I still have all of my pilot logbooks from December 16, 1961, which was my first lesson in Cessna 150 N7086X, to the last flight on June 6, 1998, a flight in a Grumman AA5B Tiger, N74649, just before the West End Flyers dissolved and sold off the aircraft the club owned. That is a time span of 36 years, 5 months and 22 days.
Shortly thereafter, my Airman Medical Certificate became invalid due to a hypertension medication that supposedly caused dizziness, a symptom that I never experienced. At the time, having recently married The Better Half, we found other interesting things to occupy our time, so piloting became a past avocation. Surprisingly, I don’t miss it much, but occasionally revel in some of the memorable experiences.
A few days ago, I posted this photo taken in 1972 when I was in helicopter training. In the above (clickable) image, taken November 23, 1975, I am piloting a Hughes 269B helicopter N9408F just after having taken a local photographer to get some aerial photos of a bowling alley in the area. By the time this photo was taken, I had already earned my Commercial Helicopter Rating and an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.
I went on to continue in my aviation sub-career in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. I gave instruction in both types and flew as test and ferry pilot for a helicopter outfit in Long Beach, CA. I once soloed a Hughes 300C from Long Beach to New Orleans in order to deliver the aircraft to its new owner.
The whole time I flew, I also held a steady job as an electronics engineer or software systems group leader in various aerospace positions and one short term stint with Mattel Toys in Hawthorne, CA. My aviation experience did a great deal to position me as a subject matter expert and helped propel me into greater positions than I otherwise may have held. Aviation was always an asset and seldom a distraction.