At Airwolf Aviation, founder Michele Rash and her team of instructors keep one thought in mind when training students to become certified pilots: "Would I sit in the back seat while he or she flew me around?" This question guides them while they tailor training for each student and has resulted in a pass/fail rate of 97% over the past three years.
With three flight schools, a fleet of Cessna airplanes, and a multi-engine Piper Aztec E, the instructors lead courses that qualify students for private, instrument, commercial, and multi-engine pilot licenses. They also help professional pilots earn flight-instructor certifications. When they’re not teaching lessons, Airwolf's team introduces clients to aviation through discovery flights and city tours that fly to the governor's floating mansion.
Featuring 53 miles of track and 25 bridges, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad transports guests to majestic mountain locales in western Carolina, allowing travelers to view nature's splendor while sitting on a modern marvel. The four-and-a-half-hour trip offers coach seating to train setters tired of driving through the mountains with the Space Shuttle and its noisy transmission, instead surrounding them in 1920s-inspired train cars, complete with heat and ceiling fans for climate comfort.
The chauffeurs at Elite Limos zoom promptly to homesteads, airports, or other pickup points in an immaculate fleet of stretch limos and luxury sedans that garnered enough votes to be named one of CityVoter's Best Limousine services in 2010. Professionally dressed drivers shuttle wedding parties or coworkers between destinations at any hour in roadsters such as a white stretch Lincoln Navigator decked out with a bar, two flat-screen TVs, and a CD and DVD player. They also man the wheel for tours of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge or for special occasions, including carefully ferrying mom and her newborn home from the hospital after an exhausting few days of trying to learn each other's names. The team's concierge service accommodates all requests, from a light snack to armed security, for an added touch of opulence.
Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure places novice passengers alongside professional drivers for ride-along experiences on Talladega Superspeedway. At 2.66 miles around, Talladega Superspeedway is the largest oval racetrack in the Sprint Cup Series and is well-known throughout motorsports. Passengers circumnavigate the speedy circle at speeds of up to 175 mph aboard real racecars once owned by such drivers as Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, and Bobby Labonte. Before embarking, riders receive safety training and suit up in a full fire suit complete with a helmet with facemask and Hans Device, the same head restraint used by professional heavy-metal guitarists. Talladega Superspeedway is located next to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which is open daily to visitors.
For FlyCarolina, the sky is never the limit. In the last 15 years, they have helped many aspiring pilots learn how to fly with their custom flight-training programs. More than 20 aircraft comprise the school's fleet, which is used to train pilots from beginner through commercial levels. FlyCarolina also offers a private jet charter service. Licensed pilots can take advantage of FlyCarolina's flying club and co-ownership programs. Plane owners can also take advantage of the company’s professional aircraft maintenance services.
When the Robinson helicopters at Queen City Helicopter Corp. aren’t acting as airborne classrooms for aspiring pilots, they’re whisking passengers on aerial tours of nearby landmarks. The peaks of Crowders Mountain, the sports arenas of uptown Charlotte, and the horses and buggies of the Charlotte Motor Speedway loom large in the windows of the chopper after it takes off from the company's very own private, FAA-approved heliport. On the ground at the FAA flight school, pilots safely test their abilities inside a flight simulator and study in the onsite classroom.