What should I wear for the flight, is it going to be cold?
It is always a good idea to have a jacket handy, but it really depends on the season and the weather for the day. During the summer months a short sleeve shirt is very comfortable. Most other times it is best to wear a light jacket to be comfortable. Some may also prefer to wear some light gloves, especially if you sign up for the Training Sortie as you will have your hands on the controls and not in your pockets for the flight! Comfortable shoes such as sneakers make climbing in and out much easier. Sorry, NO high heels and flip-flops are highly discouraged! Wearing sunglasses is helpful to protect your eyes from the wind as well as the sun. A helmet with earphones to wear during the flight will be provided so no additional headgear or hearing protection is required
When should I arrive for my flight?
We need you at the airport no later than 15 minutes prior to your flight time. Many times flights are booked back to back and the schedule can be tight, so we appreciate you being on time.
Where do we go when we get to the airport?
Our airplanes are kept in private hangars and are not accessible to the general public. Once confirmed, we will send you a link with clear instructions on where to go and how to meet your pilot. Spectators can wait in their car on the flight line during the flight. Depending on the weather, we might actually meet you in our beautifully restored 1929 Ford Model A “Woody” Station wagon and give you a ride to the planes. Be sure to ask if this is something you’d like to add to your experience.
If the plane’s wings are made of wood and fabric, just how sturdy and safe is it?
One of the most frequent comments made about our airplanes are about how solid they feel. The Stearman was designed to take a serious beating by fledgling WWII cadets with no flying experience, but we treat her like an angel. She is very strong, with aluminum struts, steel tubing and flying-wires…you’ll be amazed at just how stout and robust the airplane is! The Stinson is equally matched insofar as her construction is concerned. Both airplanes afford an experience and view like no other. Be sure to bring your smart phone or camera to take as many pictures as you’d like.
Will I be able to talk to my pilot?
Yes, the airplanes are equipped with an intercom and headphones so you can talk to your pilot throughout the entire flight.
Where can we fly? Can we go see my house from the air?
We can fly you to anywhere that time and fuel allows at a reasonable hourly rate. FAA regulations require we stay 1,000’ above the ground in populated areas and 500’ above the ground in rural areas. The Phoenix airspace is strictly controlled, so if you live close by, and air traffic control allows it, we can try to find it. Additionally, for an affordable hourly rate, we can fly you to the destination of your choice. Call (480) 540-1761 to ask about On-Demand Air Charter options.
What are aerobatics and what can I expect?
Aerobatics are the maneuvers that you might see an aircraft do at an air show. They have also been described as tricks or stunts. One thing is for sure, they are fun! But we will not just take you up and start flipping you upside down. The maneuvers are done depending on each person’s input and desires. The pilot will talk you through it. Once you get comfortable with this new experience we can pick up the pace. It is difficult to adequately describe what aerobatics feel like, but here are a few points worth noting:
• It is very smooth and graceful, not jerky like a roller coaster. We also only pull some gentle positive G’s, which means you won’t ever feel like you’re being pushed out of the cockpit.
• The ample fresh air of the open cockpit keeps people from getting sick 99% of the time and most of the passengers who take an aerobatic flight say it was better than they expected.
• While it is a great deal of fun, it is a somewhat physical experience, so we do not do 30 minutes of continuous aerobatics. We can do a maneuver or two at a time and stop to talk about how you’re feeling.
Should I eat before my flight?
Yes, please eat before you fly if you want to. We’ve found that a light meal before flying makes you much more comfortable and helps prevent motion sickness.
If the cockpit is open, with no canopy, can I fall out?
NO. We’ve never had a passenger fall out and we never will. You will be strapped securely into the comfortable front seat with a full set of lap belts and shoulder harnesses. Additionally, we don’t do any negative-G maneuvers that push you out of the airplane. During aerobatics, you may occasionally feel light in the seat, but you aren’t going anywhere, we promise!
Can I bring a camera or a video recorder on the flight?
Yes, as long as you can keep control of the device so it does not blow out! If it departs the aircraft in flight, it is not recoverable. Your pilot has fast reflexes, but not that fast! It is best to use a wrist strap if you are planning to take photos or video while on your flight. Additionally, depending on how busy the flight schedule is, there may be time to hook up external camera systems such as GoPro cameras. Coordinate this with your pilot when booking your flight for more information.
Is there a weight or a size limit for passengers?
Yes. The precise weight depends on the air temperature and density for the day of the flight but generally we can take anyone that is 250 pounds or less. The seat is adjustable in height and the cockpit is fairly roomy. For safety, however, we must reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.
Is there an age limit? Is it handicapped accessible?
We have taken passengers in their 90’s that have greatly enjoyed the flight as well as children as young as 8. For children it really depends on the maturity of the child and whether they are OK to sit by themselves during the flight. We can only take one passenger at a time in the Stearman and as many as three in the Stinson. There are two way communications between the pilot and the passenger(s) so this usually helps as we’ve have found children have lots of questions! While we try to accommodate everyone, we take disabled passengers on a case-by-case basis.
Can friends or relatives come watch the flight?
Absolutely, the more the merrier! Anyone attending will be able to view the aircraft taking off and landing as well as some of the flying, depending on the nature of the ride and how far we are venturing out. Of course there will be photo opportunities before and after the flight with the aircraft and/or pilot. We want everyone to enjoy the day and the experience and have a great time!
Should I tip the pilot?
While tips are not required, they are certainly always appreciated. Many of our customers are so thrilled by their flight, they just can’t resist a small contribution. All tips go toward maintenance and upkeep of our trusty old biplane.
Do you offer group discounts or gift certificates?
Yes, we offer a 10% discount for Active and Retired Military, First Responders and Educators. Call Andy at 408.540.1761 for more information.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, credit cards, and PayPal. Sorry, no personal checks.
Can my flight be canceled like the airlines do?
There are a number of reasons we may be forced to cancel your flight (e.g. rain or gusty winds). Simply put, we will not take you up on a day where you will not be thrilled with your flight or if it is unsafe to fly. Your pilot has the authority to cancel, change, or shorten a flight due to weather or other variables beyond our control. If we have to cancel your flight due to inclement weather, we will make every effort to notify you promptly and we will gladly reschedule your flight for the next best date.
How safe is this really?
We take risks in everything we choose to do in life. While there is an element of risk in flying, quite simply, your biggest risk will be driving to the airport. Safety ALWAYS takes priority over having fun. We operate with your safety as our #1 top priority! Period. We’ve given hundreds of flights over the years and your pilot is a highly qualified FAA certified pilot with tens of thousands of hours of experience. We follow the rules and regulations to the letter, have a perfect flying safety record, and our aircraft are maintained to meet the highest FAA maintenance standards!
Still have question? Use the form below to ask anything we haven’t covered.