From the Wright brothers to Snoopy, flying has been a dream of many. At Talbot Flight Instruction Services, seasoned instructors make that dream a reality for their enthusiastic customers. They, along with their flight-school students, journey through the clouds during practice flights that prepare novice fliers for licensing exams and the moment they'll eventually turn into pigeons. The instructors also spend time on the ground, leading classes that teach the art of piloting aircraft through study and classwork.
Chartered flight company MidWest Air Link offers quick and efficient air travel throughout the Midwest with planes that seat up to 5. Each person is allowed to bring a 25 pound bag, and unlike scheduling a trip with a commercial airline, customers set their flight times and dates to skip waiting in long lines at the airport. MidWest Air Link’s experienced pilots helm the fleet of Beechcraft Baron 58s, known as the “town cars of the sky” thanks to their comfortable accommodations. The company currently charters flights out of Chicagoland, Valparaiso, and Indianapolis airports.
Before deep-frying each poblano pepper, the chefs at Sal Y Limon first stuff them with gooey Chihuahua cheese. They also stuff a chicken breast with ham and cheese in the pechugas rellenas dish and douse homemade enchiladas with salsa. On select nights, notes from a live musical performance swirl in the air as patrons toss back steak tacos and shrimp dressed in a homemade cocktail sauce.
The pilots at Sun Aero Helicopters Inc. have been training pupils in the autogiro arts and transporting clients through the skies since 1991. Inside their base at Lansing Municipal Airport, aviators maintain a 12,000-square-foot hangar area and 3,000 square feet of training offices and high-speed computerized flight-planning facilities. Expert pilots impart their knowledge to up-and-coming FBI agents, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and leisure pilots during one-on-one training sessions in Robinson and Bell copters. Pilots also give landlubbers a skyscraper's view of Chicago's landmarks, such as US Cellular Field, the John Hancock building, and the Sears/Willis Tower. When they aren't transporting rally drivers, golfers, and famous wiffle ball players with private charter services, Sun Aero serves national media companies with aerial photography and land surveys.
The Chicago branch of Gray Line's global sightseeing operation organizes a wide variety of tours and excursions throughout the Windy City, from architectural tours that send passengers coasting on the river and lake for sun-drenched educational cruises to shopping odysseys at Chicago Premium Outlets, where travelers can zip through more than 100 stores and restaurants after being shuttled to the retail utopia. Blues outings treat music lovers to raw licks, soul food, and real tears at celebrated concert venues such as Buddy Guy's Legends and Rosa's Lounge.
Gray Line's cherry-red trolleys transport visitors and residents alike to famous Chicago sites. Just north of the river, the vehicles idle before the Wrigley Building's sparkling white terra cotta façade, which in the 1920s stood as the first major skyscraper outside of The Loop. From there, the trolley may motor north to the John Hancock Center, where elevators to its observatory sweep guests 96 floors in 39 seconds. The trolley could also steer south to the Willis Tower, which lost its maiden name of Sears after being charmed by a passing cumulus cloud.
Chicago Limo Net ushers its office-, nightlife-, and airport-bound clientele about the Chicago area in a fleet of luxurious, custom buses and limousines. Twenty-four-passenger party buses bedecked in low-level lighting, leather couches, dancing poles, and mirror-laden roofs bestow a nightclub-like feel minus the acute stares of gargantuan doormen. Smaller 6- and 10-passenger limousines present many of the same creature comforts in a more aerodynamic package for airport or around-town trips. Each party conveyance is piloted by a professional chauffeur with extensive knowledge of downtown Chicago, who will gladly take the fastest or most scenic route and can offer unique insights into the city, such as how to differentiate between the Willis Tower and the pier's ferris wheel.