Saturday, September 8, 2007
Geoff in the cockpit of a Grob at the Albuquerque Soaring Club in Moriarty, New Mexico.
Geoff Aiken has competed in various sports. He earned several medals in five different Junior Olympic games. He trained at the Colorado Springs Olympic training center. He has held regional, national and professional road racing licenses. He instructed for a variety of road racing organizations. He ran Gator Motorsports for two years with 383 members in college.
His past hobbies have been fishing, IPSC and IDPA pistol competitions, cross-country running, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking, sailing, road bicycles, alpine skiing, riding dirt bikes and street bikes, building engines, salsa dancing, full contact martial arts, rock climbing, skate boarding, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, racquetball and swimming.
How did you get started flying gliders?
I moved out to New Mexico from the East Coast and wasn't sure what my hobbies were going to be. Since I was in a new location there were only a few road racing teams that would still fly me out to do their races. A good friend of mine, Tommy Johnson, a co-driver, told me that I had to go soaring since I was in the best part of the country for it.
So I drove myself down to Moriarty one day and Jimmy Weir did a loop with me, then I pulled out my check book. I commuted from Los Alamos to Moriarty every weekend and slept on a couch in the hanger.
How does flying gliders compare to your previous hobby of racing cars?
Perhaps the most important difference is that I get to sleep in later. Tommy Johnson told me that his favorite difference was the fact that it wasn't such a dirty occupation.
What do you mean by dirty?
You always had oil, coolant and wore three layer fire-retardant suits soaked in sweat.
Getting back to the comparison...
I suppose that the common ground between the two involves the fact that they both require so much of your attention that you achieve a mental quiet that most people aspire to with meditation. Perhaps the best difference between the two that I find is the fact that you have the option to choose who you surround yourself with.
Are you saying that in racing you were sometimes surrounded around people you didn't like?
I wouldn't say that. I think the people you share those experiences with are the closest to you out of anyone. However, if you find yourself needing to work through the pack every weekend you're bound to have incidences that unfortunately always seem to involve the same personality types.
What is the difference between the personality type that flies gliders and the personality type that races cars?
I can't say that I see much difference at all. Especially when it concerns aerobatic or contest pilots.
What has been your favorite flight experience in a glider?
The last one that I did. And that's perhaps my favorite aspect of doing anything new.
You can find out more about Geoff on his myspace account at: