I’m Chris Lockwood, a private pilot, Internet marketer, and the creator of this site. I’m based in central Florida.
See Site History for a detailed history of The inFrequent Flyer, which answers burning questions like
- Why all the posts dated in 1995? WordPress didn’t exist then. Are you pulling some scam on us?
- Where did this content start, and how did it end up on this site in 2018?
The short answer is that I took flying lessons starting in 1995, the posts were written back then and have the original dates on them, and in 2018 I decided to put them on a WordPress site as I would have way back then, if only the platform had existed then.
I’ve made a point of leaving as much of the original content as it was, other than minor formatting. It’s a snapshot in time, so if you don’t get some of the 1990s references or cheesy jokes, too bad. The rest of this page is the original Who Am I page I created in 1995, with 2018 comments in [brackets].
I’ve also added photos to the posts that didn’t originally have them, to keep this WordPress theme happy.
Why I took flying lessons
Blame it on the Florida heat.
Believe it or not, I didn’t get the urge to fly until mid-1995. Before that, I had flown only as an airline passenger. I’ve never had a fear of flying, and I’ve always thought it was neat to be able to go across the country in a few hours, but to me aviation was just another profession. I had been a computer guy for a decade, and I was not looking for a new career. (Which is a good thing, because it takes a long time and a lot of work to make a decent living as a pilot.)
In the summer I like to take a vacation somewhere cooler, so in June 1995, I went on a cruise in Alaska. I was going to take a helicopter sightseeing flight, but I noticed that I could get a longer flight for less money in a plane. I signed up for a sightseeing flight over the glaciers near Juneau in a Cessna seaplane, my first ride in a small plane. I liked it so much that I took another flight the next day from Ketchikan through the Misty Fjords National Monument. After those flights, I thought it might be fun to learn to fly, but not anytime soon. It must be too expensive or difficult, I thought.
When I got back to work, I mentioned the trip to a friend who is a licensed pilot, but doesn’t fly for a living. He took me for a flight in August. After that I realized flying was something I could pursue, and that it wasn’t as expensive as I had assumed. (Thanks, Julian.) [I lost touch with Julian around 2000 or so. Cool guy, originally from Jamaica. He got his flight instructor rating around the same time I got my private. We did a fair amount of flying together, including a few trips to the Bahamas.]
Summer is a bad time to take flying lessons in Florida due to the heat, humidity, and frequent thunderstorms, so I spent the next couple of months reading up on the subject. I gave it a lot of consideration, and my thoughts went back and forth between “I want to start soon” and “What am I doing even thinking about becoming a pilot?”. I was a little overwhelmed by all the material, since I was reading everything I could find, even advanced topics like instrument flying. Even some of the basics aren’t easily grasped when you’ve never been at the controls.
I also started reading the newsgroup rec.aviation.student, which is a great place to start if you’re curious about flying. A lot of experienced pilots hang out there and will answer your questions. [Newsgroups were the 1990s version of online forums or Facebook groups, places where people went to chat about various topics. That one no longer exists, although there is a Google Group with the same name that appears to have no aviation-related posts, just spam.]
In October I had more vacation time to use, so I went to Las Vegas. From there I took a flight through the Grand Canyon which rekindled my interest in lessons.
When our extended summer finally ended in late October, I started looking around for a flight school. It wasn’t tough, since I was already leaning toward Vandenberg Airport near Tampa, where my friend had taken me. It was also the closest training site to my home and work. I took an intro flight on November 1, 1995, and the rest is in the log.
Why I created this site
- Friends asked me to keep them informed on my training, so this is for them.
- I’m hoping to inspire some of them to become pilots, too, so I don’t have to do all the work.
- Tom Cruise “too busy” to play me in movie version.
- I’ve been looking for a good reason to create a website, and until I find it, I’m working on this one.
- It’s a blatant ploy to meet other students and pilots. [Leave me a comment.]
- I tricked Judge Ito into counting this page as “community service”. [See OJ Simpson trial, a hot topic when I started this.]
- It’s comedic relief for the more experienced pilots out there.
- The Beatles refused to turn my flying experience into a concept album.
- Internet connect time is a lot cheaper than flying.