Get High - Fly!

Tony Parate
Bored with Cleveland pro sports? Don’t give a damn who Jennifer Aniston is spreading her legs for this week? Need that new buzz, but not quite ready to chuck it all, move to Alaska, and chop fish heads in a cannery for a living? Forget about Scrabble, holographic living room bowling, and ‘Jersey Shore’. Zone Aviation, of Elyria, Ohio, has your next adventure ready and waiting: Flying lessons.

Don’t choke, now…flying isn’t strictly the pantheon of physically perfect, engineering-degreed humans. Quite the opposite. Pilots are regular people, albeit ones with a special yearning for the skies. Maybe when you were young, you and your parents stopped one summer night at Hopkins to watch the jets land, and you were enthralled. Maybe you’ve been to the Cleveland National Air Show, and ya thought, “Gee, I’d like to do that…could I do that?” Well, good readers, the answer is ‘Yes!’

A few years ago the FAA relaxed its rules and came up with something called the ‘Sport Pilot License’. Kind of like an economy version of a private pilot’s license, the main benefit of the sport pilot license lies in allowing a potential pilot to use his or her driver’s license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate. This opens up flying to folks who normally wouldn’t qualify for an FAA medical due to issues like diabetes, deafness, etc. The sport pilot license also limits its holder to flying smaller aircraft designated as ‘Light Sport’ aircraft, to flying only during the day, and to having only one passenger. Typically the cost of sport pilot training is in the neighborhood of $5,000, depending on learning ability.

The crew out at Zone Aviation on the grounds of Lorain County Airport can get you started. Currently – in addition to their fleet of private-, instrument-, and commercial training aircraft, Zone has two Flight Design CTLS light sport aircraft for the training of sport pilots. These aircraft rent for $99/hour wet (meaning fuel is included), and the instructors can take you from zero time to sport pilot in a few months. There have been people who have completed their training in as little as a week. If you’re interested in what Zone Aviation has to offer, and you’d like more details, you can reach flight instructors Bob, Eric, or Dave at 1-440-322-3692.

I fly, and I love it. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s beautiful up there, all by yourself at the controls…no cops, no IRS, no hatred, no prejudice…when you look down, there are no borders…you get the idea. It’s just you, the airplane, the clouds, the sun, the birds, and space. Everyone should fly. The world would be a better place because of it.