Our oldest child turned 11 last month and in lieu of whatever the latest fad toy is, we wanted to give him an experience that he’d remember for a long time to come. A few years back, I’d gifted my husband a discovery flight with a local aviation company and he’d enjoyed it immensely. With my son’s fascination with planes, we decided we’d give it a shot.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about the staff at Greenville Aviation. From the first time I reached out via Facebook to the day of the flight, they were professional, friendly, and outgoing. Once we explained to my son, Rivers, what we were there for, he was speechless. We’d planned on the extended discovery flight for him which included half an hour of ground instruction and an hour of in-flight instruction.
The ground instruction started with certified flight instructor, Ron Silva, going over the pre-flight inspection with Rivers. After everything was checked out, the two of them, along with my husband, Chas, who got to ride along, loaded up and headed off towards the runway. My daughter and I crossed the tarmac to the Runway Café to grab a snack and wait on the boys. If you have little ones, there is a great playground at the Runway Park next door as well. We’d highly recommend checking out both the café and the park! From there we were able to watch them take off and land (plus we were able to listen for them coming back in over the radio in the café).
Unbeknownst to me at the time, and a bit of a gleeful shock for Rivers, upon arrival at the end of the runway for takeoff, Instructor Silva told him to push the throttle in and pull back on the stick. You guys…my child helped this plane take off within minutes of being in it! I think this was the thrill of a lifetime for him. They were able to fly over an office where his grandmother works in Simpsonville as well as the family farm in Fountain Inn. Then, they flew out to Woodruff and over the Triple Tree Aerodrome, which is reportedly the longest grass runway in the state. They also flew out to Spartanburg Downtown Airport and were able to do a touch and go there before returning to the Greenville Downtown Airport. After landing, they presented Rivers, with a pilot’s logbook and logged his first flight hour towards a private pilot’s license. Instructor Silva was a top-notch instructor and was very patient and thorough in his explanation of the instruments and flight mechanics. He helped put any nerves at ease and Rivers later said that he wouldn’t want to fly with anyone else.
Not only was this an exciting experience, but it sparked an interest in the possibility of a future career in aviation for my son. I was able to sit down with Instructor Silva and learn a little more about what it takes to become a private pilot and where you go from there. He contains a wealth of knowledge and has attained multiple levels of licenses, including international. From this conversation, I learned that first and foremost, he has a love for flying which he is more than happy to share with others and secondly, you must be very driven to pursue your private pilot’s license. This is not an off-the-cuff, weekend hobby. One of the determining factors in pursuit of a private pilot’s license is a financial one. On average, it costs between $10,000 and $12,000 to obtain a private pilot’s license, although it can be more depending on the amount of time it takes. From there, you can continue on by adding the Instrument Rating to your license which allows you to fly in clouds using only instruments. After this, your next available steps would be a Commercial Pilot’s License for a single engine and one for a multi engine plane, which is where you can start earning an income.
Regardless of whether you are in it for an exciting new experience, interested in obtaining your private license, or looking to start a career, Instructor Silva and Greenville Aviation have our wholehearted endorsement for ‘all things aviation’ in the Upstate.
For more information on scheduling a flight, check them out on Facebook under Greenville Aviation or online at www.GreenvilleAviation.com. You can also follow Instructor Silva’s adventures on Instagram at @whosyourinstructor. ♥