My Checkride Changed Everything


My Checkride Changed Everything ~Guest Blogger Beth Stanton


The plan was to keep the date of my checkride a secret. If I bombed, I wouldn’t have to disclose that fact to the world. When I passed, it would be a happy surprise.

July 9, 2011 — the day I earned my wings, was the proudest moment of my life.

After the adrenaline and sweat dried, I was left in a stunned, surreal state. Having actually achieved this goal — a goal that had seemed so elusive just months ago — I felt simultaneously elated, exhausted, and a little bit lost.

After walking around for a couple of days feeling like the earth had shifted on its axis, I wrote the following trying to figure out what had just happened.

“My footfall rang in a universe that was not theirs,” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars

Everything is changed now, somehow different. Pinpointing the exact quality and quantity of this shift proves elusive.

Is it the small grief of achieving a long-sought goal? The inevitable “now what?” that closely follows? When sights are pegged so long to a particular star, choosing the next navigation point can bewilder.

I do not rush to fill the void. I revel in the in-between times — times when you have left one place but have not yet arrived at another. A state of suspended animation, set apart from the mundane, filled with pure potentiality.

This time-out-of-time can happen during metamorphosis, immersion in the sublime, or being transported in any way: by actual travel, by being stunned by beauty, art, or the natural world.

So here I exist. I have achieved a near-impossible goal and feel rather numb with semi-disbelief. I am a pilot, vetted and certified. Now begins the process of owning it. To fly on my own, make my own decisions, feel the weight of the awesome responsibility that has been entrusted to me. No longer a student, but a card-carrying member of the tribe of aviators.

This is an in-between time. I feel not quite who I was, but not yet whom I will be. For now, I’m content to simply marvel at it all.

Woman flying an aerobatic airplaneBeth Stanton
NAFI Director of Publication and Editor
NAFI #225396




Blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent, professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinions or position of the National Association of Flight Instructors. NAFI does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Readers should note content may appear in various media, including print, email, enews without further notice.
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