The FAA-certified pilots at Prestige Helicopters, Inc. fly their passengers over downtown Atlanta, the King and Queen towers, and Turner Field. They helm a fleet of three Robinson R44 helicopters, as well as R22 whirlybirds, each spacious enough for up to three guests. Along the way, skybound guests peep at the area's arterial highways, majestic mountains, and winding Chattahoochee River, intermittently soaring high enough to fly over skyscrapers while avoiding most feral clouds.
Pilots also instill basics of takeoff, steering, and landing during flight-training programs that start students off on the cloud-kicking path to obtaining private, commercial, and flight-instructor licenses. When not leading tours and training programs, the skywaymen shuttle passengers between airports and hotels and take aerial photographers up for photo shoots.
The 3,600-second Discovery Flight sits you side by side with one of the school's certified flight instructors in a Robinson R22 helicopter. After a brief ground school that covers the basics, you'll strap into the cockpit of this reliable, safe little bird and cover essential preflight principles such as breathing and not making eye contact for more than three seconds. Listen to the purr of the engine that's won the R22 major-speed and distance-performance records, while your steady hands maintain hovering level. From there you'll try a short flight around the area, with the instructor offering helpful guidance along the way.
The male and female firearm experts of American Home Defense shape their shooting and self-defense classes around legal regulations with an emphasis on personal safety. In private shooting lessons, students learn to handle three of the most common handguns and home-defense classes equip participants with the know-how to protect their families from intruders or a neighbor's moat monster.
Ron Carroll's fascination with helicopters began in Vietnam, when the aircraft transported him and his fellow infantry through the jungles to the front lines. Two Purple Hearts, nearly 20 years, and a stint in the publishing industry later, Carroll happened upon a copy of Flying magazine and his interest quickly rekindled. He continued with flying lessons, deepening his desire to become a helicopter pilot.
Today, Carroll possesses a Gold Seal CFI certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and helms a team of three pilots with more than 25,000 combined hours of flight experience. With a fleet comprising Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters—as well as a TruFlite H flight simulator that lets aspiring pilots practice operating a helicopter while singing and without leaving the ground—the team has trained throngs of airmen, including Governor Sonny Perdue.
Humans dreamed of achieving flight for millennia, driven by the desire to find out what clouds taste like (a lot like fog, it turns out). Take to the skies with today's Groupon. For $40 per person, you get a quarter-hour private helicopter tour from Whirl Helicopter Atlanta, a $79 value. Depart from McCollum Airport in Kennesaw and fly to Kennesaw Mountain and over Marietta Square and the Big Chicken.
Seeing the city from a tall building isn't quite the same as seeing it from a moving helicopter with the full horizon spread out before you. Select Helicopters' pilots take people up in the air for a bird?s-eye view not just of the city, but of the all the region's wonders. You might soar over beautiful scenery on tours that cover downtown Atlanta?s varied architecture, Stone Mountain?s intricate carvings, or the blues and greens of Lake Lanier. With such breathtaking vistas, many people choose to celebrate a special event from above or chase the sun as it sets over the horizon on a custom tour. During those adventures, pilots can take you just to see just about anything from your favorite tourist spot to what' really going on in your neighbor?s backyard.