Today's side deal allows you to soar like a penguin that recently purchased a private plane. For $75, you get one 30-minute introductory flight lesson—including an in-flight digital photo—with FlyBayArea.com (a $129 value). In addition to the lesson, during which you pilot the plane, you will also receive a six-month subscription to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Flight Training magazine. Lessons take off on Sundays and select weekdays primarily from the San Carlos Airport.
Before hopping in the cockpit, warm up your aviation education with an hour of preflight instruction. After the lesson, prepare for the 30-minute intro flight that provides an atmospheric view of the world typically reserved for blimp riders and web-based map browsers. Once aloft, you'll take control of the trusty Cessna 152 as you navigate the scenic Pacific Coast across the San Francisco Peninsula. Although the flight itself is dreamlike, save yourself from self-inflicted pinching pains with an in-flight photo, which handily doubles as a passive-aggressive gift for naysayers. Plan on spending around an hour in the plane from take-off to landing with your copilot Gabe managing the complex maneuvers. A certified commercial pilot and flight instructor, Gabe helps open the wings and brainal cavities of his students through comprehensive guidance both on the ground and in the clouds.
All flights are subject to aircraft availability and weather conditions. Students must be 16 years or older and weigh less than 200 pounds.
Fly Bay Area
With more than 15 years of flying experience, Fly Bay Area creates tours and courses that are designed to bring recreational flying to the general public. They've recently expanded their services to include flight instruction and aircraft rental for budding and experienced pilots. Students can sign up for comprehensive and structured flight courses that count towards a Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, or Commercial Pilot Certificate. Alternatively, participants on Fly Bay Area's tours can choose to see the Peninsula, Pacific Coast/Half Moon Bay, San Francisco & Golden Gate, or the Ultimate SkyTour all around the Bay Area—but instead of exploring each up-close, they view them from around 1,500 feet in the air. Experienced pilots steer four-seat, single-engine planes over the San Francisco Peninsula and Bay, across sweeping redwood forests and the Pacific coast, during sky tours at any time of day. The FAA-approved air-tour company also lets passengers helm the plane's controls on U-Fly tours. During these flights, wannabe pilots can perform basic flight maneuvers and make airplane noises with their mouths, eschewing the extra technical and theoretical lessons required by pilot-training programs. On any flight, staff members can snap high-resolution digital photographs or high-definition videos that document moments of the customer's in-flight experience.