“I was born looking up,” said Holcombe. “I was always fascinated with airplanes and actually had my head in the clouds looking for all the different types of airplanes.”
Holcombe said that he fulfilled those dreams of aviation when he first began flying in 1985.
“When I was sixteen,” he said, “I went to work, saving every dime from [my] job painting houses to pay for flying lessons.”
That passion for aviation has stuck with Holcombe for the 25 years since he first sat in a cockpit, he said.
“Flying is more than a love for me- it’s a passion. It’s a passion that some don’t understand. There is an aviation proverb… [that] describes me with aviation perfectly. ‘When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return.’”
Holcombe said that his love affair with aviation has taken him to General Aviation and to Delta Airlines, and now to Henderson Aviation in Calhoun as a flight instructor.
The appeal of instructing aviation to students, said Holcombe, is watching his students fall in love with flight.
“It is my job to keep you, the student, interested in what it is I am trying to teach,” he said. “If I can make flying exciting to the student, I think my students will discover and fall in love with same things that I fell in love with about aviation.”
Holcombe’s first summer at Henderson Aviation has proven fruitful, he said; he already has two students, and is anticipating more.
Taking flight lessons in Calhoun has its benefits, he said, as opposed to lessons in the metropolitan area.
“Calhoun airspace is not controlled,” he said, “so you don’t waste as much time working around that red tape, and therefore we can offer cheaper lessons.”
“We can work around a student’s needs,” said Holcombe. “We want to know what a student wants to do with flying- every student is different, and we’re prepared to handle that.”
Holcombe said that his students get the benefits of learning in a structured environment at a small-town price.
“Our current program is $8,000 for 60 hours.” he said. “Prices at larger schools can range up to $20,000, and you’re not going to get this much personalized instruction at a larger school.”
Outside of the metro-Atlanta area, said Holcombe, flight students can get more one-on-one instruction.
“This is fast-paced instruction,” he said. “It’s personalized… we tailor instruction to the strengths and weaknesses of each student. Here it’s all about the love of flight, about a sense of fun. And when you go to a lot of these big places, you lose that sense of fun.”
Holcombe mentioned that he is running a special in conjunction with summer flight experience.
“I’m offering a free pilots log book and ½ hour of ground instruction when [you] fly with [me] for a one hour orientation flight,” he said. “Orientation flights cost $160.00 for one hour. This will make a great gift idea and can also be put into a gift certificate.”
Where flight instruction will take him, Holcombe said, he does not know. But, he said, he is sure of his love of flight.
“I have heard it said that flying is more addictive that drugs,” he said. “I do not know about the drugs, but I know that I am addicted to flying.”
by Sarah Welty. Calhoun Times