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What Flying Means to Me

by Dan Leonard

As a younger man, I would often watch geese using their natural flying skills when landing on a pond, and I would think about flying. As an older man I learned how to fly, a task that was challenging. With the help of Sweet Aviation they made it possible for me to become a Private Pilot and gain my Instrument Rating, as well as mentoring me as I was becoming a Ground Instructor. My enthusiasm for and involvement in aviation has impacted my life greatly, in ways that are difficult to quantify — but I shall try my best!

The most obvious benefit to being an aviator is the ease of travel. I once received a speeding ticket while taking my wife to her relatives in Southern Ohio. Had I been airborne, I would’ve gotten there faster without the speeding ticket, and the view would’ve been breathtaking.

The second (and probably less obvious to non-aviators) benefit to being a pilot is the camaraderie with fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts. I never realized how friendly aviation folk are until I took the plunge and became a pilot. Getting involved with incredible programs such as the Young Eagles has also been extremely rewarding experience. As they say, laughter is the best medicine. Hangar flying with other aviators frequently brings a good dose of laughter. Since I became a Private Pilot, my wife and I have enjoyed spending the time we’re not in the air hanging out with the enjoyable group of pilots that frequent Sweet Aviation. Well, it’s time for us to go flying and meet some new people!

A touch of aviation goes a long way toward improving the quality of life.

Dan Leonard

Pilot, Ground Instructor, & Detail Manager

With his father being a Master Navigator in the United States Air Force, Dan traveled the world with his family. He joined the United States Air Force and served in Vietnam, receiving the Air Force Commendation Medal. He has always had an interest in flying, and he decided to pursue that dream in 2007. He enrolled as a private pilot student at Smith Field and finished his training under the guidance of Joel Pierce. In 2008, he bought a Cessna 172, in which he completed his instrument rating. After achieving these goals, Dan decided to go ahead and obtain his ground instructor certificate. During his aviation training, he found areas of pilot training that were challenging to learn on his own. Dan’s goal is to train and encourage student pilots through these challenges to help ensure they achieve their dreams of flying.