Pilots are the cowboys of the air, roaming the wide-open skies and herding children's runaway balloons. Giddy up, up, and away with today's Groupon: for $71, you get a discovery flight and 30 minutes of ground instruction at Washington International Flight Academy in Gaithersburg (a $145 value).
Washington International Flight Academy's team of expert plane people guides students toward new altitudes with a fleet of immaculately maintained aircraft. To blast off in the discovery flight, pilots introduce first-time sky explorers to the smoothly saddled Cessna 172. Once seated, students take the reins as the plane taxis away from the hangar, paws the dusty runway, and charges up to 2,500 feet in the air. Throughout the lofty adventure, the academy’s veteran pilots, approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, do everything in their wingspan to create safe and enjoyable hands-on experiences. Functioning as co-main pilots, the instructors provide timely assistance when needed, pass the yoke when appropriate, and keep one eye on the on-board GPS enabling modern navigation through the outdated skies.
The discovery flight gives potential pilots the chance to experience the feeling of flight, whereas the ground instruction focuses more on the mental aspects of piloting, such as maneuvering, navigating, making good decisions, and telekinetically sculpting clouds. Although ground training is bottled up into one high-flying half hour, the time spent with the instructor is still applicable toward an eventual private pilot's license.
Washington International Flight Academy
For more than 20 years, the FAA-certified flight instructors at Washington International Flight Academy have safely guided pupils skyward and imbued them with the skills necessary for numerous licenses and certifications. Under an instructor's watchful eye, guests control a Cessna 172 on a 30-minute airborne trek during discovery flights, which can later be applied toward courses for a private or commercial pilot’s license with optional multiengine rating. A commercial pilot’s license qualifies more seasoned flyers for instructor certification, where they learn how to teach essentials, including how to tell the difference between a landing airplane and a diving roc.
Along with in-depth courses, Washington International Flight Academy accommodates patrons with rentals of its massive fleet, charts and piloting supplies from its fully stocked shop, and lodging for out-of-state students.