BY ANDREW HENLEY
Flying is more than a career or hobby; it is a passion. It is a passion so embedded in one’s soul that the only way to quench the thirst of flight is to take to the sky. You can spot this “thirst” from a very young age. The next time you are around a toddler and a plane is flying overhead, take note. If they look up and point, it is their way of saying, “I want to fly an airplane!”
The question I am most asked is, “How did you become a pilot?” and “Were you in the military?” The short answer is no. I did not experience the privilege of serving in the military. I was the lucky recipient of an introductory flight. My mother knows her son. She knew I was passionate about aviation and made the decision to pay for my first lesson. She also knew I was not going to initiate the first step; I needed a little ‘nudge’ in the right direction.
I was a little hesitant about getting started, after all, I did not know anything about flying an airplane. Upon arrival at the flight school, I was totally surprised. From the moment I walked into the school, I was treated like a very special guest. Everyone knew my name. I was escorted straight into the manager’s office where he explained exactly what to expect from my lesson. I knew right then and there that they were not trying to sell me a private pilot program. They were showing me how to become a pilot.
My instructor was wonderful. He was not there to show me how skillful he was behind the controls. He was there to show me that anyone, even me, could fly an airplane. When we landed, I knew I was hooked. I spent some more time with the manager who carefully orchestrated a plan to get me started. He even walked me through how to pay for my flight training. I had no idea that financing was even an option. Long story short, I walked in knowing nothing about flying and left with a plan in place to earn my pilot’s license.
I am sure you know someone that has a passion for aviation. I would encourage you to consider purchasing them an introductory flight. Most flight schools offer some sort of an introductory flight. At American Flyers, we offer a two-hour lesson that includes 30 minutes of one-on-one ground, 30 minutes of dual simulator, and 60 minutes of dual flight time in a Cessna 172 for $169. You can purchase one directly from our website,
www.americanflyers.com/IntroFlight. That is an incredible value for your first lesson.
Consider giving the gift of flight. It is the greatest gift you can give to someone that wants to know what it takes to become a pilot. Mom, if you’re reading this, thank you. Your little nudge changed my life.
Andrew F. Henley