Helmed by chief pilot Josh Jones, Channel Islands Helicopters soars over the sparkling Pacific during breathtaking tours around Channel Island National Park and Channel Island Marine Sanctuary. Guests load into a luxurious, bright-yellow steed of the sky, zipping out of Oxnard Airport and into the wide skyscape. Floating along a mountain-framed coastline, the sturdy chopper scrapes the clouds as guests peer into the waters below. Depending on the season, whales may frolic in the surf, carousing with sea lions or jubilant dolphin pods that leap out of the waters in hopes of catching a glimpse at the mythical creature known as the whirlybird. Clink glasses of champagne with a loved one or two friends to commemorate a magnificent midair adventure.
Mark Oberman began flying to the Channel Islands in 1975. In 1976, Mark and his wife Janie opened Channel Islands Aviation. More than 35 years later, their certified pilots still fly charters out of Camarillo Airport and organize multiday camping and hiking trips on Santa Rosa Island.
In the Cessna Pilot Center flight school, instructors train pilots of all experience levels with an up-to-date Redbird flight simulator and hands-on flights. Lessons prepare fledgling fliers to obtain their private-pilot, instrument-rating, single-engine-commercial, or CFI-training license.
The Spanish architecture. The bustling wharf. The cerulean ocean. There are countless sights to see in the Santa Barbara area, which is why Nanco Helicopters tailors each of their aerial tours to the client's need. Passengers take in the passing landmarks and 747 drag races from inside a Robinson R-44, helmed by commercial pilot Taylor Nancarrow.
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.
Adventure Helicopter Tours parades sightseers about the skies above Los Angeles for aerial appreciation of the city's many landmarks. The outfit hosts 12 separate tours around southern California, including those that fly over the homes of celebrities, providing ample opportunities to pass judgment on their backyard barbecuing skills. Other options include a romantic sunset excursion, and a route that flies past the Hollywood sign. Every passenger on an Adventure Helicopter Tours excursion enjoys window seating and a two-way MP3 stereo headset for easy communication with fellow sightseers.
For more than two decades, the FAA-certified flight instructors at Orbic Air have maintained an impeccable safety record while escorting sightseers and pilots in training through the sky aboard a reliable fleet of Robinson helicopters. With Van Nuys Airport as a home nest, casual travelers can charter a scenic ride to Los Angeles, Big Bear, or Las Vegas in order to make a flashy entrance or rescue a kitten stuck on top of the Luxor pyramid. The Orbic Air flight school sees enrollees from first flights all the way to commercial-pilot certificates with guidance from expert instructors.