Pilots are the cowboys of the air, roaming the wide-open skies and herding children’s runaway balloons. Giddy up, up, and away with today’s Groupon to Encore Flight in Van Nuys. Choose between the following options:
- For $140, you get an introductory flight package (a $480 value) that includes:
- 30 minutes of ground instruction
- 30 minutes of instruction in a flight simulator
A 30- to 45-minute in-flight lesson
- For $89, you get a 30-minute scenic private flying lesson (a $200 value).<p>
Staffed by certified flight instructors, each a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University, Encore Flight clears an accessible path to the glory of flight in a fleet of Cessna and Piper airplanes. Serene scenic flights soar thousands of feet above the Los Angeles metro area as instructors and novices copilot the plane on a 30-minute journey over Burbank, Malibu Beach, and the enormous scissors that cut out the letters of the Hollywood sign. Alternately, the introductory flight package begins with ground instruction spun from an FAA-approved syllabus. Students then stroll into an FAA-approved Precision Flight Control simulator, which wraps five 60-inch screens around docent pilots, enshrining them in a faux-cockpit with a realistic spread of instruments and a full 180-degree view. After running through several takeoff and landing procedures and learning choice phrases in bird language, students take to the sky for a 30- to 45-minute in-flight lesson.
With either package, pilot pupils can bring along one guest on their flight free of charge, and preadults under 18 are welcome to participate in the flight lesson with an adult accompaniment. Both options bequeath air-initiated students with a logbook of their training useful for submitting to pilot license programs or proving that you couldn’t have been the one who kidnapped the mayor’s poodle.
From their home base at Van Nuys Airport, the certified flight instructors at Encore Flight apply what they learned as students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to the training of new pilots-to-be through everything from discovery flights to full pilot's certification. The crew goes to work aboard an extensive fleet of Piper and Cessna light-sport aircraft, or doles out instruction while safely planted on the ground inside two FAA-approved flight simulators, one a stationary apparatus and the other a full-motion Redbird FMX. Fully enclosed in the Redbird's cockpit, students experience the motions of actual flight on all three axes and enjoy more than 200 degrees of wrap-around visuals, helping them spot hazards such as oncoming flocks of birds or commuting superheroes.