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The Sky's the Limit

Flying into the wind, entrepreneurs climb to great heights.

This story appears in the April 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A lesson I was taught early in Navy flight school was always to take off and land into the wind. Often, we do not learn a lesson until we test it. When I was a child and my mother said, "Don't touch the stove," it had no meaning until I touched the stove. The same is true with the lesson of taking off and landing into the wind.

One gusty day in Pensacola, Florida, my flight instructor had me taxi my aircraft onto the runway. Instead of taking off into the wind, he had me take off with the wind at my back. I pushed the throttle forward and began rolling down the runway. Soon, I realized my plane did not want to lift off the ground. It dawned on me that we were not going to clear the trees at the end of the short runway. Terror took over, and I froze at the controls.

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