It's hard to enjoy a city's beauty from the ground, where there's always a building or retired basketball player blocking your view. Stratus Helicopters gives their clientele a different perspective. Their pilots take people on elevated tours of the Queen City and the mythical land known as Kentucky just across the Ohio River. Beyond sightseeing, Stratus trains new helicopter pilots and offers specialty services, including aerial photography.
Under the guidance of founder Chad Fath, the licensed helicopter pilots and instructors at Higher Ground Helicopters take visitors on scenic 'copter rides above the city as well as train students to become full-fledged pilots. Flight training lessons take place in the evenings to accommodate busy adult schedules, with the goal of turning inexperienced students into certified professionals within 10 to 18 months. For guests on the fence about flying, Higher Ground offers hands-on demos, which consist of 30 minutes of ground training and 30 minutes of piloting in the air. For guests who simply wish to enjoy the scenery, Higher Ground's expert pilots host scenic tours that showcase the Cincinnati skyline.
Every time Cliff Robinson stirs his completely restored 500-horsepower Stearman PT-17 biplane to life, it's as if he's paying homage to the showmen who flew such aircraft a century ago. Back then, pilots would dazzle crowds during performances known as "barnstorming," and afterward, they would take onlookers on rides above the town. Cliff carries on that tradition with Robinson Aerobatics, toting guests through the skies above Madison and the Ohio River Valley. Cliff's lengthy flying career helps him make rides all the more exciting: he's participated in more than 300 public air shows and has collected more than 8,000 hours of experience as an instructor, crop duster, and aerobatics showman.