Gastonia has a place where people can fly, where they can fly a $ 500,000 Cessna 172 Skyhawk and feel the wind under their wings.
“Once you’re in the cockpit you have a different level of excitement,” said Anukriti Madhra, 20.
Madhra has always dreamed of becoming a pilot and literally saw her career goals take off at Gastonia Municipal Airport.
“I learned to fly a plane in less than two months and my instructors say I’m doing really well,” said Madhra, who lives in Gastonia.
A fleet of planes at the city’s airport, primarily the Cessna 172, a four-seater, high-wing, fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, allows Madhra to fly about four days a week. She is considering a career as a licensed pilot.
“My instructor taught me to gain confidence and now I can do tight turns, slow flights and am currently working on my landings.
Learn to fly
Gastonia Airport, built in 1946, now includes approximately 120 acres of land at the intersection of Gaston Day School and Union Road. Academy of Aviation has been managing Gastonia Municipal Airport for the city since 2018.
Academy of Aviation, as the name suggests, focuses on the development of career pilots, said John Boyd, airport manager.
“For what we do, it’s perfect for flight training,” Boyd said.
Private flying lessons will cost approximately $ 15,000, covering approximately 60 hours of instruction, including flight time and written and oral lessons.
A person who completes the course would be allowed to fly solo in good weather, Boyd said.
The more advanced courses offered can cost up to $ 85,000, he said.
The piloting academy welcomes students from the age of 16.
Gastonia Airport has hangars, maintenance workshops, a 3,800 foot runway and classrooms.
The airport also has a flight simulator, a $ 140,000 Redbird plane simulator to be exact.
A simulator can help someone looking to become a licensed pilot to fly a plane for real, said Sam Duffee, one of the airport’s certified flight instructors.
The simulator requires the person learning to fly to use instruments found in an actual aircraft, including rudder pedals, throttle, yoke, and flaps to practice their skills.
Contact Janiya Winchester at 704-869-1842 or [email protected]