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Aug 06 2010

Flying with Coastal Aviation

BY MEREDITH POWELL

Do you have a “bucket list” of things you’d like to do before entering the Great Beyond? I know I do, which might be silly considering I’m 22-years-old, but it sure is exciting when you are able to cross off one of the activities.

Flying a plane was one of those things that I actually decided to erase a couple of months ago because I thought it was absurd to think I would ever have the chance to do it. Then I met Shaun Grantham, General Manager and Certified Flight Instructor at Coastal Aviation at the Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island.

Coastal Aviation is about more than just flight instruction; they also offer aircraft brokering, charter flights, aircraft rental, scenic photo flights and local tour flights. Before joining Coastal Aviation, Grantham worked in Hawaii, taking visitors up and over erupting volcanoes.

After a short tour of their two-story office complete with an instruction room and lounge, Grantham led me out to the runway. We were set to fly in the 2002 Cessna 172, a small personal craft which holds four passengers and has an amazing 360 degree view. Once inside and buckled, he taught me everything I needed to know for what was about to come next: take-off.

Pushing in the throttle and watching our elevation climb to one thousand feet was definitely an adrenaline rush, but once I took a glance out of the window, it was pure bliss. We flew over Kiawah Island, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and the open ocean, with the plane flying low enough that we could spot common landmarks such as the Ravenel Bridge from an entirely new and spectacular angle.

Along with the amazing views, the sun was shining and there was little turbulence. Being in a smaller plane certainly gives “up close and personal” a whole new meaning when it comes to sightseeing.

After doing my best to take in all of the beautiful surroundings, it was time to return to the runway. We had to let the other planes know our course of action, so Grantham told me to warn them over the radio. Landing was equally as smooth as flying, even with my amateur skills, thanks to Grantham’s professional assistance.

Not only was I able to witness a bird’s eye view of all of Charleston on this flight, but I was also able to learn a new skill!

For more info or to reserve your own historic tour over Charleston, call Shaun Grantham at 559-6155. Watch some of my experience on video on our website: www.islandconnectionnews. com.

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