The sun slowly dips on the horizon, glazing the waters of the Russian River with a rippling coat of light as the water snakes through the forest to the coast. High above the tips of the ancient, sunset-drenched trees, the hum of a small airplane piloted by Rob Clark—a seasoned commercial pilot with 33 years of experience under his belt—punctuates the bird song emanating from their branches.
The natural world feels closer than the altitude would suggest on North Coast Air’s scenic air tours, which fly high above the coastline from San Francisco to Sonoma County. When they aren’t regaling passengers with anecdotes about the land’s natural history, Rob and his team of FAA–certified pilots share their passion for flight during individualized flight-instruction programs. Dedicated to helping students to become aviators in their own right, the team patiently teaches the skills necessary to attain a pilot’s license or complete the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.