(December 7, 2017) Dave Presnell, like so many others, was bitten by the aviation bug at a young age.
As a kid, Dave and his sisters got the coveted – at least for him – job of selling hot dogs and Cokes out of a wagon at the annual Sun n’ Fun Fly-In Expo in Lakeland.
Walking the flight lines, he remembers the awestruck feeling of being surrounded by pilots and planes. When he finally got an opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a World War II fighter, he was hooked.
“I loved it,” he said. “I wanted to fly.”
Now Dave shares his passion for flight with others as a Certified Flight Instructor at Atlas Aviation.
Atlas, based out of Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Islands, is one of six different flight schools located at Hillsborough County’s three general aviation airports.
The schools offer a range of different options that make excellent holiday gifts for the aviation enthusiast in your life, ranging from low-priced, zero-commitment discovery flights to full-fledged flight training.
Atlas offers a $99 discovery flight that includes an introductory flight lesson as well as a preflight lesson where prospective pilots learn about different parts of the airplane, how they work and how to do a safety check list.
The best part, though? You actually get to fly the plane. On your first flight.
“It’s a way for them to experience what it’s like to fly in a small plane,” Dave said. “Most of the people who come out here haven’t. They’ve always wanted to, they just never have.”
Superior Aviation Gateway, based out of Tampa Executive Airport in Tampa, also offers no-commitment flights for $59. The flights are 45 minutes on the ground and 45 minutes in the air, said co-owner Michele Rash.
On the ground, she said, you’ll learn how to read and interpret the flight instruments and how the controls work. You’ll sit in the pilot seat and, with supervision, taxi and take off.
“It’s amazing,” Michele said. “Most people can’t believe it. They can’t believe that they can just come out to the airport and in 45 minutes of pilot instruction, they’re flying.”
Interested in giving the gift of flight this holiday season? Tampa International has three General Aviation Airports and six flight schools in Hillsborough County!
Plant City Airport:
Plant City Airport Services
Phone: (813) 752-4710
Tampa Executive Airport:
Global Pilot Academy
Phone: (813) 600-4052
Superior Aviation Gateway
Peter O. Knight Airport:
Atlas Aviation Flight School
Phone: (813) 251-1752
Vantage Helicopter Flight School
Phone: 44 7768 286366
ICON A-5 Flight School