More spectacular than the view of the drive through the Yadkin Valley is the view from above.
Now available thanks to the Elkin Airport and Hi-Tech Helicopters, individuals can view the Yadkin Valley from above by starting with an introductory course flying lesson with Fly the NC Sky and instructor Louis Jeroslow.
Designed to demystify the helicopter while maintaining the magic that is flying, this course starts with approximately 20-30 minutes of instruction including mechanical properties, the physics of why it all works and the safety features. “I want people to feel comfortable when they are flying,” explained Jeroslow whose passion for helicopters was clear. “This may be the only time they ever get into a helicopter. I don’t want them distracted from the experience by fear.”
Jeroslow not only explained the technical details of helicopter flight in an understandable way with drawings that brought his descriptions to life, he also took care to point out the features discussed in the classroom during flight. “We are just going to lift up slowly taking into consideration the differences in our weight and the way the wind is blowing,” informed Jeroslow in a calm soothing voice during lift off after talking through the safety checks that included the purpose of each gage on the panel.
As a brew master for Angry Troll Brewery Jeroslow is very familiar with the practical application of reading gages and making changes according to the information. “I always tell my introductory students, if you want to turn left, just look to the left and the helicopter will go that way. With brewing the beer we are manipulating the chemistry, especially in things like the mash,” explained Jeroslow who also makes wine at Elkin Creek Vineyard. “Very specific and subtle temperature changes can make a huge difference in the finished beer.”
“Operating a control panel [for brewing beer], controlling fermentation temperatures with the wine and the way that I manipulate the controls of the helicopter I can be very, very delicate and finesse-full in how I am effecting the outcome of what’s going to happen and it’s all with that base knowledge of understanding the chemistry and the components of how it will all come together later.”
This is especially true of flying where misreading gages means more than a sour batch of brew. “You are not only entrusted with your own life, but the lives of the people on the ground,” stated Jeroslow. “It’s a tremendous responsibility,” which is why Jeroslow does the class with all his first time fliers and allowing them to become the pilot for part of the flight.
With a control stick for each hand as well as foot pedals governing the motion of the helicopter, introductory students can be thankful Jeroslow’s degree in Aviation Science remains behind most of the mechanisms allowing just enough control to experience the fantasy that is flight.
“Flying helicopters is a magical thing,” alleged Jeroslow. “A helicopter moves in ways that a plane can’t. It makes me sad that $200 is all that keeps people away from feeling that.”
Both terrifying and exhilarating flying a helicopter was a much smoother ride than a rollercoaster, even without the professional pilot. The view of the Yadkin Valley from within is not capable of preparing people for what it looks like from above.
“I have taken people up so they can check out a piece of property,” said Jeroslow who first became a pilot in 2008 and a flight instructor the next year. “You can see things about the geography and geology and such that you just can’t see from the ground.”
The ability to see property from the sky also helps with choosing a vineyard. Jeroslow flew over Jones VonDrehle, McRitchie and Shelton, vineyards exhibiting the reason he hopes to have access to a larger helicopter soon. “Right now I can only take up one person but I hope to get access to a larger helicopter so we can start doing vineyard tours and things like that.”
One of Jeroslow’s helicopter career highlights before coming to Elkin was flying in Las Vegas where tourist flights are popular. “With the Blue Ridge Parkway, Stone Mountain and all the vineyards, this is a great place to fly around and take pictures,” noted Jeroslow.
If the opportunity to pilot a helicopter isn’t intriguing the photographic possibilities alone are enough reason to contact Jeroslow at 336-934-HELI or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to view the Yadkin Valley from above.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.