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 $169, you get a two-hour Discover Flying experience for you and a guest from Advanced Flyers, located at the Palo Alto Airport (a $383 value).
Advanced Flyers’ experienced aviators employ advanced flight-training technology to teach pilot hopefuls how to soar. Over the two-hour Discover Flying course, experts instruct two people—one pilot and one passenger—in the essentials of flight, covering aerodynamics, flight instruments, aircraft controls, preflight checks, and techniques for herding feral clouds. Then, fledgling aviators earn their digital pilot's wings during 30 minutes aboard the FAA-approved 2010 Redbird FMX-1000 flight simulator, gaining familiarity with controls and instruments while asking practical questions. Afterward, students take to the skies in a Cessna 172SP for a 30- to 35-minute airborne journey over the Bay Area with an experienced, FAA-certified instructor. Though only one of the two students gets to pilot the plane, the other can ride along and take in lofty views or distribute two packs of peanuts. 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. Groupon customers also receive a six-month subscription to AOPA Flight Training magazine.
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.