Pilot an airplane with Squamish's Sea to Sky Air

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      Anyone who’s driven Highway 99 from Squamish to Whistler doesn’t need to be told how beautiful the scenery is. The Sea-to-Sky corridor is full of spectacular sights, including Britannia Beach, the Stawamus Chief, and Shannon Falls Provincial Park.

      But according to Eric Lightfoot, base manager of Sea to Sky Air, the view from the ground is nothing compared to taking the controls of a Cessna 172 and flying above the Cheakamus Canyon and the many alpine lakes in the area.

      “The perspective that people get from driving the highway is gorgeous,” Lightfoot told the Georgia Straight by phone from his office in Squamish. “Driving the 99 is something everybody takes a lot of pride in. But as soon as you lift yourself up a few thousand feet, you get to see how the terrain is put together. And it’s quite dramatic.”

      If you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift this month, you might want to consider the company’s introductory flight experience. Costing $199, it enables Pops to go on a 30-minute ride over the region while steering the plane.

      That’s because the plane is equipped with two sets of controls.

      “You have a qualified pilot sitting right next to you with his very own set of controls,” Lightfoot explained.

      It’s possible to tack on an extra 20 minutes of flying for an additional $99. And family members can sit in the back seat for $50 each. Sea to Sky Air won’t force its customers to take any tests or obtain a certain grade in order to fly. According to Lightfoot, it’s all about having fun and enjoying some awesome sightseeing.

      Consider it one of those bucket-list things to do.

      “Picture that you’ve had a really lovely lunch at one of the fine places in Squamish,” he said. “The next thing you’re doing is you’re going to the airport to say hi to the Sea to Sky Air guys and going for an intro flight. You might want to have a camera. You might want to have some sunglasses. You don’t have to do anything other than that.”

      A blind, autistic 67-year-old man, Patrick O’Neill, recently flew a Cessna 172 out of a Kamloops flight school with the help of a pilot. This came about after he created a bucket list with the assistance of the Centre for Seniors Information in the city.

      According to Kamloops This Week, he was encouraged to do this by Selina and Kevin Olsen, who are with the Home Sharing Program. O’Neill is reportedly considering flying a floatplane in the future.

      Lightfoot emphasized that there are no prerequisites and no skill-testing questions to go on one of Sea to Sky Air’s introductory flights.

      “Everybody goes away having learned something and experiencing something new,” he said.