$199 for Downtown Adventure Flight Package ($399 value)
- A downtown-adventure flight (a $249 value).
- Two hours of group ground school with a senior pilot (a $150 value).
On the first visit, prepilots learn more about aviation during a two-hour ground-school session, which take place on various Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. Throughout the lesson, senior pilots expound on navigation, radio communication, map reading, and how to catch clouds and roast them over a bonfire.
The two-hour flight portion of the package can take place Monday–Friday from 8 a.m.–9 p.m. and includes one hour of flying. Guided by an FAA-certified flight instructor, participants handle the plane’s controls during preflight procedures, taxiing, and takeoff at Chicago Executive Airport. As forests shrink and rivers twine beneath the plane, metal birds point their noses toward the city. After gliding over the Chicago Botanical Garden and down the lake’s sandy spine, eyes bathe in the majestic sights of Chicago, including Wrigley Field, Willis Tower, the John Hancock Observatory, and the verdant foliage and colorful flowers sprouting from the spires of skyscrapers.
Customers can also bring a second person along for an extra $50 fee. Anyone taller than 6 feet or heavier than 200 pounds must upgrade to a larger plane for $50.
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.