Updated: March 17, 2023
Here you'll find TONS OF FREE INFORMATION ON LEARNING TO FLY. You don't have to sign up, or sign in, just explore the many buttons at the top of the page! No pressure! No pop-ups! Just the information you need. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Flying!
IN MAY I FINISHED MY 38th Year as a FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR, and this Website has been on the Internet for 25 YEARS!A quarter of a century is pretty long by Internet standards. We were in Papua New Guinea in 1997 when I became aware that it would be possible to have a continuous presence on the Internet, accessible from anywhere in the world. I obtained this domain name, and began learning the basics of Web design. Much of it was very basic back then, but I soon had this aviation and missionary-based web site active, and set up the email addresses we still use today. About that time we began sending and receiving email, cutting our communicate time from weeks to minutes.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly called "drones," are here to stay. They are the safest and most efficient way to do many things, and new uses are likely to be discovered all the time. Also, they are FUN to fly. However, there are laws concerning drones, and their safe use in the National Airspace System. Be sure your know what is safe and legal BEFORE you fly your drone. A Part 107 License is required for any activity and could be used as a profit-making enterprise, so I recommend getting that license. I am a Part 107 licensee, and would be glad to help others learn from what I've learned so far. Also, you can find some videos about this on our YouTube channel. Our YouTube Channel Portal More drone news will now be included in our aviation material.
Drone Primer PDF Here is a link to a pdf file with four pages regarding getting started with your first drone. Fact is, you can run into some complications and frustrations, but they can be overcome. Many of the problems can be eliminated from the start, with a little knowledge of what to expect, and what to do. This is focused on getting up and flying safely and efficeintly. Answers many questions beginners wonder about.
OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL:Crystal and I have been adding some new content to our YouTube Channel. We have quite a varirty of content, some aviation, Christian music, missionary activities, and product reviews. Earlier this year we presented a series of 10 videos entitled "Seven Way God has Revealed Himself to Us," followed by shorter series focused on basic Bible doctrines, Christian beliefs, and the mission of the Church in the 21st Century. Below are links to some aviation content, as well as a sample of our ministry content.
New Flight Students: We have new flight students starting almost all the time. Flying sort of slows down in the coldest months of winter, but that really doesn't last long. In the meantime you can be doing certain things to enhance your learning experience later. Flying is partly KNOWLEDGE, so you can be working on acquiring the knowledge needed to become a pilot, and utilize the privileges of your license. This web site is a good place to get started. The second row of pictures below is of some recent solo students, and below that a few others who have started flying in recent months. Often I am asked, "How do I start?" It may be simpler than you think. First click on the button that says "Getting Started." After reading that information, call, text, or email me. We can actually have you flying an airplane in the very near future!
We expect our trainees and associates to use common sense, reasonabe precautions, and good hygeine practices regarding the Covid-19 threat.
SPECIAL NOTICE: I have produced an html page of our recent Missionary Newsletters which is uploaded to our server, and should be visible. The new format is more readible, and includes several recent photos. At the top of the page, there is a link to go to the previous newsletter. I believe these will be a blessing and inspiration to you.
Welcome to the wonderful world of flying! My name is David Hersman. I learned to fly right here in the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia, soloed in 1977 at Greenbrier Valley Airport. Since 1984, I have given over 5900 hours of instruction. I have had the privilege of training young people who soloed on their 16th birthday, as well as older folks who just wanted to fulfill a life-long dream. I hope I will soon be sharing the sky with you! This web site is designed to help provide you with a lot of free information about flying, inform you about how FUN it is, and inspire you to get started. You'll love flying!
We have been married over 50 years. Although we were first doing inter-city work in Cincinnati, since 1971, we have been involved in educational mission work in West Virginia, and have spent about 8 of those years in Papua New Guinea as missionaries. We still spend time there doing Educational Leadership Training, and helping to encourage and strenghten the churches. This work usually takes place when it is winter here in the United States, and the weather is not very suitable for flying. The prayers and support of God's people make this ministry possible and fruitful.
