Quiet ‘Round Here; Blame Passion

Sorry. A passion has gotten the best of me, lately.

About five years ago, I got too fat to fly. No, it wasn’t a command, not even an admonition. I just felt fat…crappy. Essentially, I felt a deep unworthiness to fly — hang gliders (my primary deal), powered planes, sailplanes. I quit doing all of them.

So yesterday I strapped into the cockpit for the first time in 4 1/2 years. Then, it had been nearly 8 months since my last solo outing and my instructor called to offer to keep me current. So we did, next day. tok a ride and he signed me off to continue solo training. He didn’t make that offer again, nor should he have; because I hadn’t flown since.

Until yesterday.


That’s the Evektor SportStar Max.

So, I’ve taken on a double challenge: re-familiarize myself with piloting and learn a new airplane all at once. I learned on the Citabria, a tail dragger. And while their Citabria fleet numbers somewhere between 8-10, now (more than before), they also have that gem, above. And I wanted to check her out.

So I did, last two days in a row. I found out that she still remembers how to fly. The takeoffs & landings (and radio work with the tower) are rusty — better day 2 — but apart from that stress and even creating stress with stalls and other work at altitude, it was all very good. Not exactly like riding a bicycle, but enough principal elements remain to make it very much worth it to rekindle a passion.

C’mon, what lost passion do you want to recapture? 

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  1. Darrin on September 1, 2010 at 22:13

    Looks like a blast, Richard. Glad to see you’re having fun! I just started surfing and can easily see this becoming a new passion of mine.

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  3. Skyler Tanner on September 1, 2010 at 18:06

    When you feel good about your body and know how to keep yourself that way, it’s a huge weight (ha!) off your mind.

  4. Dan on September 1, 2010 at 18:09

    It’s not a lost passion, but due to circumstance I havn’t been able to do it for awhile, but I want to go scuba diving again.

  5. Jorge on September 1, 2010 at 18:16

    My Vitus road bicycle started to show it’s age last week in OR, so I now have a Trek Madone. What fun! I’m not rediscovering, this bike is new, radically diff from my old tech. Vitus.

  6. Dave Fish on September 1, 2010 at 19:33

    Good for you Richard! I got my pilot’s license when I was 18 but I haven’t flown in nearly 30 years. It is not an inexpensive hobby. That’s a beautiful looking plane and must be fun to fly. Maybe I’ll look into taking some lessons again but with three more kids to put through college I don’t think I’ll be taking it up as a hobby again for a few more years.

  7. Bill Strahan on September 1, 2010 at 20:07

    Dangit, Richard, if you start to talk flying you know what happens to the pilots in the audience. I’m feeling a helluva strong desire to jump in the Lightning and make my way to California and join in!

    Promise me if you’re ever in the Dallas area you’ll contact me. We’ll go $100 hamburger hunting (I run a website to track such destinations!) and I’ll show you part of Texas from the air. We’ll hit the local grass strips. We’ll fly part of the Red River and hop between Texas and Oklahoma every few seconds. And you’ll do most of the flying…promise!

    And this is where passions collide, in a favorable fashion! Having gone from about 240 in 2005 to just barely over 190 today, the useful load of my plane has essentially gone up by 50 pounds! I’d much rather haul a folding bike and an ice chest to my destination than 50 pounds of fat!!

    Keep it up and keep posting. We need more healthy pilots.

    And I’m 100% serious about letting me know if you’re out this way.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 2, 2010 at 13:51


      Ha! That sounds like fun. Was just visiting with my bro who lives in Houston last night ’cause he’s around. He’s always telling me about the great cost of living, but I still think it’s way too expensive to live in Houston. :) …get it?

      Anyway, I dropped a comment over on the previous post you commented on (Do It!), which in major part motivated me to do just that. And I’m already looking into fractional ownership of the new Piper light sport airplane. I figure starting as small as possible might be the way to go and ease in. So I’m getting my Sport Pilot Cert, which I already have most requirements met (and 35 hrs logged). Then I’ll use that to build experience for 100% on the Private Pilot Licensce check ride. I don’t want a singal nic on that one.

      Can we connect in email for some more specific and mundane things?

      • Bill Strahan on September 2, 2010 at 18:46

        Of course! I’ll email you some pictures of the Lightning.

        I won’t send pictures of the Grumman, as it’s airworthy and fast but a dog to look at. :)

        The “Yellow Dog” has carried me to both coasts, Bahamas, Mexico, and everywhere between and has never let me down. But it’s showing it’s 38 years of age.

        In the meantime, I’ll be working on increasing my payload by another 15-20 pounds.

  8. Jeff on September 1, 2010 at 22:02

    Congrats. I’m really happy for you doing what you love doing. I worked at a small town airport when I was a kid so I understand the draw of flying.

  9. Primal Toad on September 2, 2010 at 08:32

    I would love to be able to fly a plane! Congrats on being able to enjoy your true passion in life once again! You’ve earned it. Good luck with the flying!

  10. John Campbell on September 2, 2010 at 10:37

    Great post Richard – this diet and lifestyle stuff is all about life and living with passion and possibilities. Fun rules! Lets all get out there and enjoy the wild blue yonder no matter how we get there. And having a healthy body is vital to ignite a passion for living in the moment and active living.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Richard Nikoley on September 2, 2010 at 14:05

      John C:

      Actually, I’m moving right now, from a downtown loft to a house in a quiet ‘hood. I’m now fancying about designing and building a cool backyard gym.

      More on that later, for sure.

  11. Tom on September 2, 2010 at 11:54

    Great post, Richard.

    By the way, Denise Minger has done it again:


    • Richard Nikoley on September 2, 2010 at 16:21

      Wowzerz. Hadn’t seen that yet.

      Well, BFD time on the blog, I guess.

      • Tom on September 2, 2010 at 20:09

        Yes, she is quite the rockstar.

        BTW, I really like that you are continuing to be authentic with blog (even if you are broadening your topics beyond paleo, etc.)

        If getting healthy doesn’t mean rediscovering energy and passion, what’s the point?

      • Richard Nikoley on September 2, 2010 at 21:01

        Amen, Tom. I can only write, or read, for that matter, so many posts about the cholesterol con, etc.

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  13. Mick Solomons on September 3, 2010 at 05:26

    thats great Richard! It’s easy to get so consumed about our body fat percentage that we often forget why we’re eating paleo in the first place.

    For me it was so I could have energy to actually do the things I enjoy. Since I lost over 60 lbs I’ve started playing music again, go bushwalking and just have energy to be sociable and fun!


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  14. Val on September 4, 2010 at 12:12

    Oh geez, Bill, you probably know my ex-husband!
    (but let’s not go there, shall we?)
    This morning I took my lil’ Arab gelding out after a 6-wk layoff to resolve his back issues (new saddle – well actually just a refitted saddle that was my old campaigner’s). I was pleased that he was no longer performing the compulsive head-tossing he used to (which was probably his way of saying “Ouch, Mom! You’re killing my back!”), but still tripping & stumbling a bit. When I can shave off a few more lbs, hopefully that will get better too.
    I may actually have a shot at BEING COMPETITIVE when I reduce his payload another 10%.

  15. Paolo on September 6, 2010 at 05:01

    I will be able to walk on my hands as I used to do when I was 20 (now I’m 40). I’m sure I will :-)

  16. Jojo on October 24, 2010 at 09:34


    I’m a new reader to your blog and what a great blog it is. Like yourself, I too am a pilot. I thought I’d share that with you, that we both have the passion to fly, be fit and healthy into our senior years (50 now..).

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