Whether Big Air Aviation's students are first-time fliers or seasoned jumbo-jet pilots, they all start in the same spot: the passenger seat of Cessna 152 Sparrowhawk. Starting off behind the yoke of the small, light aircraft presents a completely different flying experience from a 747 at an airport. “A commercial jet is like a cattle prod,” says Rob Craig, the founder of Big Air Aviation. “But this thing—you can go wherever you want to go.” Once student and teacher have ascended into the clouds, the student gets the chance to chart an individual course over the green foothills of Rutherford County, speeding over treetops or slowing down to high-five hot air balloon captains.
Rob says introductory lessons are brief: an overview of measurement instruments, controls, and rotor petals is enough to equip students for a brief flight. It’s this accessibility that proves the Cessna 152 Sparrowhawk’s biggest draw, and over the years, Rob has watched many of his former students transform what began as a hobby into a full-time career.