Mike Vanderweide's Aviation Page

Yet another page huh? Well, this one is about my adventures in aviation. I started taking lessons at Lakeridge airport in May of 1999 from Empire Aviation. Lakeridge is a small grass strip on the East side of Durham, NC near falls lake. Paul Hesse and Mike Ratty give instruction in private pilot, IFR, and commercial flight. Empire uses two Cessnas like the one seen above. They are small, but a lot of fun to fly. The Cessnas rent for about $50/hr wet, and instruction is $12/hr. They also rent a Cherokee for $60/hr (I think that is right). It takes a minimum of 40 hrs to get your private pilot license with soloing after about 20 hrs. The total to get my license was about $4,000 and it took the whole summer. It will take longer if you take large breaks of time between flying and if you don't spend time working on the book part of it. There is a lot of studying associated with getting your private license. Once you get your license, the minimum you have to do to fly is to take a bi-annual flight test and a tri-annual flight medical exam. To take passengers up, you must have flown in that type of plane making 3 landings within the last 90 days. Most airports require you to get checked out on their planes, but after that, all you have to do is sign up for a plane and go out and fly it. I really can't describe how much fun it is. I have wanted to fly ever since I could say "airplane", and even though I won't make a career out of it, I enjoy it as a hobby and transportation. Right now I am currently working on my instrument rating out there at Lakeridge. An insturment rating, for those of you who don't know, allows you to fly into clouds or low visability weather. If you have any questions, e-mail me at vanderwd@students.uiuc.edu.