cook–I now see that Dereck was mastering the art of owning a kitchen only as a true chef can, capturing our attention and taste buds as he worked with his ingredients.

Mastering the Art of Flight Training

I am not chef, I am a pilot, but I feel that pilots often lack this same mastery of their own artform. Instead of mastering their aircraft, the environment, the passenger, or the mission, many pilots learn to fly the way an amatuer cooks; they grab a recipe, following the instructions mechanically, step-by-step, and put the reciepe away, never really understanding how or why it works.

While a recipe works for an afternoon lunch, the art of flying requires so much more. A pilot can find themselves in many different roles. These can be as caretaker, weatherman, host or hostess, team captain, and most often, guide; a guide leading themselves and others into another world, so vast and different from our own: the sky.

This beautiful and sacred privilege, as guide to the skies, can never be accomplished with just a good recipe.

A great pilot–an aviator artist–masters all the elements of flying and weaves them into a seamless whole, just as Dereck does in the kitchen.

But how do we get there?

A Heading and A Destination

My name is Lawrence D. Kimball, and I am a Commercial Pilot and Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. I have learned to fly and fix airplanes over the last seven years.

More importantly, I have a deep desire to master this art form called flying. My training in maintenance and flight training was designed for humanitarian flying overseas, which meant sometimes perilous weather conditions and rugged runways in aircraft heavily loaded and requiring maximum performance.

My instructors did not leave this rigorous flying to chance–but pushed their students to become pilots who have thoroughly mastered the elements to be a good ‘guide of the skies.’

In my pursuit to master flying, I am starting this blog with a Student Pilot series. I will cover the traits I have found necessary to a good student pilot, based on what I discovered–and lacked–in my own experience in pilot training.

I invite you to come along and share your own insights along the way. Hopefully, when all the ingredients and stories come together, we will have as good a finished product as Dereck had all those years ago!

Lawrence D. Kimball

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