Soaring to new heights in 2018

By RENE’ DAY / Community Columnist

They say promises are made to be broken. And, it seems that national statistics surrounding New Year’s Resolutions prove that point. On average, 40-60 percent of Americans make some sort of resolution around Jan. 1. And, by December, only 8 percent of those people continue to abide by their early decisions.

But, if you want to attain new heights during 2018, just resolve to go by the Shelby County Airport. This public use aviation center is located at 265 Weathervane Road in Calera. It sits just off I-65 south of Alabaster, four nautical miles south to be exact. First, plan to pay a visit to the newly renovated terminal. From comfortable seating inside the waiting area, you can watch a variety of aircraft takeoff and land throughout the day. Known as a general aviation facility, it may well be a little busier than you imagine. An average of 57 “aircraft operations” occur each day, civilian as well as military. And, while you watch, you can also listen to pilot communications with the tower or chat with one of the local pilots. A visit is an experience that children and adults can enjoy together.

Having earned his license through Over the Mountain Aviation, a new pilot takes his family up for their first flight. (Contributed)

But perhaps your dream is to soar above the earth like the birds. If so, then you might want a more hands-on experience. A phone call to Over the Mountain Aviation is your first step. Staffed by a team of pilots with more than 100 years of combined instruction and flight experience, Over the Mountain Aviation can guide the most basic Private Pilot through the most advanced training that anyone might need or want.

Over the Mountain Aviation trains a variety of students from Shelby County and surrounding areas. Unlike the much larger Birmingham Airport, Shelby County’s is an uncontrolled site. That means that it is much easier and faster to get students behind the controls and into the air, making it the perfect place to get started in an aviation hobby or career. And, most people don’t realize that all ages can take advantage of the private instructor lessons. People as young as 13 or 14 can begin instruction. At age 17, one can fly solo and obtain a pilot’s license. It is possible for students to graduate from high school with both driver’s and pilot’s licenses. Each student works with his or her own instructor to schedule lesson times convenient to both, and instruction progresses at the student’s most comfortable pace.

The flight school also offers a Discovery Ride to anyone interested in taking to the skies prior to committing to formal instruction. During this initial meeting, a prospective student is paired with a flight instructor for a short trip up in a plane. During the flight, the instructor will turn over the controls and allow one to see what it is really like to fly the aircraft. Level flight, climbing, turning and many more maneuvers provide the perfect introduction to aviation. For more information, contact Over the Mountain Aviation at https://www.otmaviation.com/discovery-flight.