January 2018

By traditional training I am not a Naval Architect. I actually studied to become an Aerospace and Ocean engineer. My education at Virginia Tech as an Aerospace and Ocean engineer was nothing more than a lucky coincidence, since it allowed me to indulge my youthful passions of sailing, flight and space.


Over the years I ended up spending much more time on the water, but that path was not so clear at the time of my graduation. My senior project was a self launched home buildable glider, not a boat.


My team won a national award for the design and after that it was shelved and I went the maritime way.


However, recently, I have decided to reopen my personal path to flight, mostly to re-experience what it feels like to learn something from scratch.


Last fall, I started taking soaring lessons at Jersey Ridge Soaring in Blairstown, NJ. Jersey Ridge Soaring is one of those unexpected New Jersey gems; a surprisingly good soaring location with excellent staff, and instructors on a lovely airport with an excellent diner.


While it is a rather long drive for me, the last part of the drive is a truly pretty country drive and the return drive always gives me the chance to mentally go over my old man feeble attempts at learning a new eye hand coordination routine.


Especially as an engineer, I generally feel I am overthinking the task at hand, and that tends to make a mess of things when it requires rapid eye, hand, feet, and instrument feedback response. Stick and rudder coordination is no different than riding a bike or sailing a sailboat. The only difference is that I learned to ride a bike, and sail a sailboat when I was quite young with a blank slate brain and felt little social pressure or embarrassment when I made a mess of things. Today, I have to deal with a brain that is mostly prewired for not flying gliders.

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