Bob Burns (left) prepares to take Bennie Ward up in his experimental aircraft at the Pineville Muncipal Airport. EAA 614 was holding a Learn to Fly Day Saturday. Ward is a former student of Burns’.
Photo by Melinda Martinez
Written by Warren Hayes
PINEVILLE -- The next time Lester Bullitt goes on vacation with his family, he won't be a passenger in a plane.
The Hineston resident wants a private-pilot's license and decided to enroll in Flightline Air Service of Pineville with his son, 13-year-old Phillip Bullitt.
Phillip, Lester Bullitt and his wife, Melissa Bullitt, gained knowledge of several types of aircraft at the International Learn to Fly Day hosted by Flightline Air Service at the Pineville Municipal Airport on Saturday.
"Getting a private-pilot's license will help me get to my vacation spot in Florida faster," Lester Bullitt said. "We've been coming to fly-ins at this airport for three years. We have a friend, Dennis Hood of Jonesboro, who takes my son up in the air when he flies his plane. We just caught the fever and wanted to become pilots."
Flightline Air Service owner Lonnie Lucius IV said Fly Day was held in conjunction with the Experimental Aircraft Association.
"This was a general open house for the public to see what we have available," he said. "People basically ask how much does it cost and how long does it take to get a license to fly. You can get a sport-pilot license for less than $4,000 and it's a 20- hour course. To get a private-pilot license is a 40-hour course."
The Bullitt family looked at a Cessna 172, Tecnam and experimental planes that were on display.
Phillip Bullitt said he owns lots of flight simulation DVDs.
"Planes are like a hobby of mine," he said. "I would love to own a plane in the future."
Bob Burns of Alexandria and Bennie Ward of Pineville both graduated from Flightline Air Service.
Burns said the ability to fly a plane was a life-long passion of his.
"Once my daughters graduated college, I decided to get a sports-pilot license and progressed to a private-pilot license," he said. "Knowing you can get in a plane and get it off the ground and back on the ground safely, you are one out of 500 people in the United States that can do that."
Ward said he always wanted to have a pilot's license but couldn't afford to take classes to earn one.
"When situations came about, I had a family friend, who knew I was interested in flying, forked out half of the money to help me get a private-pilot license," he said. "I'm a private pilot and have an instrument rating and a commercial rating. I get real joy flying to see my children in Kentucky."
David Lewis of Alexandria looked at his L-18C plane before he flew the plane.
Lewis has a private-pilot license and enrolled into flying school at 14.
"My dad flies planes, and I fly to Wisconsin every summer and fly to California and Maine," he said. "I want to join the Army to become a helicopter pilot. When I get out the Army, I want to become a crop duster. The ability to fly a plane can lead you into different careers.
For more information on Flightline Air Service, call (318) 448-3934.