Building a Plane Without the Blueprints: Hoping My Education Will Fly

Uncle Buck was a great pilot in his day. In World War II, he flew Corsairs onto aircraft carriers in almost complete darkness. His passion for aviation, though, started when he was a teenager.

At thirteen, he and his friend assembled a plane from a kit. There was only one problem, it was a taxi trainer. It didn’t have an engine and was never meant to fly. Nevertheless, Uncle Buck decided that it was airworthy. The future Navy pilot would not be flying, though. His friend couldn’t drive, so Uncle Buck would have to tow the plane with his Model A instead of piloting it, or at least that’s his story.

The boys found a nice cliff that would be the ideal launch site for their maiden voyage. The plan went great, until the plane went off the edge. The taxi trainer was not nearly as solid in the air as it was on the ground. Fortunately, the pilot survived with only minor injuries. This story not only serves as a cautionary tale for those trying to turn taxi trainers into airworthy craft, but it also describes my new educational journey quite well.

We are doing something new, which is just as scary as it is exciting. We are creating a learning plan by taking online courses, apprenticeships, speeches, and other tools, and combining them in a way that has rarely been done before, to replace all of high school and much of college.

There is not an instruction manual for me to follow. I could fall flat on my face, fail, and limp back to where I came from. Or I could do something much different. I could gain experience and skills that will fully equip me for the real world. Along the way, I might even discover my calling.

The problem is, I can only find out if this experiment crashes or flies by pushing it off of a cliff, with me at the controls.

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