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The Inner Art of Airmanship


You can contact me at anytime using my clever form or by visiting the Inner Art of Airmanship Facebook page or twitter feed.I look forward to hearing from you. I look forward to learning from your experiences and getting some good inspiration or some gentle correction. Let's connect some dots in the sky together. I do get some neat emails, and I'd like to share some of the highlights here:

I flew my first solo today!
I realize that you don't know me and why should you care, but I would really like to thank you for this web site — I believe it had a nice effect on my fun factor and my safety.

I had been allowing myself to get overwhelmed with procedures, speeds and "flying for my instructor", and was feeling some anxiety over whether I would ever become a pilot if I couldn't memorize everything. I started reading your website — and started refocusing on fun and flying — and nearly miraculously, the procedures and correct speeds, etc. happened — and the little C152 became my partner in fun instead of a collection of gauges and controls.

— Kenny Sturgeon, pilot, Sebring, Florida.

Most impressive and very useful indeed.

— Captain John A. Shearer, former Eastern Air Lines Chief Pilot/Manager of Line Standards and Safety.

I think flying is one of the more closely related things to the idea of Zen. I feel like the type of flying that I do is a form of meditation because it requires so much focus.

— Patty Wagstaff, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion three years in a row.

Superb writing … it has a tone that I haven't heard since Richard Bach.

— Mike Felske, glider instructor and commercial pilot, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A website with some intriguing ideas in the study of pilot psychology …. Imagine the teaching benefit of studying excellence.

—   Warbird Digest magazine editorial, November/December 2010 issue.

Beautiful writing …  the story is really inspiring to this aspiring CFI. What a fabulous contribution to aviation.

— Hans Cathcart, commercial pilot, Washington, D.C.

I was entranced. I have read it from beginning to end. As a former pilot and continuing Zen student it was a perfect meditation.

— Dr Lance Secretan, former CEO of Manpower Inc.

Captures very eloquently what I strive to do every day I fly.

— Major Illo Neri RCAF, 405 Squadron Standards and Training Flight Commander.

I really enjoyed your ideas … The quest for self-improvement and continuous learning you note seem to be traits of good pilots.

— Colonel William "Bill" Andrews, F-16 pilot, USAF.

Whether Sam is "real" or not, he's real to those who believe in the sprit of aviation. He's real to me.

— Andrew Underwood, glider pilot, Nova Scotia, Canada.

I take it to heart many of the things that you have written. I have always felt that the airplane was an extension of my body and try hard to be smooth and accurate…. Thanks again for sharing the wisdom that only experience brings, and I dream of the day that I will become a true master of the craft of flying an airplane.

— Scott Fitzpatrick, airline pilot, Draper Valley, Virginia.

Wonderful writings … You have a gift with your ability create art and beauty by placing words on a page

— Steve Shonkwiler, B747 captain, Louisville, Kentucky.

Reading about the possibilities of flight is a great inspiration.

— Alejandro Irausquin, aeronautical engineer, Venezuela.

Aviation real joy is inside learning everytime. The best days of my life were and will be inside an airplane. Fantastic.

— Octavio Cilento, pilot, Sao Paulo.

Flying is truly a wonderful way to dance with the universe, and it is easy to lose sight of that amidst all the procedures and bureaucracy. Your prose has re-ignited my passion for taking to the sky, and someday I hope I can become a flight instructor with the spirit and wisdom of Sam.

— Sean Edwards, pilot, Denver, Colorado.

Great site, especially the bits about Zen…. I consider your philosophy of flying to be an inspiration. Happy flying, and I hope you manage to run into Sam again. Aloha.

— William S. Cobb, flight instructor, Honolulu, Hawaii.

For some time I've been searching for answers to many questions outside of flying…. Joy of joys, thanks to you I think I have found what I've been looking for. Moving words indeed.

— David Eldridge, pilot, Sydney, Australia.

Superb!  Modeling the achievements of the very best instead of looking at failures of others.

— Captain Peter van Heijst, check airman and test pilot, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

A truly remarkable inspiration…. I just wish I could meet someone like Sam in my journey to become a pilot.

— Bernardo de Carvalho, student pilot, Estoril, Portugal.

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy reading what you have on your website. I'm always looking for the perfect words to describe flight, but can never seem to find them. You, however, have done it!

— Sarina Houston, pilot, Prescott, Arizona.

Thank you for expressing in words what I believe has to be done in our line of work.

— Ricardo, B737 Captain, Dubai.


— Fikredingil Mulugeta, B737 pilot, Ethiopian Airlines.

Finally someone who realizes that flying is much more than the science written in almost every flight manual ever published. You finally put into words what I have been trying to explain for years.

— John P. Chmiel, flight instructor, Wausau, Wisconsin.

Thank you for being a warrior and thank you for taking others into the sky. It makes me smile to see another warrior out there encouraging people to wake up and live their dreams. We all have it in us but normally it's the fear that hinders us from simply being and living.
No try, do or not do! No mind, just awake! Not know thyself, just know.

— Eve Joping, pilot, Melbourne, Australia.


— Floyd Dias, pilot, Wings Field, Pennsylvania.

Touching and profound … struck a chord in me.

— Jessie Freeman, US Army helicopter pilot.

Filled me with more desire to learn and had a very positive impact on my flying…. Thank you for your help and for sharing the wonders of inner airmanship with all of us who take to the skies for work or pleasure.

— Ivan Petrzelka, pilot, Redding, California.

Inspiring, and in some manner it's the knowledge I've always wanted to have….  Thanks for your teaching and for your sharing.

— Hugo Gonzalez Calva, airline pilot, Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Truly unique … with a great deal of insight into the deeper side of flying.

— Joseph Gaspard, pilot, San Diego, California.

Thank you for sharing your love and passion for flying.

— Juan C. Campos, airline pilot, Bogota, Columbia.

Masterful job … full of solid ideas that average pilots can use to raise the level of their game.

— Max Trescott, pilot & aviation writer, 2008 National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year.

Reminded me of why I really wanted to learn how to fly in the first place.

— Jori Tranchemontagne, pilot, Sault St. Marie, Canada.




Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

— Viktor Frankl

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.… In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.

— Henry David Thoreau

The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate.

— John Keats

If, before going to bed every night, you will tear a page from the calendar, and remark, 'There goes another day of my life, never to return,' you will become time conscious.

— A. B. Zu Tavern

It is a very funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

— W. Somerset Maugham

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.

— Lowell Thomas

Do your best every day and your life will gradually expand into satisfying fullness.

— Horotio W. Dresser


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