Posted by: Korry | September 11, 2011

Cleared for Takeoff

The date was June 6, 2006. The sky was filled with the beautiful hues of orange and red that seem to come standard with an early summer evening in the northeast. I could hardly believe this day had finally come. From countless days as a kid spent dreaming about being an airline pilot to the long days spent flight training and then later flying for a regional airline, it all culminated on this day. I was a major airline pilot and tonight I was flying to Rome—my first trip to Europe as the pilot. I could not have been happier…or more nervous with excitement.

I stared out my window upon the long runway in front of me. My palms were sweaty with anticipation. My right hand gripped the control wheel of the 767. My left hand wrapped around the throttles that commanded the 450,000 pound aircraft’s massive turbine engines. I took a deep breath and waited in eager anticipation for three of the most magical and exciting words in all of aviation: cleared for takeoff.

No matter how many times I hear those three words, they make me immediately smile in anticipation of what’s to come. Whether I’m flying an airliner or a small four-seat Cessna, those words inspire me to imagine what may come. They represent a fresh start and a new beginning. They encourage me to forget about the past and to really focus on the task at hand. Most of all, they serve as permission to begin a new journey through the sky…or through life itself.

Today, Life’s Flight Plan—this little piece of the blogosphere about life, success and fulfillment—is cleared for takeoff. Just like the trips I fly, there’s a plan (albeit a loose one) for how this blog will go, but also like the trips I fly it is doubtful that it will end up precisely as I originally envisioned. It will evolve, change, grow and adapt over time. Hopefully, you will help me in that process! The way I see it, even though this blog may be about me and my travels, it’s also very much about you, your questions, your interests, your suggestions and your stories. So really, it’s not my blog…it’s OUR blog.

So what’s the plan? I’m going to travel. I’m going to live. And, I’m going to write…about aviation, travel, life as a pilot, the cities I visit, the cultures I experience, the people I meet, the foods I eat, and the lessons I learn along the way. I hope to captivate your imagination, entice you to try new things, convince you to view life from a slightly different point of view, and hopefully even serve as an escape from your own life and the pressures and stresses that come with it.

Will we succeed? Only time will tell. But we can’t even begin to find that answer by sitting on the runway with the parking brake set. So let’s go. The brakes are released. We’re cleared for takeoff! Let’s go fly!



  1. Those are truly some wonderful words…and what an awesome moment for you!!….I love the idea and twist you’ve given to this blog and look forward to keeping up with it. Here’s a little story-telling time from my side about these awesome words…..Based on where life has taken me, there are 2 memorable ones in my mind. The funny part is that both times I heard them through a radio scanner rather than inside a cockpit:

    1. December 15th, 2009
    KPAE Control Tower: “Boeing 001 Clear for Take-Off”
    That was a cold and soggy morning in Everett, WA. and after waiting for a couple hours in the taxiway of runway 16R/34L, I got to see the 1st Boeing 787 take-off for the 1st time just a few feet in front of me.
    Using the cheesy aerospace lingo, seeing it fly for the first time was like seeing the “birth of my baby.” All those long days and hard work were finally up in the air where they belong.

    2. September 27th, 2011 (Today!)
    KPAE Control Tower: “All Nippon 9397 Heavy, Runway 16R, Cleared for Take-Off”
    This time “my baby left for college.” For the first time a Boeing 787 did not have the “Boeing” call sign preceding it, no more Boeing test pilots, no more FAA observers, just ANA personnel taking their 1st delivered airplane to their home-base Tokio.

    Let’s go Fly!!! 🙂

    • Those are two amazing stories/analogies, Gonzalo! I can’t even begin to imagine what a rush that must have been for the first one…and so bittersweet for the second. There’s no doubt in my mind that your “787 baby” is going to really make something of herself now that she’s off to college…and beyond. A game changer for sure. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  2. […] my very first blog here, I said that three of the most exciting words in all of aviation were “Cleared for […]

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