$175 for a Discovery Helicopter Flight ($350 Value)
Discovery flights acquaint aspiring pilots with a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and let them control the chopper during introductory lessons. After meeting their FAA–certified instructor, students spend 20 minutes learning preflight steps, which involves a thorough helicopter safety inspection prior to starting the propeller. Once every item has been checked off the pilot’s checklist, the student-and-teacher tag team takes its place in the cockpit and shares control of the aircraft during takeoff, which fortunately has little to do with removing one’s FAA-certified-aviator sunglasses. Over the course of their 20 airborne minutes, students learn aerial maneuvers, such as hovering, climbing, descending, and turning, before coming back in for a smooth landing. Pilots can bring a camera for postflight pictures and a friend to ride along during training.
The FAA–certified instructors at Wesson Aviation instill safe-flying habits in budding aviators, whether their aim is to casually jaunt through the clouds or to pursue a license for flying a plane, helicopter, or really large, specially folded piece of paper. No matter their aerial pursuit, pilots learn on modern and well-maintained equipment. The Bell Jet Ranger helicopter has flown about 1,400 hours and spoils students with modern avionic equipment, such as a Garmin GPS, radar altimeter, and heating and air conditioning—creature comforts to revel in when playing long hide-and-seek games with a stealth bomber. Students can also work toward their FAA pilot certification for private, commercial, or instructor flight at more than 200 miles per hour aboard the outfit’s twin-engine Beechcraft Baron airplane.: