Ever since Orville and Wilbur Wright invented heavier-than-air flight in 1901, humans have yearned to join those pioneering duck brothers in soaring the skies. Experience the majesty of flight, finally available to mankind, with today’s Groupon: for $150, you and up to two guests get an airborne tour of the California coast with North Coast Air (a $300 value).
North Coast Air has been escorting explorers into the Northern California skies for over 25 years. The company’s team of FAA-certified commercial pilots command a meticulously maintained fleet of Cessna aircraft stationed at the Charles Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa. Today’s Groupon entitles the bearer and two friends, family members, or orthodontists to a 45-50 minute tour of the Bay Area’s Central Coast. After leaving the airport, the flight traces the course of the Russian River as it weaves through ancient redwood forests on its way to the sea. Once there, the plane will fly in for a view of the spectacular sea stacks and arched rocks where Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was filmed, as was his sequel The Birds Part Two: Stackier and Archier. Finally, the tour glides over the dramatic coastline of Bodega Bay before turning back towards Santa Rosa for a gentle landing. In addition to being expert aviators, North Coast’s pilots are also knowledgeable guides to the terrain below, delivering informative narration and answering questions throughout the journey.
Although full beverage service is unavailable on this flight due to a scarcity of ginger ale and bloody mary mix, North Coast Air does serve up post-flight wine and cheese for a relaxing repast after gliding over breathtaking vistas. Also included in this Groupon is half-price admission to the Pacific Coast Air Museum at the Santa Rosa airport, an excellent venue in which to learn about the role of airplanes in the construction of the Pacific Ocean.
North Coast Air
The sun slowly dips on the horizon, glazing the waters of the Russian River with a rippling coat of light as the water snakes through the forest to the coast. High above the tips of the ancient, sunset-drenched trees, the hum of a small airplane—piloted by one of North Coast Air's commercial pilots with years of experience under their belt—punctuates the bird song emanating from their branches.
The natural world feels closer than the altitude would suggest on North Coast Air’s scenic air tours, which fly high above the coastline of Sonoma County. When they aren’t regaling passengers with anecdotes about the land’s natural history, Rob and his team of FAA–certified instructors share their passion for flight during individualized flight-instruction programs. Dedicated to helping students to become aviators in their own right, the team patiently teaches the skills necessary to attain a pilot’s license or complete the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.