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Flight School Offers Rides During Open House Event

By: SHELLY GODEFRIN

News Chief staff

Plane Day

WINTER HAVEN - People had a chance to see the view from the top as a local flight school offered $10 rides Saturday.

Clockwise from left, Amber, 6, Victoria, 8 and Daniel Nelson, 1, pose for their mother while sitting in the cabin of a Cessna 400 Corvalis aircraft. Saturday September 27, 2008

Paul Crate/News Chief

Tailwheels Etc., gave the community a chance to ride in its aircraft, as well as look at the newest Cessna planes, during an open house event.

A plane that was built in 1958 was also on display.

John Amundsen, one of the school's owners, said the event was a chance for the school to give back to the community and for the community to learn about aviation.

"I think it's a great deal", said Tom Woods, who came to look at the planes with his grandson. "I've always been fascinated with planes and I wanted to bring my grandson to check them out".

Tailwheels Etc., opened in July 2007 with one plane and now has 12. It offers an accelerated training course. Amundsen said some people can train for one year before receiving their license, but at his school, it takes two weeks.

Students fly three to four times per day, whereas at a regular flight school, students may fly two or three times per week.

"We basically own the person for two weeks," Amundsen joked. "Most people can get two weeks off from work for this."

Amundsen said students have to do a lot of homework before training starts, but the actual flying time is about two weeks.

He said many students train to fly as a hobby, but between 30 and 40 percent of students train to become professional pilots.

Though Saturday's event was the first for the school, Amundsen said he hopes it will become an annual event.

shelly.godefrin@newschief.com

This story appeared in print on page A1

Published: Sunday, September 28, 2008

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