For writers, any kind of writers, the big league means writing books.
My first foray came 20 years ago when Tab Books – eventually absorbed into the McGraw Hill network – gave me a chance to write about something I held near and dear to my heart, and still do … learning to fly. Called The Joy of Flying, the volume offered folks who possessed nothing more than a keen interest in learning to fly everything they needed to make the decision. It was a step-by-step guide that spoke to certification requirements, pricing, flight schools and airplanes. The nice part was that the book actually sold quite well for a number of years. I updated JOF in the mid 1990s because the market was there. People wanted to learn to fly.
And I think they still do today.
It might seem a little crazy to be talking about learning to fly when thousands of aircraft manufacturing people are losing their jobs at Cessna, Cirrus and Hawker Beechcraft and aircraft orders are being torn up at an unprecedented rate. There are thousands of professional pilots of of work as well. But although many people think the sky is falling, I believe it’s actually one of the best times to invest in a pilot certificate. And I’m not alone. A pal of mine – Max Trescott – beat me to the punch of rewriting The Joy of Flying again with his own book about learning to fly.
Best of all, Max’s book is available online for free.
I’m proud to endorse, Max’s book, “Learn to Fly: Live Your Dream and get a Pilot’s License.”, even if I do secretly wish I’d written it first. In case you haven’t met him yet, Max is the 2008 National Flight Instructor of the Year, as well as the author of the book many of us use to make the transition to the world of glass cockpits a little easier for other pilots, “Max Trescott’s G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook.” No doubt an online book is the way the world is headed. McGraw Hill, in fact, told me that selling hard-cover aviation books these days is nearly impossible. I’m hoping it wasn’t just my current book- A Professional Pilots Career Guide.”
Max wrote and formatted Learn to Fly book to answer some of the most important questions people new to airplanes have stalled on the tips of their tongues, like why everyone should learn to fly at all. That one is easy. We need pilots to sustain the fun aspect of the industry for all of us and of course we need pilots to climb the professional ranks. The process takes time, so a newbie can never wait for better times or they will already have missed them by the time they finish their training.
Then, of course there is Max’s explanation of what it takes to learn to fly. How do you find a flight school, what does it cost, what can you do after you have a pilot’s license and a half dozen more important elements. What I love is that anyone can send the link to Max’s book to anyone else with even a remote interest in learning to fly.
So here’s my suggestion as you ponder the hordes of junk e-mail you receive each day. Go over to the Max Trescott on General Aviation web site and click on the link to his book. Copy the link from the browser into a blank e-mail message or two. Now, send it along as a note to at least 20 of your friends. The book is a quick read, so after you send the link, follow up a week or so later and see what they thought about the idea of learning to fly. Tell them why this is the best time to learn.
And tell them to buy some of Max’s books. I don’t get a cut of the profits – at least not yet – so tell them to say Jetwhine sent you. Now I have to get back to the keyboard to try and outsmart that Trescott guy on my next volume.