There are few freedoms as liberating as being able to fly, which is why humans spent millennia inventing the airplane and why penguins are so very, very bitter. Exceed evolutionary shortcomings with today’s Groupon: for $179, you get a two-hour Discover Flying experience for two from Advanced Flyers, located at the Palo Alto Airport (a $479 total value). The package includes a one-hour classroom lesson as well as a 30-minute flight simulator for two people (a $35 value), and it provides one person an opportunity to pilot a 30-minute flight over the Bay Area (a $75 value for the flight; a $75 value for the instructor). A six-month intermediate membership for future plane rentals is also included for one person (a $294 value).
Advanced Flyers’ experienced aviators employ advanced flight-training technology to teach pilot hopefuls how to soar while renting out a fleet of airplanes for solo flights or flights paired with a certified copilot. For the first hour of the Discover Flying experience, experts will teach two people the essentials of flight, covering aerodynamics, flight instruments, aircraft controls, preflight checks, and techniques for herding together feral clouds. Then both fledgling aviators earn their digital pilot's wings aboard the FAA-approved 2010 Redbird FMX 1000 flight simulator, gaining familiarity with controls and instruments, pausing faux flights to ask questions. Afterward, one pilot will take to the skies in a Cessna 172SP for a 30-minute airborne journey over the Bay Area with an experienced, certified instructor at his or her side. If newly anointed flyers or old pros are working toward private-flying certification, time spent in-flight and in the simulator will be logged in the pilot's logbook.
Memberships to Advanced Flyers have an array of perks, including after-hours office access, a jazzy nickname, and an online scheduling system to book your next aeronautical adventure. Members with pilot licenses are welcome to rent aircraft in the extensive fleet, with fuel included in the rates, and unlicensed members can choose an instructor to fly with them. All memberships include accommodations for two guests on each flight, so pilots can bring along a pair of pals or a couple of mustached mannequins to act as a surly crew.
Advanced Flyers' experienced flight instructors defy gravity while teaching students to pilot aircraft and giving passive passengers birds'-eye views of the Bay Area. Its FAA-approved Redbird FMX-1000 simulator lets pupils log time toward ATP certificates while practicing foundational skills and more advanced maneuvers necessary during bad weather, engine failure, or rabid-hummingbird attacks. Students who pursue private pilot licenses can eventually navigate aboveground in rental griffins from Advanced Flyers' well maintained fleet.