Because of the travel restrictions associated with the Coronavirus threat, we do not plan to go to Papua New Guinea this winter (2022-23).
The picture here was taken on our 51st Anniversary, October 4, 2020. We were visiting our son in Canton, Ohio.
David H. Hersman,
Certified Flight Instructor
1458 Henson Road
Clintonville, West Virginia 24931-7158
Phone: (304) 392-2035
Cell - Text: (304) 445-6046, or alternately (304) 661-2534
Here I am at Hinton-Alderson Airport, Pence Springs, West Virginia, several years ago, with a 1941 Taylorcraft in which I was giving the owner instruction at that time. Some of these older airplanes, as well as many new ones, are in the "light sport category," and under some circustances can be flown with less training, and without FAA medical certification.
On December 13, 2021, I flew my 7000th flight hour, and a couple days later my 5800th hour as a flight instructor. My son Kent, who has retired from a 20-year career as a military pilot, came over from Kentucky to fly with me for this milestone. After we flew this 7000th hour, I flew with two of my grandsons, Kelton and Jonathan. I praise the Lord for blessing me with so many years and hours of safe flying.
One of our friends, and my wife's piano student, Leanna Allgyer, just turned 13, and I took her for her first airplane ride as a birthday gift. She really enjoyed her first flight, and told her family she wants to become a pilot someday. I try to make such flights an exciting learning experience. Also, I try to promote the type of flying that is reasonably accessible to average people. HAPPY FLYING, LEANNA! I hope we can fly again before too long. :)
The I-Fly 740b GPS is one of the most reliable and intuative navigation devices I have ever used. Many pieces of equipment costing 3 or 4 times as much are more cumbersome to use. This screen shot actually shows the path of the flight I flew with Leanna (previous picture). It shows circles around a couple houses, including hers, and a traffic pattern and landing at Hinton-Alderson Airport at Pence Springs (WV77).
Pictured is Stephen Caldwell, right, after his first solo flights at Greenbrier Valley Airport, Lewisburg, West Virginia, November 24, 2021. His instructor, David Hersman, is on the left. The first part of a students flight training is focused on preparation for solo flight. After solo, one of the major goals is to build several hours of local solo time, and then receive more training in preparation for cross-country flying. For training purposes a cross-country flight is a flight with a landing at least 50 nautical miles from your departure point.
This is Joshua Craig, of Greenville, West Virginia after his first solo flights on November 10, 2021. Every month of the year usually grants us some beautiful flying weather. Congratulations, Joshua, and Happy Flying!
Joshua also recently completed his training, and is now a Game Warden.
Michael Gwinn is the son of John W. Gwinn and Ruth Tolley Gwinn. Ruth Gwinn taught me to fly in the 1970s. John Gwinn was the first manager of the Greenbrier Valley Airport, and always an encourgaement to me in my flying pursuits. Both were faithful supporters of "grass roots" avaition. This short YouTube video relates to Mike's induction into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame. Though retired from the military, Mike Gwinn continues to serve his country and the aviation community as a flight instructor, manager of Hinton-Alderson Airport, and Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). We are honored to have such a dedicated man as part of our local aviation community.
Dr. Justin Douglas soloed September 11, 2020 in this Cessna 172, at Greenbrier Valley Airport, Lewisburg, West Virginia. He completed his Private Pilot training in September 2022. After gaining a few hours of local solo experience, we work on "dual cross-country" flights, then the trainee usually does three or four solo cross-countries. For initial training purposes, a cross-country flight is a flight with a landing at least 50 nautical miles from the departure point. Each succesive cross-coutry solo is a little longer than the previous one as students fine-tune their navigation skills.
