by Marta Micinski Dolan
Published in Midwest Flyer – February/March 2018
My flying adventure began on a random morning two years ago when, at the end of my rope and desperate for entertainment for my two small children, I took them to DuPage Airport in West Chicago, Illinois, to see some planes on display at the annual community days event. While my children checked out the planes that belonged to a flying club, I looked through their brochures. In that instant, I felt something powerful – a sort of longing stirred inside me, and entirely on a whim and to the complete bemusement of three older gentlemen sitting at the table, I handed them a check and joined the club.
What followed was a significant shift in my perspective on life…a sort of an awakening, which was met by confusion and concern for my safety from those closest to me. But my fate was sealed during one dreamlike flight in a beautifully restored Piper Cub. I watched the plane’s shadow shimmering on the fields below, felt the breeze in my hair, and breathed in the freedom that comes from choosing one’s own destiny. I knew then I would forevermore be walking the earth with my eyes turned skyward, wishing for nothing more than to be up there, always.
Since then, a lot has changed in my life: I changed jobs, got divorced, and learned the struggles of being a single parent while balancing work and personal responsibilities. It has not been easy and there were many mornings I found myself hiding under the covers afraid to face the day. During those times, I would think about flying. I would remember the immense joy and the exhilaration that comes from being able to choose my own adventure. I would remember the distinctive smell of a small airport – the freshly mowed grass, combined with the scent of aviation fuel; the beauty of the sky turning gold and pink as it was welcoming a new day; and the gentle breeze of a summer morning that brought so much opportunity with it. And I would remember the feeling of accomplishment and strength, and that wild sparkle in my eyes when I FINALLY landed my little Cessna in those crazy crosswinds without my instructor’s help. And I would get up and face the challenge. After all, I flew an airplane…how difficult could this day be?
May flying bring you joy, but also help you realize that if you can do THAT, you can do just about anything. Carry that strength with you and know that only the sky is your limit.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Marta Micinski Dolan is originally from Poland and now lives in the Midwest. She is a registered nurse and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in business administration. She hopes to one day fly for a small regional airline.