The Aviator’s New Year

For the 2019th Time 

(actually 2018th since there was no year zero)

Another great year has passed. Here we are embarking on another year — the Aviator’s New Year. But first a recap of last year. I attended Airventure for the third consecutive year. Our flying club made it through 2018 without any awe-inspiring mechanical issues with the Skyhawk. Despite gusty winds, to the tune of ninety degrees, in December I became a tail wheel pilot.

The Aviator's New Year
Tailwheel Endorsement

Most importantly, after having a lipids panel and full eye exam, I am well. I didn’t suspect any health issues, but it’s a good idea to peek under the cowling occasionally. So, what’s next?

And Now Aviator — a New Year

Hello, 2019! As I contemplate the finishing touches on goals for this new year, I am reminded of a bucket list my wife insisted we each create several years ago.

The Aviator's New Year

That hand-written list disappeared into some boxes and was almost forgotten until the middle of last year. My wife found the list and immediately commented on how many things had been accomplished over the years. There’s a school of thought that says you are imminently more apt to accomplish goals which are written down.

What About Goals

It is easier to guide a moving aircraft. Ever tried to push an airplane laterally into a tiedown spot? Just me, okay… great. Writing goals gets the mind in motion and action tends to take flight on that mental lift. No matter what your goals, any are certainly better than sitting idly on your tail wheel. Think of it like a flight plan for life. Consider the departure and destination, necessary performance and resources, and obstacles which may hinder your journey — like regulations, weather, and health. Ah, health. There’s a biggie many resolve to stare down each new annum —  especially weight loss.

Health — Shedding Gross Weight

Without our health, the aviator’s new year will have us landing short. My wife, Tara, holds a plant-based nutrition certificate. She also has an exercise regimen an order of magnitude more intense than I. When asked her to share her thoughts, she offered these suggestions:

  • You don’t necessarily have to make massive changes. Small changes add up over time. Think consistency over intensity — win a moment, win a day, win the week, win the month, etc.
  • While all calories aren’t created equal, tracking calories and macro-nutrients has become fairly easy with technology. We like the Lose-it app for this. You can set a goal, and track progress toward it. Along the way, you’ll notice some clear take-aways from the data. Namely, you’ll appreciate the difference in the outcome of calorie dense foods and otherwise.
The Aviator's New Year
  • The obligatory disclaimer applies: consult your doctor before making any significant changes to diet and other health related things. We aren’t doctors, nor have we ever played one on TV. However, you can purchase and schedule bloodwork yourself, and test your own blood pressure periodically to help give you more data to work with. More importantly, this will give you a sense of ownership in your health. After all, you are PIC.
  • Oh, if weight loss is your specific goal, she suggests getting a weight scale that shows a tenths place, otherwise, you’ll not see incremental changes in weight until you’ve moved at least a pound.

Finances for the Aviator’s New Year

If you have your health well in hand, perhaps your new year brings a review of things financial. We have used the changing of the calendar as a time to peek into our fiscal logbooks and find any lurking problems or expenses that need reviewing. Subsequently, we have taken to re-shopping certain things like auto and home insurance, cell phone plans, bank fees, etc. We used to be passive customers; vendors could count on our business decades on end. While you should be PIC of your health, you want to take the controls where your expenses are concerned as well. We have saved thousands re-shopping things annually. My mother-in-law did a review of her homeowner’s insurance. While she didn’t change companies, she saved several hundred dollars due to incorrectly coded items. It’s easy to think that certain vendors are your pals. We have established a take-no-prisoners approach. If you aren’t bringing significant value to our jam and doing so competitively — you’ll be dropped off at the next available landing spot.

Beyond the necessary expenses, I find it amazing how easily small ticket items like forgotten subscriptions, uncancelled introductory offers, and the like can weigh down your monetary useful load. Earlier in the year, I let my Flying Magazine subscription expire, kind of by accident. Funny enough, I was perusing our Amazon Prime offerings and noticed that Flying was available there as part of what we were already paying. Eureka! It’s like having tip tanks.

Cleared for Takeoff — 2019

While the aforementioned items aren’t in any way comprehensive, they’ll get you on the field. Once there, someone is bound to ask you to go flying. Your welcome. Seriously, take time to do some housekeeping on key areas. Take the cowling off, send that oil for testing, and put your health at the top of the checklist. Make a bucket list — write it down, type it — hiding it from yourself is optional. Whether you have a tail wheel endorsement in mind, sea plane rating, or career goals, here’s to an adventurous 2019. And what about that tail wheel endorsement? Hey, there’s nothing to get your feet moving and your mind ahead of the airplane like a gusty crosswind tailwheel landing.

The Aviator's New Year
a tail wheel airplane
The Aviator's New Year
Also a tail wheel airplane

Oh, and somewhere in there, help someone else with their aviation goals, you’ll be glad you did.

The Aviator's New Year

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