WEIRTON - One local resident decided to take action to follow his dreams after a childhood fascination led him down the path to become a pilot.
Jefferson County Airport pilot Phillip Bender talked to the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights about flying as a private pilot in the area. He said he was always fascinated with flying, and after focusing on what he wanted to do, he had his pilot's license in less than four months and never looked back.
Bender said he worked for the Ohio State Police for some time where he built up experience and gained knowledge of flight through a number of aviators.
FOCUS ON FLYING — Jefferson County Airport pilot Phillip Bender explained to the Rotary Club of Weirton Heights on Tuesday how private flights work, along with air ambulance flights for those with medical conditions who cannot fly commercial airlines. -- Angelina Dickson
He said after finishing up with the state police, he decided to come back to the area and start Air Blue Services. He said it is a private airplane service that also helps with individuals who cannot fly commercial flights because of medical conditions.
"We've purchased a Cessna 208 and we're working on making it a solid venture," he said. "Success comes in cans not can'ts."
Another thing Bender said he does is fly planes owned by other individuals. He said if someone owns their own plane it can cut down on the cost of traveling by air, but private flights, he said, are still costly. He said private flights can range from $250 an hour to $4,000 per trip depending on where the flight is going.
While in the area, he said he helps with flight photography and testing equipment as well as flight instruction.
Bender said the best part of being a pilot is that he's never really had a job. He said he's loved flying since he was a child and he couldn't imagine doing anything else.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)