Updated: August 27, 2022
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.
I hope you enjoy the wealth of aviation training information available FREE on this web site. You do not have to sign up, or register for anything - just read, enjoy, and learn! HAPPY FLYING!
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. Recently our new content has been mostly a series of biblical lessons on “How God has Revealed Himself to Us.” Below are links to some aviation content, as well as to Lesson 7 in the ministry series.
New Flight Students may start anytime. I am often asked "When can I get started? and "How do I get started?" It may be simpler than you think. First click on the button that says "Getting Started." Also read the info on "Pilot's Licenses" briefly describing the different Licenses and Ratings. And the button "Requirements" is a summary of what preparations you have to take along the way to becoming a Private Pilot. 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.
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. Although many of my students have climbed much higher in the skies, my emphasis has always been on providing the type of flying which is accessible and enjoyable to average people! 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 (2020-21).
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.
This is Caleb VanBuren of Eagle Rock, Virginia, after his first solo flights, at Greenbrier Valley Airport, July 7, 2022. He will be enrolled at Liberty Universary this fall. Congratulations, Caleb!
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 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!
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.
Dr. Justin Douglas soloed September 11, 2020 in this Cessna 172, at Greenbrier Valley Airport, Lewisburg, West Virginia. 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 train ing 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. Since earning his Private Pilo's License, Bob has been flying regularly. Congratulations, Bob, and HAPPY FLYING!
Every year, weather permitting, I try to take part in "Prayer Flight," an organized effort by volunteer pilots on the "National Day of Prayer," to fill the air with prayer over all the State Capitols of the 50 United States of America. We believe all our Freedom is a gift from God, we are "One Nation Under God," and He is the giver and sustainer of Life and Liberty. Prayer Flights are one way we can call attention to these facts, and motivate others to put their personal faith in the Lord. This year I was blessed to have with me Pastor Jonathan Comer from the Lewisburg Baptist Church. Precisely at noon, though the time is not relevant, we were circling West Virginia's beautiful Capitol Building, and praying for our local, state, and National leaders.
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 2021, I celebrated the 45th anniversary of my first flight in a small airplane, and in May 2022 I finished my 38th 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).