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Are you sure you know what you're doing?Are you sure you know what you're doing?

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened at your flight school? I love this anecdote from Loren French, co-owner of Alpine Flight Training at Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) in Eagle, Colorado.

As French told the Vail Daily, Alpine Flight Training conducts introductory flights. “Frequently I get calls from parents who want to treat their son or daughter to a flight as a birthday present,” he said. “On one occasion, an older gentleman called me saying he wanted to send his grandson on a flight for his birthday. He told the young man that I was a baggage handler and I was going to show him around the airport.” (I have to wonder how old the grandson was, but let’s continue.)

This surprise was planned in advance, mind you. “The airplane keys were to be left in the ignition of one of our airplanes, and I was supposed to be taking this young man on a walking tour,” French said. “At the proper time, grandpa slipped away to use the restroom, and I was to point out the keys left in the ignition and suggest we take the plane for a ‘joyride.’ At first this young man thought it was a swell idea; however, by the time we got halfway down the runway and 50 feet in the air, the birthday boy was getting a little nervous: ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’”

This anecdote was part of a longer interview in which French also described his fleet, the newest addition (a seven-seat Piper Seneca), the quality and expertise of his flight instruction staff, and the things that set his flight school apart from the competition. That’s a lot of great publicity for the flight school that Alpine Flight Training got for free.

Jill W. Tallman is editor of Flight School Business.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.

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