Heloventure founders can say they've probably seen the Golden Gate Bridge from above more often than they've seen it from below. That's because in 2010, the aviation-loving duo joined their piloting experience and passion for flight with the purchase of an R44 Clipper helicopter, which they now use to give area tours, hands-on introductory flight-instruction, and even aerial support for professional and amateur photographers. Heloventure was born with that acquisition, with the duo respectively having 20 years of piloting experience and 10 years of hands-on mechanic experience and organizing lessons and instruction.
Since its start, the business has expanded from commercial flights to performing scenic tours by helicopter and airplane that grant stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and Napa and Sonoma wine region, while Mt. St. Helena. Mt. Diablo. and Mt. Tamalpias rise high above the endless valleys. For passengers who want even more control in their sky travel, Heloventure's flight-instruction program grants its students ground instruction and flight time in either a Robinson R-44 chopper or in a fixed-wing airplane. As students learn to properly pilot their aircraft, they get a gleam of the forces that drive pilots to do what they do, and they learn the dangers of decorating one's home only from in-flight shopping magazines.
Long visited by dreamy visions of starting their own tour company, Jewels Wine Tours owners and Napa Valley residents Julia Young and Ryan Raes utilize their regional intimacy to construct guided tours to the finest wineries, distilleries, and restaurants the area has to offer. The team takes great joy in customizing packages to their guests’ preferences, whether customers are looking to taste-test a certain hard-to-find vintage, or just want to be driven around by someone other than the family dog. A dedicated driver handles navigation for the duration of each tour, allowing the grape gurus to focus on enriching the tour experience by answering in-depth questions and providing insights into Napa and Sonoma Valley history.
The experienced instructors at Sonoma Valley Flying Club guide students through ground training before escorting them through the scenic skies over the rolling hills of wine country. Plane whisperers first explain basic plane mechanics, control functions, and what shade of bomber jacket goes best with most complexions. The Bellanca Citabria plane's simple systems, electronics, and radios ease the learning process for beginning flyers, as do its tandem seating, stick controls, and responsive handling when it comes time to climb. To ensure that aerial adventures are as smooth as a butter sculptor's hands, the Bellanca Citabria undergoes a thorough inspection by a certified airplane mechanic every 100 flight hours. The small, local nature of Sonoma Skypark allows pilots-in-training to avoid the traffic jams of larger airports.
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