I have always wanted to fly. As a kid, I would watch for hours as planes flew overhead as they made their landing approach into the local municipal airport. As I got older, I attended airshows (I grew up 30 miles from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida), became very familiar with military aircraft (serving in the Navy and having a family friend in the Air Force helped), and spent hours flying flight simulators on my home computer.
Although I loved flying, I had never trained to become a pilot for a number of reasons - too young, too expensive, not enough time, etc. Shortly after September 11, 2001, I started flight training, and I received my private pilot certificate on September 13, 2002.
Over the years, I have accumulated hundreds of hours in four different aircraft. I trained in a Piper Cherokee Warrior II (wikipedia), but immediately upgraded to a Beechcraft Sierra (wikipedia), which was a great plane to fly when visiting my parents in Tennessee. In 2006, I started flying a Diamond DA40 Diamond Star (wikipedia), which had a number of electronic and aerodynamic improvements. In 2011, I started flying a Cessna 172SP Skyhawk (wikipedia), which was my first high-wing aircraft. The Diamond and Cessna both use the Garmin G1000 'Glass Cockpit' (wikipedia) flight control system, which makes flying a plane nearly identical to flying a flight simulator, except there's no RESET button to get you out of a perilous situation.
In the near future, I plan to obtain both my instrument and multi-engine ratings, which will allow me to fly aircraft with two or more engines, as well as fly in inclement weather conditions.
Here are some links to a selection of my flying pictures:Flying around Jacksonville with friends