BY MARLA BALLARD
FORT PAYNE, ALA - "Up, up, and away" and "Off into the wild blue yonder" are
both fitting expressions for what John Nelson does for work. Nelson is a
flight instructor at Isbell Field - 4A9 Airport in Fort Payne.
Isbell Field is a city-owned public-use airport located by air two nautical
miles north of the central business district of Fort Payne. By land the
airport is located at 2200 Terminal Drive NW.
Nelson, a retired firefighter and has been teaching flight instruction for
the past four years. However, his love of flying started with hang gliding
back in the 90s. "My interest in hang gliding led to powered flight craft
and I initially just flew for recreation," said Nelson. "It's definitely not
a cheap hobby, but it is addictive."
When Nelson teaches, he uses a Cessna 182 - four seater. According to
planeandpilotmag.com, "The 182 has been in production since 1956 and is
arguably the most sought-after used plane in the marketplace. It seems like
everybody is looking for a good 182."
Nelson does not teach instrumentation instruction, students desiring to
advance to this stage of learning take this course from a different
instructor at Isbell field, after learning the basics.
"I'd like to encourage those who think they might be interested in flying to
try our commitment-free discovery flight lesson," said Nelson. For $255 an
hour of instruction can be purchased, it is the perfect no-clutter gift.
The minimum required to receive a private pilot's license is 40 hours. Most
students fly solo much sooner than 40 hours and there is no minimum number
of hours required, but is determined by the flight instructor.
A written test must be taken and a pilot must pass a medical examination
before being permitted to fly solo. Written exams are given in Madison, AL
and Rome, GA. Those as young as age 16 may quality to fly solo.
Nelson typically teaches six to seven students each week. For more
information call John Nelson 256-393-8268 or Isbell Field 256-845-9129.
"The lure of flying is the lure of beauty." ~ Amelia Earhart.