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My philosophy is to try to learn from everyone I come in contact with and I highly recommend this approach to life.

I had occasion to learn something really cool last weekend. It was a lesson I have experienced before, but I will likely need to relearn it over and over again. The lesson: you are never too old and it’s never too late to chase your dreams


homebuilt airplaneMy teacher was Dr. Dean Merchant – pictured here. He just completed a kit-built airplane, not unlike mine, and that isn’t unique. What IS unique is that he is 85 years old! Dean has been working on this airplane for a while and he never rushed the project. He took his time and did it his way. While most of us would never consider such an undertaking at his age, he never thought much about it.



Age to him is truly just a number. 


I was honored to conduct the 1st test flight on his lovely flying airplane and it went perfect. Dean has taken the bull by the horns and has not let some arbitrary number stop him from his dreams of owning and flying a machine created by his own hand. 




598693_4476745752431_1054498702_nAnother good friend Tom Webster was flying and frolicking all the way until he died in his sleep in his late 70s, just this last fall – man he did it right!


I have many good friends down at the huge fly-in community of Spruce Creek in Florida and it is like a scene out of the Ron Howard movie, Cocoon. Those folks haven’t given up anything due to their age. They are living large and having a ball.


It is really encouraging to see people doing this and not letting anything get in their way.


For fun, my family signed their names and put some wise words inside my airplane during its construction. One of those inscriptions reads, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” It was placed there by my very contentious wife back in 2008 and it remains sealed inside the structure today.

 airplane inscription

We find all kinds of excuses to avoid going after our goals. This quote is true, “If you are passionate enough about something, you’ll find ways to do it; if you aren’t, you’ll find excuses why you can’t.”


So get up and chase that dream. Take the first step, even if the way ahead isn’t clear (it seldom is) – you’ll be glad you did. 


Maybe you aren’t challenged in this way, but know someone who is, I would ask that you provide as much encouragement as possible to get that person moving. Sometimes just a little impulse is all it takes to make a big difference. Every one of us has the ability to inspire someone just by letting our passion for flying shine through. 


by Brent Owens

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