North Georgia Aviation, located at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, is working to get new pilots ready for recreational and commercial flying.
Bud DeWayne, owner of North Georgia Aviation, said the company first got its wings off the ground in Oct. 2020. Since its debut, DeWayne said North Georgia Aviation's client base has grown quickly.
"I started this whole concept out as an independent flight instructor, and realized that there was a void here in Gainesville on being able to train the local pilots," DeWayne said. "As time went on, it became pretty apparent that it wasn't just the local pilots that had a need, but there were also people that were coming in from Gainesville, that wanted to learn how to fly, they didn't have their own airplane."
DeWayne said the realization of this void in the region led to the creation of North Georgia Aviation.
The school takes clients from all walks of life, including those who have never even touched a plane, according to DeWayne.
"We can kind of do the zero to hero concept," DeWayne said. "We can have somebody come in that's never touched an airplane in their life, and we can teach them from that moment right there all the way to becoming a full-on flight instructor and working on their hours to become an airline pilot."
The process of stepping into the pilot's seat for the first time at North Georgia Aviation does not take long at all. In fact, DeWayne said new clients are immediately put in the pilot's seat for what he called a "discovery flight."
"You're the one taking off, you're the one climbing out and going over Lake Lanier, learning how to turn the airplane, learning how to keep it level and how to climb and descend and just start with the basics," DeWayne said.
If an interested pilot finishes up their discovery flight and finds that they enjoyed the experience, they then begin their formal training process at the school.
DeWayne said practically anybody can get into aviation, including those who do not have good eyesight.
"As long as you can correct your vision to 20/20, no problem," DeWayne said. "As long as they are genuinely just a healthy individual, they can fly the airplane no problem. We actually have people that can't qualify for the medical, but they still want to fly. So we'll provide services where we will sit in the right seat and allow them to partake in the freedom of flight."
Gainesville was the perfect spot to start up a flight school, according to DeWayne. While he said he does love the city itself, Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport is a perfect training ground for new pilots.
"We're an uncontrolled airfield, so that gives ... us pilots the control of the airfield," DeWayne said. "We're able to work more efficiently in that regard, which allows for more time in the air with the students. It gives them better efficiency of training."
To learn more about North Georgia Aviation and the courses they offer, visit their website.