Being an Inspired Pilot

An interview and more.

Inspired Pilot LogoA few weeks ago, I was contacted by Marvyn Robinson, a U.K. pilot and podcaster. He wanted to interview me for his podcast, Inspired Pilot.

I was flattered, of course. (I’m flattered any time someone contacts me with a request like this.) How could I not say yes?

About the Podcast

The About page on the Inspired Pilot website explains what the podcast is all about:

This will be a weekly show where I interview inspiring pilots, pilots with inspiring journeys from all around the world. Each week we will highlight the life of our featured pilot, follow their journey and how they got to where there are now.

We’ll examine how and why they got started, the decisions made along the way, experiences gained and lessons learned. All this with the view to INSPIRE seasoned pilots, mere mortal low hour pilots like myself, wannabe pilots and pilot enthusiasts alike, by guests sharing their inspiring journeys.

Just to give you an example of the spectrum of our guests, we are going to be talking to pilots from all areas of the aviation industry, from airline pilots, bush pilots, flight instructors, private pilots, bizjet, military and even retired pilots.

The whole idea behind the podcast is to inspire other pilots. The people chosen to be interviewed are supposed to be inspiring. So again, how can I not be flattered?

Who Needs Inspiration?

Every pilot knows at least one other pilot — or wannabe pilot — who just couldn’t seem to get it together to achieve his or her aviation goals. These people often have legitimate or imagined excuses for not moving forward. (I was married to one of these people for a while so I’ve seen it firsthand.)

For many people, the excuse is a life change. For example, a guy is taking flight lessons part time and gets married or his wife becomes pregnant. All of a sudden, his priorities change and he puts flying on the back burner. Many times, he never goes back to it.

For other people, the excuse is simpler: money. Learning to fly isn’t cheap and not everyone has disposable income to throw at what might only be a hobby. When the economy tanked, flight schools were hit hard because fewer people could afford lessons. Renting an aircraft once you become a pilot isn’t cheap either. It has to fit into your budget.

For a select group of people, there are medical issues that can stop a prospective pilot in his or her tracks. Uncorrectable vision, diabetes, untreatable high blood pressure, heart problems — there are a multitude of conditions that pilots simply are not allowed to have.

These are the people Inspired Pilot was created for. To get them excited about flying. To get them thinking of ways to work around the hurdles that face them. To inspire them to achieve their flying goals.

These are the people I want to inspire.

It’s More than a Piece of Paper

I’m one of the people who want to fly. I’m not interested in collecting pilot ratings just because I can.

For example, I learned to fly an open cockpit gyro last spring. It was a ton of fun. I got to fly that gyro again last week. George, who owns it and taught me to fly it, told me what I need to do to get my rating in it. I’m very close — all I need is a check ride.

But why get a rating for something I seldom have an opportunity to fly? That piece of paper is meaningless to me. I’m perfectly satisfied to fly the gyro occasionally with George. In the unlikely event that I buy a gyro or have access to one on a regular basis, I might reconsider getting that piece of paper. Until then, why bother?

And then there are just the folks who claim they want to fly and even move toward the goal of becoming a pilot and perhaps even become pilots — but then don’t do what it takes to stay current and safe. These are the nervous pilots, the pilots who are afraid to push the limits of their experience, the pilots who use the slightest possibility of inclement weather as an excuse not to fly. They’re pilots only because they have a piece of paper saying that they are. (This was the situation with my wasband.)

But are you really a pilot if you seldom fly? If you can come up with more excuses not to fly than reasons to fly? If you never seem to want to fly?

In my experience, a real pilot wants to fly.

If you’re not driven to fly, if you don’t feel a need to get up in an aircraft and explore your world from above, if the responsiveness of an aircraft under your control doesn’t excite you or fill you with joy — well, then you really shouldn’t waste your time and money becoming a pilot. There might be other activities that do for you what flying does for real pilots — bicycling, skiing, painting, writing, golfing, skydiving, whatever. Pursue the activity that means the most to you — because you will never be an inspired pilot.

The Podcast

All that said, if you want to get inspired — or even if you just want to hear what I said on the podcast — you can find it here: 12: Maria Langer – Commercial R44 Helicopter Pilot & Blogger – Inspired Pilot.

MacVoices Interview Now Online

Watch it!

Chuck Joiner & Maria LangerChuck and me through the miracle of Skype.

Chuck Joiner interviewed me recently for his excellent MacVoices video podcast. We talked about flying, my Twitter courses for Lynda.com, and social networking with Twitter and Facebook, and working with Lynda.com.

Chuck is a great interviewer and he really knows what to ask to get me talking!

You can see or hear other interviews with me on my Appearances page.

MacVoicesYou can also go to the Show Notes page to get the free 7-day pass for Lynda.com that I mention in the interview.

