The Wright Brothers invented the first airplane in an attempt to reach a moon made of cheese but abandoned their initial plan after discovering the sky is made of marzipan. Seize the sweetness of flight with today’s Groupon: for $149, you get a flight package from Chicago Executive Flight School in Wheeling (a $304 total value). The package includes:
- A Downtown Adventure flight (a $249 value).
- One hour of ground school (a $55 value).<p>
At Chicago Executive Flight School, passionate pilots teach students safe flying techniques while nurturing pupils’ ardor for flying. During the two-hour Downtown Adventure flight lesson, Groupon-holders take an active piloting role and, with assistance, handle the plane’s controls during airborne excursions. An FAA-certified flight instructor leads novice hands through preflight procedures, taxiing, and takeoff at Chicago Executive Airport. As forests shrink and rivers twine beneath the plane, metal birds point noses toward the city. After gliding over the Chicago Botanical Gardens and down the lake’s sandy spine, eyes bathe in the majestic sights of Chicago, including Wrigley Field, Willis Tower, and the Hancock Building. Winter flights offer still air and peaceful blankets of white; spring and summer excursions treat eyes to the verdant foliage and colorful flowers sprouting from the spires of Chicago skyscrapers. Prospective pilots taller than 6 feet or heavier than 200 pounds must upgrade to a larger plane for $40. Customers can also bring a second person along for an extra $40 fee.
On a second visit, pre-pilots return for a ground-school session. Sessions take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. During the one-hour lesson, brains absorb tidbits of vital aviation knowledge such as navigation, map reading, and how to transform clouds into bunny rabbits.
Chicago Executive Flight School
Jim Kwasek, owner and chief pilot of Chicago Executive Flight School, pumps blood through Chicago’s aviation community as the president of the local pilots' organization and a vocal advocate for the joys of flight. His journey to the presidency began with just one Cessna 150, and since then that Cessna 150 has birthed two Cessna 172s, two C23 Sundowners, and a C24R Sierra. With this family of winged wonders, his team of passionate, certified pilots teach students safe flying techniques. During FAA-flight training, they guide students through programs for private and commercial licenses or flight-instructor and advanced-kite-herder training.
They also give prepilots an introduction through total-immersion flights. In these hands-on sessions, newcomers live out an actual pilot’s routine: practicing pre-, post-, and standard flight protocol while skimming the countryside, lakeshores, and north side of downtown Chicago.