Bob Neff soloed in October 2020, and took passed his Private Pilot Practical Test on December 3, 2021. Bob actually began flying about 40 years ago at White Sulphur Springs, and did his initial solo flights under the intruction of the late legendary pilot Oscar Tate, who began operating there, adjacent to the Greenbrier Hotel, in about 1936. Congratulations, Bob, and HAPPY FLYING!
This is Caleb VanBuren of Eagle Rock, Virginia, after his first solo flights, at Greenbrier Valley Airport, July 7, 2022. After accumulatiing several hours of locaal solo time, and additional instruction, he is now working on his solo cross-country flights. He will be enrolled at Liberty Universary in January. Congratulations, Caleb!
Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) recently held a luncheon in to honor three of their associates and employees. I was one of the recipients, commemorated for my long service as a Flight Instructor at that airport, over 38 years. I soloed at LWB in 1977, and have given instruction there since 1984. Also included was the Lewisburg Tower chief, Tabatha Malott, and John Dowdy, who has been an Air Traffic Controller there since 1985. He was the second person I soloed, in 1985. See Solo Archives.
This is Henry Tilley during his second flying lesson. The first part of your training is aimed at acquiring knowledge and proficiency for your first solo flights. The amount of time varies from one person to another, and is influenced by the weather, how often you can fly, etc. but is usually in the area of 15 to 20 hours. Certain elements of training are required to be included, partly knowledge, partly skill, and partly good judgment. Henry soloed December 30, 2020, and will soon be doing his cross-country instruction.
Joelle Heilemann is beaming with joy after her very first solo flights, April 7, 2021. The first 15 to 20 hours of training are usually focused on basic flight skill in prepartion for solo flight. After a person soloes, the next step is to gain a few hours of local experience to further develop their flying skills, as well as knowledge, understanding, and wisdom (putting good judgment into practice). They still fly part of the time with their instructor, according to individual needs, weather conditions, and preparation for cross-country flights.
Jackson Croy is enjoying his first flying lesson. We flew from Lewisburg, West Virginia to Beckley, and return. This type of flight allows a new trainee to go through the same start up, taxi, take-off, approach, and landing routine twice, helps him get aquainted with the sensations of flight, and to experience how fast an airplane can go from one point to another. He also began getting familiar with the use of the controls, and how to interpret the information shown on the flight instruments.
NEW PRIVATE PILOT: George MacKinnon is shown with Flight Examiner Don Judy after his Private Pilot Practical Test October 14, 2017, at Elkins, West Virginia. The airplane is a Diamond DA-20-C. Sadly, George passed away the following August, but I am honored to have had the privilege to help him see this dream come true.
In aviation, a "cross-country" flight doesn't mean you literally fly across the nation, but any flight with a landing at least 50 nautical miles (about 57.5 statute miles) from your departure point is called a "cross-country flight" for training purposes, and for the logging of flight time. Even a relatively slow airplane, travelling about 100 miles per hour, can take you pretty far from your "familiar stomping grounds" in an hour or two - in a straight line. Normally, such airplanes may get you to a destination about 300-400 miles away in about one-third of the time required on the road.
Some of my flight students, including Harry Humphreys, pictured below, have participated with me in the Annual Prayer Flights over the state Capitols. The goal is to call attention to America's Christian Heritage, and seek God's mercy, guidance, and restoration to this great Land.
This is the State Capitol of West Virginia at Charleston. Also included is a picture of Harry and I at the Yeager Airport (CRW) at Charleston.
In April this year, I celebrated the 45th anniversary of my first flight in a small airplane, and in May 2021, I will finish my 37th year as a Flight Instructor. In 1976, I flew this 1946 Piper Cub with a retired flight instructor, Tate Mauzy. Click on the HISTORY button above for more information on the History of Eagles' Wings.
Below I am pictured with 6 of my students, or former ones I had taught to fly, left to right, Harry Humphreys, Adam Haymond, Andrew Dowdy, son of John at far right, Ben Hersman, David Hersman, Bob Jagodzinski, and John Dowdy.
They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31).