List of Interviews Added to Site

Yes, I do promote my work.

Since one of my publishers seems unable to find instances of where I’ve made efforts to promote my work, I’ve added a list of recent radio and podcast appearances to this site. You can find the list at the bottom of the Digital Media on the new Appearances page. In most instances, you can click a link and hear the interview or podcast in question.

I want to mention here that I am available for interview or panel participation on radio shows and podcast episodes. Contact me if you have something in mind that you think I could contribute to.

I do actively promote my work as a writer. I don’t, however, feel comfortable with the level of self-promotion that some authors indulge in. If this results in lost work, so be it. I’m not prepared to sell myself like a cheap commodity to score points with a publisher who’s more concerned with self-promoted brand names than quality work.

Don’t Tell Me What to Eat

Why should I listen to you, anyway?

Since being interviewed for an NPR piece about diet books (read/listen to “Diet Books: Fat On Profits, Skinny On Results?“), I’ve received numerous e-mails and other contacts from folks offering me advice on my diet. Here’s one from today’s e-mail:

I caught the interview you gave on NPR about dieting books.

If you want to learn about health and nutrition read “The China Study”, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.

All diet books are wrong, because they are about eating less of the same, unhealthy food. If we base our diet on whole, plant-foods, we will drastically reduce our risk of chronic diseases and as a side effect, lose weight. This book shows the huge amount of science available, and it’s really, really interesting!!

Ironically, he recommends a diet book and then says that “all diet books are wrong.” I guess he means all of them except the one he’s recommending. How many other people are saying the same thing with another book? All of them.

I can’t tell you how annoyed I am by this. I began to write the guy a response, but I figured it might be better to just post it here, so everyone can read it:

My friend Tom gave me a copy of The China Study. I gave it away. I am not interested in diet books at all. Period.

And frankly, I’m pretty sick of strangers telling me what I should and shouldn’t eat. You don’t know a damn thing about me. Why do you assume that I eat “unhealthy food”?

I eat fresh vegetables, both raw and cooked simply. I eat fresh fruit, plain yogurt, whole grains. I eat grilled meats and fish. I don’t fry, I don’t eat much processed food, I don’t eat ANY fast food. I don’t drink soda or energy drinks and I don’t use artificial sweeteners. I minimize salt usage and season with fresh herbs whenever I can.

I eat healthier than 90% of the people I know. The other 10% are either vegetarians or misguided fools who follow the advice of books like The China Study and give up the foods they love, hoping to extend their lives by a few years through that sacrifice. All you have to do is eat a nicely marbled grilled steak in front of them to see how they’re suffering.

Life is short. Why shouldn’t I eat what I want to eat — especially when there’s nothing really wrong with it? I don’t want to live forever and I want to enjoy my life. Eating is one of my simple pleasures.

My weight problem — which isn’t even serious, according to my doctor — is due to inactivity and midlife metabolism change. Simply said, I need to eat less and exercise more. But don’t most Americans?

Sorry if I seem angry, but I’m really bothered by strangers trying to advise me when they know absolutely nothing about me.

This is what I wrote, but I didn’t send it. In fact, I didn’t answer the e-mail at all. Maybe he’ll see the response here. Maybe he won’t. I don’t really care.

I guess my point is, you’re wasting your time if you try to advise me on issues relating to diet, weight loss, or eating habits. Enough said.

And Tom, if you’re reading this, do treat yourself to a good steak once in a while. It really won’t hurt you. I’m sure the person I gave the book to will get a lot more out of it than I would.

MacVoices Interview Now Online

Scott McNulty and I talk to Chuck Joiner about WordPress.

One of the things I like to do — but don’t get a chance to do very often these days — is talk to podcasters and other media people about the projects I’ve worked on.

MacVoices LogoEarlier this month, I got a chance to do just that with Chuck Joiner, the host of the MacVoices podcast. For the first time ever, Chuck did a double interview, killing two birds with one stone as he spoke to author Scott McNulty and I about WordPress. During the Interview, we talked about our separate WordPress-related projects and how they might be used together to help someone learn the ins and outs of using WordPress.

Here’s the blurb on the MacVoices Web site:

Thinking of starting a blog with WordPress? Maria Langer, the author of Self-Hosting a WordPress Site and WordPress.Com 2.7 Essential Training on Lynda.com and Scott McNulty, the author of Building a WordPress Blog People Want to Read, share some tips from their respective projects to help you make the right choices. Maria and Scott talk about deciding on using WordPress.com or selecting your own host, one-click vs. user installs, why permalink structure is one of the first things you should think about, and finding and customizing a theme for your blog and more. Backup options, favorite plug-ins and why their video and book compliment each other are discussed.

If you’d like to hear the podcast, you can download it directly from its page on the MacVoices Web site.