When I was 7 or 8 my dad took us to the airport for an open house and he got my brother and I a flight in a Cessna 172. I was too short to see out of the window except for when the pilot was banking but it was a lot of fun. Later, my dad got my older brother and I model rockets for Christmas. I still have my first rocket!
So, a year ago I bought a Honeybee FP remote controlled helicopter and figured that mastering RC aircraft would be enough - but becoming a private pilot was never far from my mind. So about 6 months ago I started buying airplane magazines and books, and researching local flying schools. I struck a deal with my wife that if I sold our ne'er used sailboat, I could take the lessons. I used a PowerPoint to make my case.
I also started doing some heavy research into the reality of getting a PPL (private pilot license). One of the main areas of research was the FAA's accident database. I have studied almost all of the fatal light aircraft accidents since 1993 (the database goes back to the 50's but the reports aren't very detailed). I found that the main cause of small plane crashes was the pilot being a dumbass. Running out of gas, flying into bad weather, taking drugs, being drunk - all very avoidable stuff.
So, in two weeks I will begin my flight training. I will post my progress here. Stay tuned!