Reader question: when did you know you had the aviation bug?

When asked about how they originally got interested in aviation, many pilots talk about a specific moment when “the aviation bug” bit. It might have been a first airplane ride, a trip on an airliner, or a visit to an airshow, but the result was the same – a lifelong passion for airplanes took hold.

We want to know what that lightbulb moment was for you. Add your comment below to share your story.


  • I interviewed a corporate pilot once for an article, and he claimed that as a baby/young boy, he had airplane wallpaper in his bedroom so he told me he went to bed every night looking and thinking about airplanes.

    I think the bug comes young. When I worked at Flying, one of the staff had a framed report card in his office from elementary school where the teacher wrote that he “would be a better student if he spent more time studying and less time drawing airplanes.”

  • The first time my dad brought a sailplane home in a trailer and assembled it on the front lawn. He put me in the front seat and closed the canopy… that moment… I knew. Its the earliest memory I have. I was three.

  • There was just never any doubt for me: I knew in my heart – no, deeper in my SOUL – I would one day be a pilot. It was a part of me, I never questioned it.

    It took me until I was 45 to get the ticket. But I was ALWAYS GONNA BE.

  • My grandfather was a fighter pilot in WW2 flying P-51/P-47s, so I grew up listening to some great stories. But I didn’t get bit until I was a junior in high school. I was competing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis at a regatta for high school kids when a friend’s father invited us to go up for a short hop in his Piper Archer after the event was over. That father had been a flight engineer on a P-3 Orion in the Navy so he was keen on making it a memorable flight for three teenage boys. We flew about 1500 feet right over the Academy dome and he pulled about 4Gs in a hard right bank to the towards the Annapolis harbor. I could feel the blood rush out of my head during the manuever. What a thrill!! A few years later I got my PPL at Lakefront Airport (KNEW) while attending college.

  • My dad took me up in a Piper Cub at age 6. With him sitting behind me, the 180 degree view and all the noise and motion, I was hooked.

  • My dad worked at Northrup in the early ’50’s and his boss was a B-25 pilot during the war. Visiting his well equipped home workshop there were lots of his Air Group photos hanging on the walls, and his parachute laying in the corner of the shop made it all so real.
    A photo of the Snark Missile launching with both RATO bottles blazing from its Zero Take-Off Mobile Platform that he and my dad were both heavily involved with designing, building and testing was enough for this 6 year old to say “That’s what I want to do!”

  • Born with the gene, I guess. I can remember “racing” DC-3s rumbling by overhead…on my hands and knees in the grass. Pre-school years? Dunno, but I don’t recollect ever racing ’em when upright! I also remember being aware that they in fact were actually winning the race, despite indulging in every sleight of mind a little kid’s brain could conjure. How I knew they were DC-3s is also lost to memory…but they were!

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