JANUARY 26, 2005 -- You don't have to spend hours inside a classroom or months at a flight school to find out what it's like to be a pilot. The "Be-A-Pilot," program lets anyone take to the skies for an afternoon for just $49.
Elizabeth gets her introductory lesson at the Aero Services flight school in Wilmington. The first 30 minutes are spent on the ground. Instructor Charlie Hines lets Elizabeth inspect every inch of the aircraft in what's called pre-flight. After that the two climb inside the Cessna 172. It's supposed to seat four, but is a little snug with chief photographer Ryan Koresko in the back.
Elizabeth calls back to the tower, letting air control know the team is ready for takeoff. After a brief taxi, they go full throttle down the runway and are airborne in no time at all. The flight destination, Figure 8 Island then South to Carolina Beach.
The view is breathtaking from just 2,000 feet, but eventually the flight must end. Elizabeth heads back to the airport, following the Cape Fear River. The landing, considered a challenging task, is as smooth as the takeoff.
Elizabeth's first flight lesson ends with her feet on the ground, but her spirits still sky high.
For more information on how you can be a pilot, log onto www.beapilot.com or call 888-BE A PILOT.