The hum of the single-engine Cessna fills your ears as you ascend above the cool waters of the Pacific Coast and as you look below, all you can see are the rolling hills of Carmel Valley. Before you know it you are flying over iconic Highway 1 and the breathtaking region of Big Sur and you are wondering to yourself "why haven't I done this before." This is the moment that I realized that an aerial tour is the only way to fully appreciate the geologic beauty of the Monterey region.
Luckily for us Monterey Regional Airport's newest neighbor is creating a buzz, and it's not just coming from the propeller! AeroDynamic Aviation has taken up local residence with aerial tours of the Monterey Peninsula and a full on flight school.
Not quite up for the pilot's seat just yet my co-worker and I decided to book a Bay Tour with one of AeroDynamic Aviation's pilots. The location was a piece of cake to find, just across from the Monterey Regional Airport. Our friendly instructor pilot Armin rang us in and gave us a tour of their office and flight school.
Monterey is AeroDynamic's third and newest addition to their flight school fleet with locations also in San Jose and Salinas. The school was impressive with an on-site classroom and state-of-the-art flight simulator!
Just outside of the building sat three aircrafts including a two-seat aerobatic plane that was just dying to be taken out for some flips and tricks. After a quick peek inside I was thrilled to board the more spacious 4-seater Cessna 172; we didn't have to even flip a coin for window seat!
Armin was great to go over all of the safety checks and point out some of the aircrafts features and controls. It was almost like mini flight lesson!
Once inside my co-worker and I secured our headsets and buckled in for take off. This was my first time on a plane this size and I was a bit anxious to get up in the air; luckily Armin's vast knowledge about the plane's gadgets and controls put me at ease.
It was incredible to see Monterey Bay and the valley in one shot, talk about a panoramic view! I couldn't believe how peaceful it was once we were in the air, at one point I couldn't even hear the propellers.
Once we reached around 3,000 feet we cruised over to Point Lobos and the Carmel Highlands and then circled back towards the Peninsula. It was exhilarating to be above the clouds and point out certain landmarks like Pebble Beach Golf Links, Embassy Suites and the Del Monte Center from above.
Flying above Old Fisherman's Wharf and the harbor was definitely the best part of my flight. You could easily make out bustling fishing boats and laid-back sailboats down below. I even attempted to whale watch from the skies without having the risk of being sea sick. After an exhilarating 45 minute scenic spin a smooth landing quickly grounded us back to reality.
If flying a plane is on your bucket list then check out AeroDynamic Aviation's introductory flight school. You will be able to take the controls (and two brave friends) along for a ride in a 4-seater plane with a FAA certified instructor. The experience (and the view) is sure to make a lasting impression! Ongoing and aerobatic trainings are also available.