Photo courtesy of Liz Lekarczyk
When I was four years old, my mom and dad took me to my first airshow. I remember having the opportunity to see the airplanes up close after the show, and telling my parents ‘I want to do that!’ Every year since then, my mom would drive me an hour each way to that airshow, no matter how tired she was from the previous week. At the time, no one in my family was a pilot, but I constantly walked with my eyes skyward, hoping to experience the feeling of flight one day.
It turned out my mom had a secret love for aviation, just as I did. Nine years later, a few weeks after my 13th birthday, my mom received her PPL. She didn’t stop there though! She went on to receive both her IFR and Commercial ratings; flying three days a week after work. She took me for my first flight, and I was hooked! We went on ‘$100 hamburger trips’, flew our plane to South Carolina for a girls’ weekend and even participated in a few yearly volunteer flying events for children.
I was always begging my mom to take me for a flight, or sit with me at the hangar and watch the planes take off. When we would fly, she would turn to me, smile and say “one day, YOU will be the one flying ME around!” Two weeks after my 16th birthday, I drove to the airport for my first flying lesson and finally had the opportunity to sit at the controls of an airplane. I kept taking lessons after school, as well as the weekends, staying up late to finish all of the last minute homework that was due the following day.
I experienced many setbacks during that time, such as having double jaw replacement surgery, but my mom was always there to support and encourage me. With her continuous support, I received my PPL three days before my 19th birthday. I remember the examiner at my check ride asking me if my dad was a pilot, and I proudly replied ‘no, but my MOM is!’
I still fly to this day, and am hoping to receive my IFR rating before I turn 20 in May. Had it not been for my mom encouraging me, celebrating my flying successes and helping me through my problem areas, I don’t know where I would be. I can honestly say she has been my biggest fan and supporter through my training. However, the best part is today, I am the one flying HER around the skies of Michigan!