Earn Your Wings, Expand Your Business Reach

By Mary Ann Hester
February 29, 2012

You are ready for take-off, so you push the rudder pedals to center the prop plane on the runway and try to stay at that mid point while gunning the throttle. You also try to remember the other vital information that both your co-pilot and instructor have gone over with you. But before you can recall many facts, you are airborne and heading toward downtown Greenville. The skyline, the Drive ballpark and traffic threading down Main Street all call to your eyes and attention but wait – you have more pressing things to attend to, like leveling out, banking when needed and instructions from the tower. 

Even a brief 45-minute introduction to flying can convince you that this is the way to go. It is so different than the average commercial airline experience that there hardly seems any comparison. Pilot and Chief Flight Instructor Cyndy Hollman of flight school Airwolf Aviation at the Downtown Greenville Airport has seen this first flight awe many times but “I never grow tired of the smile on someone’s face when they realize we are airborne and they were the one that made that happen!”  

Flying as fun is a concept that is often lost on any traveler – particularly the business traveler. But having a pilot’s license can restore anyone’s sense of wonder and even save your company money. 

Let’s talk fun first. Cyndy’s youngest student is 10 and her oldest is 86. With the majority somewhere in between, her students arrive at Airwolf for a variety of reasons. One unexpected group that can benefit from flight training are middle and high school students – nothing makes someone focus faster than the idea of being a thousand feet up in the air and having to make sure you stay there and land successfully.  

Adults who train at the school are certainly not immune to the benefits that kids enjoy. Along with introducing a new, fun way to travel, adult students can become one of the around 630,000 people in the U.S. who have some form of a pilot’s license. According to www.private-pilot-license.com, “joining this elite club relies not on one’s income, social standing, race or age, but their ability to work independently towards a goal...earning a pilot’s license opens up a whole new world of possibilities to you, your friends and family.” One important but unmentioned group is this elite club is the business traveler.  

A significant portion of Airwolf Aviation Services’ business is from business people who want to fly themselves and other company personnel to destinations that may be hard to reach; avoid the hassles of larger airports; or save the company money on travel. Hollman says “this gives you flexibility. You’re the pilot. The plane is not going to leave without you.” 

One of the most convenient aspects of flying yourself around for either business or pleasure is the number of small airports available just within our state. There are 196 public or private aviation fields in the state with names like Dry Swamp Airport in Orangeburg or Airy Pond Airport in Green Pond. Along with creating access to these cities that cannot be reached by commercial air, many of these small airports provide amenities of the larger airports such as car pick up. If your company has meetings in small towns, then as the National Business Aviation Association website says “business aircraft allow employees to make a trip involving stops at several locations, then return to headquarters the same day.  

As a good corporate citizen, Airwolf Aviation Services is partnering with Greenville Business Magazine, the Greenville Downtown Airport and Greenville Jet Center to help one lucky business person win a flight training package. Visit www.gvlbiz.com/learn-to-fly for program details and eligibility. 

So what does getting your pilot’s license mean? It can be a significant dollar savings for your company. It can also allow you control over travel and freedom to go almost anywhere. But equally important is that it can be a huge amount of fun both personally and professionally. For more information on how to get started, please visit www.flyairwolf.com

Resources for More Information: 

www.rodmachado.com A pilot and the author of many training manuals. www.flyairwolf.com An aviation flight school with flight training in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Greenwood and Abbeville.

What to Look for in a Flight School 

Look on the internet and there are thousands of flight schools all across the country. But like everything else, their quality varies and there are some very important questions to ask: 

 • There are certain licenses and paperwork that a school should have so make sure those are in order. 

• Does the school own its aircraft? If so, that may mean more stability for the company. 

• What is the pass rate for the school? For example. Airwolf’s pass/fail rate is 93% where the national average is 30%. Pilots earn certificates in about 43 flight hours with 30 hours of ground instruction. 

• Be sure to check quoted costs and see what it includes. There are many parts to becoming a pilot, so the price needs to be specific as to total dollars. 

• Ask for references and also find your own if possible. Talk to students – both past and present – to find out about their experiences.

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