Carolina Flights brings helicopter service to Lexington County
Lexington, SC (Angelica Iglesias) – Carolina Flights is a new all-service helicopter business serving the Midlands. They currently offer flight training and will soon offer rides, tours and even services like security for special events.
Many people in Lexington County might not know they just gained a helicopter service, but they might know the men behind the business. Clifford Fisher III and Clifford Fisher IV of Owens-Fisher Construction started the helicopter service after Fisher IV learned how to fly about a year ago which sparked Clifford III back up after he stopped flying in the 1970s. They decided to buy a Robison R44, give it a paint job with their Carolina Flights logo on it, and hire a full-time pilot named Dylan.
“I took a ride at the [Lake Murray] Poker Run, and I was hooked,” said Fisher IV. The company only currently offers training services, while they work on getting their tourism license. After, they will be able to offer just about any service. Fisher IV recently got married, and he and his new bride flew off in the helicopter. This is something that would be available to newlyweds with the tourism license.
“Helicopters are more convenient but about three or four times harder than driving a plane,” said Dylan, who also knows how to fly planes, about the differences of planes and helicopters. Helicopters need a lot less space to land and take off. But Dylan says flying a plane is more procedural, while a helicopter is more physical and about the feel of what the pilot thinks. This can be a lot harder for people to learn. It took Fisher IV a year and a half to completely learn how to fly a helicopter which is pretty standard.
If you take flight lessons with Carolina Flights, they will likely be with Dylan who has over 10 years in professional flight experience. His longest trip was from Charleston to Key West, FL. Dylan has done tourism rides at events like the South Carolina State Fair where he can do 200 rides in one day. He says a helicopter like a Robinson R44 can fly approximately 300 miles on a full tank of AV gas and can cut most driving times into at least half while flying 500 feet in the air.
Carolina Flights currently has one helicopter but are expanding soon. They plan to buy out a company in Charleston giving them several more helicopters and opportunities to hire more pilots and provide more than one service at a time.
Flight training currently costs $495 for one hour with an instructor or $4500 for 10 hours with an instructor. To get a helicopter license, pilots must fly at least 20 hours with an instructor and 20 hours solo, but many people need more time to feel comfortable taking their practical test.