A Birds Eye View: The Best Way To See The Beach
One dream that we have all had at one point or another is to fly, and Aeropro helps your dream become a reality. When I was younger I wanted to be a pilot, but thought my sub-par vision stopped me from ever taking the pilot’s seat. Aeropro offers you the chance to enjoy nice scenic flights over the beach or even achieve your goal of becoming a pilot.
From Sound Waves to Air Waves
I know we are all itching for a change of scenery, and what better way than the sky! When finding a place to give us the ultimate ‘social distancing journey’, we discovered Aeropro LLC, one of the only FAA certified places in the area (which means they know their stuff). Our guide on this adventure through the clouds was the one and only, Chris Dunn, who was a weatherman for around 20 years. Despite not being in front of the green screen anymore he still follows the weather patterns closely, and wants to have the best flight possible for his customers. After talking to him, I did decide to leave the leather jacket and aviator glasses at home and don a sweater for this cooler weather.
Chris Dunn has flying in his blood, with his father and grandfather both being pilots. When Chris was younger, he had dreams of being a pilot like most young kids. However, like many of us that wear glasses, he was told like many of us that you had to have perfect vision to become a pilot. It wasn’t till many years later when he came across a venteron pilot who had “bottle-cap” thick glasses saying that you can fly as long as you can correct your vision. Since then, he has been a pilot for over 25 years, living out his dream with hopes of his son one day being a pilot as well.
Create Your Own Unique Flight Experience
As we boarded our plane ready to take flight, I was getting more and more excited to take my chance in the pilot’s seat. As a person of “ahem” shorter stature at 5 ‘1”, I had to adjust my seat the whole way forwards just to reach the pedals. As we got in our seats, fastened our seatbelts, and popped headsets firmly into place, Chris started the engine. The radio chatter that immediately filled my headset made me feel like a young Amelia Earhart preparing for take off.
When making my flight reservation with Aeropro, we chose to do an early afternoon flight so I could take in some beautiful sights, and enjoy the warmth of the sun. One of the most popular choices they offer is the Scenic Beach Flight, featuring the colorful sunsets the Gulf Coast is known for. Before our flight began, Chris asked if we wanted to see anything specific, so of course we had to see what the Caribe Resort looked like from 1,000 feet in the air.
A fascinating tidbit I learned was that while a plane is on the ground, you don’t steer it with your hands, you actually navigate around with your feet using the pedals: left for left, and right for right. So, as we ‘pedaled’ out of the tarmac, Chris kept up a steady stream of communication, either with us or with the control center. Taking off was quite the experience as we slowly gathered speed and took off over Gulf Shores, seeing the surrounding buildings steadily get smaller and the area take on a whole new appearance as we climbed the skys.
Up, Up, and Away
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s just me waving at you from 1,500 feet up in the air. As we flew further away from the airport, Chris was able to point out places like Oyster Bay, the canal, the Wharfs huge ferris wheel, and many other memorable sights. I thought I knew this area well but seeing it from this height was like visiting a whole new city. The closer we flew to the beach it was amazing to see the contrast of the sea shore with the sandbars, and Chris said you can even see the occasional shark or sea creature from up high. As we circled the area, I was surprised to learn that I still had a wi-fi signal and was able to stream a few videos.
Being the co-pilot of this flight was rather intimidating, but I was able to grab the steering wheel and turn the plane while not crashing into any of the buildings below. While the radio crackled in and out I was able to hear Chris talking to the airbase in Pensacola, and I was actually able to see it from the sky. And looking to the west, I was able to see out over Mobile Bay to the city beyond.
Flying by with Fast Facts
While up in the air I felt like we were the only ones up there, but before we even took off there were planes coming and going in quick succession on the tarmac. It was surprising to learn that the Jack Edwards Airport was the second busiest airport in Alabama, in terms of take-offs and landings. Chris was able to provide a bit more information about the other aircraft around us. The airport is home to local charter planes, jets, puddle jumpers, and even helicopters. The crafts on sight cost anywhere from $35,000 to well over 1 million, and Aeropro maintained them all.
As we walked closer to the hangar my eyes fell upon the Skyhawk II, which despite being originally built in 1979, had an all new engine and has been kept up to date while maintaining a cozy vintage interior. One unique thing about Aeropro LLC is that they are FAA certified, which means that they have the training and knowledge to work on old and newer planes alike. Needless to say I trusted the expertise of the men and women working so closely on these aircrafts. As we looked around I noticed about a dozen or so planes all being worked on by a friendly crew that invited us to take a closer look of what they were working on. I can’t even change my car’s oil without help, much less begin to understand airplane engines, but the shop looked ready enough to service just about anything. from minor repairs, inspection, and alteration of aircraft. It was really fascinating to see it up close. I was also able to talk to a woman who happened to be a pilot-in-training for the Navy, she was thrilled to have this opportunity to learn with Chris and would soon have her license.
Soon it was time to get my head out of the clouds, and come down for a landing. As we swooped low over the canal onto the runway, I couldn’t help but think how amazing this little escape from reality was. This unique experience would not have been possible without Aeropro LLC, they are such a great group of people and they really do care about the guests’ experiences just as much as the planes themselves.
You can tell that Aeropro LLC takes great joy in their job and showing people what the world looks like with a little change in perspective. They have plans of growing their fleet soon,and hope to show off the Gulf Coast to as many guests as possible, as well as train the next generation of pilots. While I am not sure the pilot’s life is for me, I plan on returning for another tour around the coast and to see where my next flight will take me.