Every time a bell rings, an airplane pilot laughs at the implausibility of the television show Wings. Experience the friendly skies from the air instead of your TV set with today's Groupon: for $89, you get a 90-minute flight lesson from JacksonAir Flight Training in Thermal (a $179 total value).
JacksonAir Flight Training's instructors have led more than 8,000 collective hours of aeronautical lessons out of the Jacqueline Cochran Airport and boast an impressive safety record. During a 90-minute private lesson, fledgling Earharts will undergo 45 minutes of ground instruction (a $27 value) and then 45 minutes of in-flight instruction (a $53 value) while aloft in a rented aircraft with fuel included (a $94 value). Kiss the clouds in a Cessna Skyhawk 172SP, equipped with advanced monitors that provide flight information, engine erudition, and clips from Fly Away Home. After landing, students receive a logbook (a $5 value), into which their instructors will record their lesson time and a selection of possible pilot nicknames. For those who discover a fondness for flight, JacksonAir will take 10% off five subsequent hours of instruction for returning pilots-in-training.
JacksonAir Flight Training
The sky above the Coachella Valley is often sunny and clear. The cloudless conditions make it easy to pick out a small aircraft as it materializes out of a mountain range on the horizon, then corkscrews and performs a grand loop-the-loop before heading home to the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport. The shiny blue Citabria plane is the resident aerobatic aircraft at JacksonAir Flight Training. The company's owner, Scott Mourhess, who dreamed of G-forces and airborne antics as a little boy, now oversees a fleet of no fewer than six aircraft used to train commercial and private pilots.
Scott and his fellow FAA-certified flying instructors occupy prime aviation real estate. The skies above their Thermal airport often draw pilots from other flight schools in the Palm Springs region, who flock to the area for the ideal practice conditions and absence of lines at sky tollbooths. The veteran instructors also take novice pilots on 20- to 30-minute flights that introduce them to the excitement being in a cockpit and the thrill of flying.