OGDEN -- Some people can bake a cake while others can't stir the batter.
That's how George Shafer describes learning how to fly an airplane.
You either can or you can't and you either love it or you don't.
Shafer loves it and he can obviously fly because he just got his license to do so.
When Shafer was 12 years old, he decided he wanted to be a pilot. His father flew planes and took his young son on occasional trips with him.
"I thought it was great and I really wanted to do the same thing one day," he said.
In 1964, Shafter got his chance. He started flying planes for about a month. Then he quit to serve a mission to New Zealand for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, followed by military service during the Vietnam War. When he returned, he put aside his dream to fly while he worked and raised a family.
Then, earlier this year, at the age of 70, that burning desire to get back up in the air was too overwhelming to pass up. So Shafer enrolled in flight lessons at Cornerstone Aviation out of the Ogden Airport.
"That burning desire has been there all of these years," he said. "I thought about everything including the cost. It's not a cheap hobby, but I finally decided, fooey. I'm going to do it. I'm finally doing something I have wanted to do for 50 years."
Shafer's first flight was a cross country solo over Burley Idaho. He said flying over the mountains and into the valley caused a swell of emotions.
"The farmland looked so familiar and to me it was just a thrill to see everything from the air," he said. "In these smaller airplanes you don't fly as high, so you can really see a lot of the detail on the ground."
In order to obtain a license, you have to complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, including cross country, night landings and simulated instrument flying, said Roe McGrath, Shafer's flight instructor at Cornerstone Aviation.
"It's pretty complicated at times but George did a great job," he said. "I was extremely surprised at how well he flew the airplane and how well he knew the basics of flying and the aerodynamics. It was very easy to work with him."
McGrath said he could see the spark and thrill in Shafer as he mastered the airplane.
Now that Shafer has his license he can fly anywhere in the United States. He would like to take his wife, Geri, to her hometown of Blackfoot, Idaho, but he said she would rather hitchhike.
"She would rather get in the car and drive," he said. "But I am glad I did it. When you get older you don't get the same excitement or thrill. You get a deep satisfaction. I studied harder in the last three months than I have in my entire life, but it was well worth it."