Be Your Own Hero Spotlight September 2012- Jared Calvert

The Be Your Own Hero Spotlight Series on is a new, monthly feature that showcases the stories of real-life “Heroes” — men and women who, while brandishing a defiantly positive and determined mindset, are pursuing their dreams in spite of potential adversity, criticism, cynicism, or being misunderstood by those around them. The individuals showcased in this series have different beliefs, goals, and mantras for how to live life, however, they provide valuable lessons in unlocking your inner potential. I am very blessed to have had these “heroes” come into my life and I hope their stories can help in your own personal journey.

he·ro 1. a man or woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities. 2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

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Jared Calvert is a hero. A pilot and seeker of adventure, Jared had a childhood dream of flying through all 48 States in a personal aircraft. In 2009, Jared stumbled upon an abandoned Piper J3 Barn Cub that had not flown in 59 years. With little money to purchase a new plane, Jared made the conscious choice to disassemble the Barn Cub piece by piece and rebuild it from the ground up (See Full Story). After 3000 hours of sweat and perseverance, Jared successfully completed the restoration and began the first leg of his 48 State Tour.  

A few months into his adventure, Jared was forced to confront setback as he encountered mechanical trouble during take off and crashed, narrowly escaping with his life. Unwilling to quit, Jared spent several months recovering from his injuries and was provided with a replacement plane to complete his journey. As of October 2012, Jared continues the last leg of his journey to complete his dream of flying to all 48 States. Please follow his adventures on his website,  www.rangerairfield.orgBe Your Own Hero!

1. You have taken on a lofty goal of flying to all lower 48 States with a small plane that had not flown in 59 years. What inspired this journey? What message would you like to convey to those following you through accomplishing this dream?

The idea of flying America came to me not long after turning 18 and there was no doubt it had to be done with a Piper Cub. Just a few months later I was in the burn unit for treatment at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. My priorities changed during that experience. I had a newfound fear of dying and not knowing I lived. At that moment I chose to pursue my dream.

When I found the Barn Cub in 2009 I decided my dream would become reality. A Cub is about as basic, yet practical, as you can get. Designed in 1937, the Cub’s little Continental produces 65 horsepower, carries 12 gallons fuel, and lacks a starter. They are simple and fun, especially when you fly door open. I can’t imagine a better mount to explore America.

2. What lessons have you learned about the power of mindset through your own experiences? Was there a particular “AHA” moment in your life where you began to realize that by confronting your fears and “perceived” limitations that your potential was unlimited? Do you believe that all people have the ability to become their own hero?

Mindset is everything. I’ve learned through observing others that motivation and confidence are fragile. That if one loses either they seem difficult to regain. I’ve done my best to fight obstacles with perseverance knowing that the difficult times will pass and counting on the sacrifices being worth it.
While climbing this mountain, I’ve become content with who I am and my actions, thus finding true happiness. I found myself along this journey and encourage others to do the same. Find joy in life, and others will find joy in you.

3. The degree of perseverance you have exemplified in rebuilding the Piper Cub upon discovery and then making the decision to rebuild it again after crashing is remarkable. What have been some of the biggest obstacles that you have had to confront to this point in your life? Do you have any special practices that can help others confront obstacles to bring visions to reality?

I speak of responsibility often. If you say you are going to do something, do it. I established a goal and from then on it was as though I had a contract with myself. Not reaching my goal would’ve been a failure to no one else but me, but that alone helped to keep me going.
I was also very fortunate to have a wonderful partner during the restoration of the Cub. She kept me going at times when I was just about to run dry. After the crash in Ohio I was devastated, and I still struggle with the loss, but I couldn’t quit. I took off in another Cub weeks later to continue the trip. To quit would’ve been to fail, and not failing is winning.

4. What are the greatest lessons that you have taken from the Piper Cub Journey? How have you incorporated these lessons into your life outside of flying?

People offering help and my acceptance along the way made this possible. A man I met on this trip, who is now a dear friend, hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine when he was 58. He said no one can hike the trail without help from others. Their term is “Trail Magic.” At the time I was just a few states into my journey and he was allowing me to stay with him in his hangar home. I was receiving trail magic from him and he said someday it would be my duty to provide it to others. Of course, without my determination and hard work, my dream would’ve remained a dream. But without the help of others, from removing the Cub from its barn home of 59 years, to the restoration, to the beds along the way, my dream would’ve remained just that.
Helping others with what you can provide, and accepting what they can provide, has been the outstanding lesson I’ve learned along the way.

5. What do you think holds so many people back from pursuing their passions and confronting the adversities along the way? What is the best way you have found to empower people to take that first step?

Simply not thinking you can and accepting limitations leads to failure. If one jumps into a project responsibly, there are few reasons one should fail. Illness or responsibility to others are two reasons on that short list. No road is easy. Some can be easier than others, but no road is easy. If you jump in responsibly you already know there will be challenges ahead. And when those challenges arrive you’re ready and able to maneuver around them.


6. Are there any books, documentaries, or articles that have had a huge impact on your life that you feel could positively influence the younger generations?

The building and oceanic flight of the Spirit of St. Louis can inspire. Charles Lindbergh’s book of the same name describing the journey details how remarkable achieving his goal was.

7. What does a typical day in the life of Jared Calvert look like? What are your passions outside of flying?

I’m into everything. Antique cars, vintage tractors, following our troubled political system, trying new beers, having lunch with complete strangers. Whether it’s restoring an airplane that last flew when Truman was president or baking a red velvet cake from scratch, I’m passionate about everything I do.

8. What changes do you feel must be made by younger generations to better the world we live in? If you teach a child only one thing, what would it be?

I would teach responsibility. Teaching responsibility at an early age helps encourage integrity later on.

Please continue to follow Jared’s adventures at Be Your Own Hero!