I’ve been flying for less than a year. Around Arizona, we take the whole summer off because well, it’s just too darn hot. After the past month of flying, I am finally beginning to feel like a real pilot. Flying a balloon is easy. The aeronautical decision-making in choosing landing spots or altitudes to determine wind direction and speed — not as easy. In the past few weeks, thanks to some great friends and instructors, I’ve been able to get flights that have really helped my confidence on finding and hitting landing spots.

I am getting very close to doing my solo, which I think involves my instructor telling me to do a touch and go landing and then him leaping out of the balloon cackling maniacally as I scream careening into the atmosphere. Okay, well — that last part is probably my imagination. In other words, I think I need to be prepared for a solo at any point.

Had a great flight today with Neil, the pilot of the balloon “Cool Flyings”. He gave me some helpful instructions on what to expect from the flight examiner (think: driver’s test) that I’ll be taking in a few months. I learned to not be afraid of the vent line today — want to come down? Bring that balloon on down and land it! (And don’t bounce back up by 50 feet too while you’re at it). ;)

It’s a beautiful sport — the people are wonderful, the flights are breathtaking, and even crewing is just a great strength workout for me. I love it, and I hope I’m hooked for life.

What dream could you be achieving, piece by piece, that you are too scared to tackle? Take the biggest goal, then break it down into small, tiny bite-sized bits. How do you eat a HUGE bag of Reese’s Pieces? Piece by piece (hopefully with cardio after). Find something that scared you — something you think you could never do. And figure out a way to do it. It’s not so bad if you do it the smallest step at a time.