Do you believe in dreams? Bringing them to realization is not as difficult as it may seem.
What follows is my account of a journey which started as a childhood dream, and which enabled me to live that dream.
When twenty years ago my Dad took me to an air display back in Poland he little knew what would begin there. Following an amazing display of military jets as well as aerobatic aircraft, everything else in my life ceased to exist.
At the age of just six years old, a young boy used to beg his father to ride with him by bicycle to the local airfield, there to lie in the grass and watch the aircraft fly. From this young age I decided that the rest of my life would be dedicated to aviation and it’s ultimate discipline – aerobatics.
When I grew little older, watching other people fly wasn’t simply enough. I signed up to a club dedicated to aero modelling. Competing with free flying models gave a chance to attend the National Championships in Deblin – the Polish “Top Gun” academy. As soon as I got there models slid back to second place, and all that occupied my mind was how to get to fly in the jet simulators based at the academy. For someone age just twelve there was no better thing in the world.
Natural progression from this point had to be via my local air club. Because I was too young to start my training all I was allowed to become is what’s known as “hangar rat”. When after one week of cleaning gliders and the hangar floor I was awarded my first gliding lesson, the usual thirty-minute bike ride home took me just over ten – with the biggest smile in the world!
As time went by I found myself, at the age of fifteen, graduating from primary school, and since the need for further education was pretty obvious, I signed up for an engineering diploma in engine design with the goal of working on aircraft. Only a year later, at the age of sixteen, I was legally entitled to begin training for a glider pilot licence, but, unfortunately, owing to tough financial circumstances and the fact that both of my parents were unemployed, it didn’t look like that was going to happen.
As luck would have it, I was able to find employment with my local club, which happened at the time to be in the process of demolishing the remains of an old hangar. The long hours I worked as a “builder” helped me to get me to finance my training, and soon I was a fully qualified glider pilot. Following two years of gliding I entered competitions, although, to be honest, navigation wasn’t my strongest side and after a few “field” landings I returned home with my morale pretty low and last place for my troubles.
Motivated to come back the following year and show “them” how to fly, I worked hard at school and home, and after my graduation, diploma in hand, I asked myself the big question “what next”? Should I look for a job, continue with university or maybe consider the Air Force?
At that time the Air Force did not recruit new pilots, but all I knew was that I wanted to stay in the sky. Once again money proved to be big problem, and the lack of it meant that I was, for the time being at least, unable to fly.