Auburn local gives free flight lessons to children interested in aviation as a means of paying it forward.
Casey Long, owner, pilot and guide of Airventures Alaska, took a ride more than 25 years ago that changed his life.
After a trip in a friend’s private airplane and some influence from an uncle that flew, he received his private pilot’s license in 1987.
“From my first ride, I was hooked,” Long said. “Bush flying became my love.”
This prompted him to give away three half hour classes on the Pay it Forward in Auburn Facebook page.
“My hope was to give young people the chance to discover the joys of flying,” Long said. “It felt really good giving back.”
He said two of the three children have already signed up for ground training to get their pilot’s licenses.
Melina Loomis’s son, Jeremy, was a recipient of one of the free lessons.
“Casey Long is a truly a wonderful person,” Loomis said. “He was so fun and comforting for both of us. He truly made the whole thing one of the best days of our life.”
She said Jeremy has not stopped talking about it yet.
“It was the most calm and focused I have ever seen him,” Loomis said.
Long has logged over 5,500 hours of flying time and is a Federal Aviation Administration Airline Transport Pilot.
“I don’t like flying the big planes and such high elevations, even though you earn more money,” Long said. “There is more to being rich than having money; it is the lifestyle.”
He said general aviation is the stepping stone to becoming a commercial pilot and it is dying.
Long grew up in Auburn, graduated from Placer High School and went on to get a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology.
He lives in Alaska, but spends winter here in Auburn.
For lessons or scenic flights call Casey Long at (907) 631-3377 or visit airventuresalaska.com