Have you always dreamed of being a pilot? Sky Adventures wants to help that dream come true.

Just a few years ago, Josh Monson was an airplane mechanic for American Airlines in Springfield, Missouri. His friends encouraged him with the advice, “You’re such a good pilot and teacher. Why don’t you start your own flight school?”

That’s how it started. Monson started as the instructor with one Cherokee airplane. Now they manage 12 airplanes and have four instructors in three locations —  Springfield and Branson, Missouri and Harrison.

Caleb Green is one of the flight instructors that services Harrison. “We like to think of ourselves as a business that promotes general aviation in the Ozarks,” he said. “Not only do we teach you to fly, we will guide you in purchasing your own plane and then service and maintain it for you. So we are a full service flight school.”

When asked, why fly? Green said, “I love the freedom of flying. There’s not a prettier office window view anywhere. No two flights are ever the same and every student is different. Every pilot and student challenges me to be better. No two flights are the same. No matter how long you’ve been flying, you are always still learning. It’s exciting to help students achieve their goals and overcome fears.”

“We often get calls because someone has always wanted to fly. Some want to learn for a career change,” he said. “Our only goal on a discovery flight is to prove to our potential client it is very safe to fly,” Green said. “Some people still think it’s like a Bugs Bunny cartoon where the wings fall off. But we teach our students that it's a very safe adventure if you remain respectful of the airplane and the rules.”

There was a major shortage of commercial pilots before COVID-19. “The virus has slowed down the need for pilots, but we hope in a couple of years we will see a resurgence and need of pilots again. Experts think it has slowed down the industry two or three years,” he said.

“Being scared when a student pilot is flying is a sliding scale,” he laughed. “I’ve never been scared for my life, but I have puckered a few times. I’ve never doubted I’d come home. That makes my wife happy,” he said.

“Don’t let being scared or the cost keep you from procuring your dream. Becoming a pilot is an incredible opportunity in our country. It promises a lot of opportunities for young people looking for a career full of adventure and excitement. A young person can start lessons at 15-16 years of age and be hired by a small airline at the age of 21.”

The term “ground school” implies to some that several weeks are spent in a classroom with heads stuck in the book. But that’s not the case. Green said each lesson involves a few minutes in the office talking about the knowledge in the textbook and time is spent in the air from the first lesson. 

Caleb said, “If you Google how much it costs to get a pilot’s license, it usually ranges between $12,000 and $20,000. Everyone progresses at a different rate. But the average at Sky Adventures is about $14,000 to $15,000.”

“With a private pilot’s license you can fly anywhere in the United States with anyone. You just can’t be paid for it,” he said. “The national average for a private license is 50 hours of flying.” 

A commercial license does not mean airlines. Commercial means you can crop dust or fly banners. “You can start to make money at this level and that requires 250 hours of flying,” he said.

Green has been teaching for a couple of years and had four students complete their private pilot course and another four almost ready to solo.

“Flying is an incredible experience and we are blessed to live in a nation that promotes it a lot. More people need to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.

Additional information and a video can be seen about Sky Adventures at the website skyadventures.online or on Facebook. The phone number is (606) 465-8961.

Donna has written for the HDT since 1999. When off the clock, she enjoys writing for children, teaching piano lessons and being a pastor's wife. The Braymers have three married sons and daughter-in-laws and 9 grandchildren.

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