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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rick Watson

Friday's Fabulous Flyer


 Rick Watson
"Never lose sight of your dreams 
and feed your passion."

"My journey began longer ago than I can remember. To fly was all I ever wanted to do. 28 years ago at the age of 19, I strapped myself into a Hughes 269 (Yes I started on Choppers) and why not? They were fun to fly. I took to it like a duck to water. The following year I converted to fixed wing flying Piper Cherokees and Warriors soloing in 2 hour. Along the way I flew a myriad of different types and makes including Gliders and Gyrocopters. And then it happened. As quick as lightening, I blew my eardrum.

Now on the great scheme of things this doesn't sound like a huge medical disaster. However, for me it was just the start of a HUGE journey of faith. I lost my medical while the professionals delved into the problem. 2 operations later I was on the mend. I had a 5 year hiatus while things healed. I was now married and had 2 wonderful children. Time and money was a factor, however it did give my ear chance to heal. I started to feel the pull of my home again, so I started to fly with others to ease into it.


I was able to do quite a bit of flying even some aerobatics with the Royal New Zealand Airforce. The time felt right. By this stage a few more years had gone by. I was now divorced and living with a new partner so it was time for new beginnings. In 2008 I decided to do my multi-engined instrument rating. I passed my commercial medical (Yay first hurdle cleared). I passed my exams (2nd one done) and I was back in the air, my home, my comfort zone..... Then BANG it happened.

I was on a turning descent with an instructor on board when I felt the same ear let go again... this time I had managed to dislodge the drum from the membrane behind it and it stretched the nerves that help carry the sound to the Cochlea... That was it, medical gone again and I was grounded........ The thing is I have never lost my passion for aviation through the ups and downs, it is my addiction, my guilty pleasure, so I never stopped looking up.


Roll forward to November 2011. Another new beginning with a move to Thames, Coromandel, New Zealand. What a beautiful part of the country, great walks, awesome fishing, just paradise. I trucked along as you do before the call was strong again. I thought well If I can't fly for real I am going to find a decent simulator. In late 2012 I purchased a twin engine simulator based on a Beech aircraft which I configured to fly the 1900D. Many hours were spent flying all around NZ, I loved it but my love of aircraft was too strong. So like many I found the local flying club.

I was talking to the instructor and he asked if I wanted to go for a flight. Now that was like asking a junkie if he wanted a free hit. The best part was he let me do the flying. I was home again. I felt at ease and best of all there was no pain in my ear. The best part, I was informed that I would have no problems passing my medical. How could this be? I thought. Well as fortune would have it the plane I was flying was a Tecnam P2002 Sierra a high performance sport aircraft, classified in NZ as a Microlight!


The medical is the same as if I wanted to drive a bus. It's a recreational license designed for experienced pilots who can no longer obtain the stringent GA medicals. BRILLIANT. I joined the club and was voted in as the Club Captain. I was now right seating with other club members to fly-ins around the country as well as left seating with an instructor to get my rating.

I passed all my exams again and I am once again a qualified pilot holding an advanced passenger rated license for high performance sport aircraft at the age of 47. One hell of a journey but I never lost sight of my goal. I am currently working through my instructors rating and purchase of my own aircraft so I can share my passion."



Rick Watson

103 Reservoir Road
Parawai
Thames 3500
New Zealand

PH:(07) 8686879
MOB: 027-684-0044
SKYPE: Madrick69

10 comments:

  1. Rick has an amazing story and he never gave up on the medical. Even though the medical keeps us grounded, our hearts and souls are always in the skies.

    It's a pleasure to meet a fellow simmer and also its great that he is the captain of his club. Thank you for introducing yet another outstanding Aviator.

    As for the sim, I have a pretty program which was recommended to me by a fellow simmer. So I will forward it to you.

    Have a great weekend Karlene, Rick, and everyone!

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    1. Hi Jeremy

      Thank you so much for your kind words, it has been a long but great journey for me, but I am back where I belong now.

      The sim link sounds intriguing I will look forward to having a look

      All the best

      Rick

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    2. Jeremy, Thank you so much for the comment. I'm sorry for the late reply. I think life is happening. Looking forward to when we can get your A330 up and running.

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  2. Rick,
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! So many readers reach out to me with medical issues, wondering if it will ground them from their dream. Of course I don't ever know the answer, but the story of your journey will inspire them to take theirs.

    The Sport license is brilliant, I agree! It's allowed people such as yourself and Jessica Cox--the world's only licensed armless pilot--to reach for the skies!

    Last night, I met a young man whose dream was to fly helicopters in the Army. On the LAST day of basic training, he was rejected for a medical issue. He intends to fight it, to get the experts to figure things out for him, so he can reenlist. The best case scenario is that he will be accepted...and then have to do Basic all over again. Talk about dedication to our passion!

    Thank you for your story!

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    1. Thank you for reading, It is only something that true aviators feel, that feeling of belonging while flying, the sense of freedom and the environment in which we fly :)

      Cheers
      Rick

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    2. Thank you Eric for the comment. Rick is a true aviator and as he says...flight brings a sense of freedom. I had never heard of sport aircraft until Oshkosh...and then Rick. Amazing.

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  3. Thanks Rick for nice sharing your inspiring story with us.

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  4. Rick's story is such a perfect example of 'where there's a will there's a way'. We may not always be able to see where the path will take us, but the dream is guaranteed to get us somewhere amazing. Thanks for sharing your story Rick!

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    1. Thanks Heather,

      I am too passionate about flying to let it go, I eat, sleep and breathe it, There was no way I was going to let the medical get the better of me, another flipside to it all was I lost 30kgs (66lbs) in my determination to get as fit as possible for the process!!

      Cheers
      Rick

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    2. Thank you Heather for your comment. I am so sorry for the late reply. Yes...there is a will and a way always! Passion is a driving force.

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