WAUKESHA — Over a year and a half after the COVID-19 pandemic started, people are still looking for ways to get outside by learning how to fly planes at Spring City Aviation.


Dan Heling, chief flight instructor at the flight school, which operates out of Waukesha County Airport, Timmerman Airport in Milwaukee and Burlington Municipal Airport, said that the school has been thriving since the start of the pandemic last year.

“We saw it right away,” Heling said.

He said when the pandemic started, and after the school shut down for a month because of the COVID-19 lockdowns, people started to look for activities that let them leave their homes safely. For people cooped up in their homes, he said, learning how to fly a plane became the perfect hobby, so the flight school saw tons of new clients.

Experienced pilots, too, Heling said, made use of the downtime caused by a decreased demand for air travel to earn new certifications at the school, which they knew would allow them to get better jobs at airlines once things opened back up.

However, even as COVID19 restrictions decline and airlines are hiring new pilots in anticipation of an increased demand for air travel, he said the school continues to train new pilots every day and expects business to remain great for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t see us downturning,” Heling said.

Heling also noted that the initial decreased demand for commercial pilots presented a unique situation for the school’s flight instructors. He explained that, while usually there’s a lot of turnover among instructors, who work at the school to earn the flight hours and certifications necessary for landing jobs at commercial airlines, that didn’t happen this year.

“We had a stagnant staff,” Heling said.

While some of the school’s instructors are now leaving to pursue commercial jobs, Heling said the school still has plenty of trained pilots and available equipment to ensure anyone who wants to learn how to fly a plane can do so at one of the state’s most well-established schools.

“We have the airplanes,” he said.

Anyone who wants to learn how to fly a plane, earn new certifications or charter one of the school’s aircraft can visit https://springcityaviation.com/ for more information.