Looking for a flying adventure? Consider these examples that allow you to look down on metro Detroit from high above, where you will have a view of the area as you have never seen it before. Local boundaries fade, counties become one and you then come to understand that we all truly do live in a single region.
One of the best ways that will offer the most fun is to take a Discover Flight at one of the small local airports spread across the region. The Discover Flight program has been in operation for years as a way to introduce flying to a wider audience.
During a Discover Flight, not only do you get a chance to see the region from the air, but if you want, you are able to take the controls of the aircraft and find out what it is like to actually pilot the airplane. Each Discover Flight is directed by a certified instructor who remains in control at all times, so this is a great way to experience flying an aircraft and do a bit of sightseeing at the same time.
There are flying schools across the area that offer the flights but these are some of the best.
6226 N. Service Drive
Waterford, MI 48327
At DCT, there is the opportunity to take a Discovery Flight or as one instructor said, "just take a bit of a ride." Each flight lasts 45 minutes and as noted, if you want to try your hands and feet at controlling an aircraft, you can. If not, then just sit back and take in the view. For those who would like to put together a group of three people, there is also the opportunity to set up your own sightseeing tour of the region. Depending upon how far you want to travel, DCT will map out a custom flight plan that can take you down to the Detroit River and the surrounding area for between $200 and $300 for the 90-minute flight. So no matter what you want to do or how much you want to spend, DCT will work with you to come up with a tour you will not forget.
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9505 Groh Road, Hangar 2
Grosse Ile, MI 48138
If you are in the Downriver area, then take the time to head over to the Grosse Ile Municipal Airport and Millennium Flight to take a Discovery Flight and at the same time an aerial tour of the region. Erik at Millennium said that not only will you get a chance to take a few pictures, but for $75, you will take an hour-long flight and have a chance to try your hand at controlling an airplane and "get some flight instruction." Add to this the fact that the Grosse Ile Airport was an old Navel Reserve Airbase and back in the days of airships, it served as a base for many. It's not a bad place to start a tour and for first timers in a small private plane.
Magnum Helicopters, LLC
6250 N. Service Drive
Waterford, MI 48327
So you don't want to take a discovery flight but you want to get into the air and take a look around. Magnum is the place to go. If you have never been in a helicopter, it is unlike any flying you have done before. At just over $500, it is pricier than a Discovery Flight or a tour in a fixed wing aircraft, but if you can afford it, the 45-minute tour is well worth the expense. And considering you can take up to four people, the individual cost falls quickly. Flying at a slower speed than a fixed wing aircraft, helicopters offer sightseers a chance to have about the most stable platform available. Magnum has a tour that will take you from the Oakland International Airport down to the Detroit River by following along Woodward Avenue. This path allows for wonderful views of the historic buildings below along with an aerial view of Comerica Park, Ford Field and the Renaissance Center.
Troy Air Experience, LLC
Oakland/Troy Airport (VLL)
2718 Industrial Row, Suite B
Troy, MI 48084
Once again, Discover Flights top the list of ways to see the area from the air and at Troy Air, the ante is upped with choosing just how long you want to stay in the air. Prices begin at $129 for a 30-minute flight, which for many will be more than enough, up to one-hour flights for $199. If you really want to be nice to someone else, there are gift certificates available beginning at $129. The Oakland Airport is a smaller facility yet offers many of the comforts only found at larger airports. It is close to home and with Troy Air Experience, you'll be in the air in no time to get a look at what is below.
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Pontiac Air Center
1675 Airport Road
Waterford, MI 48327
If you are the type who knows where you want to go and want to work with a pilot to get there, then Pontiac Air Center is the place to go. When you book a flight with this organization, you are working with a group of professional instructor/pilots who know the region and are willing to sit and work out a flight plan. The basic fee for a flight comes in at $150 an hour, which pays for the pilot, aircraft and the fuel. Then you work out where you want to go, hop in the plane and head on out. Depending upon the aircraft used, up to three people can take the tour. So for a base fee of $50 per person, you can get into the air for an hour and see what you are really interested in, as long as it is okay for the aircraft to be in the area you want to see.
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Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.