Las Vegas is the place where bucket-list dreams come true. From sunrise hot-air balloon rides over the desert to high-speed motor vehicle thrills, if you can dream it, you can live it. For those who have fantasized about flying over Vegas, a unique Vegas-based flight school will have you aloft and navigating in less than one hour.

All-In Aviation is an innovative flight school that offers the ultimate in hands-on lessons. This is no 3D simulation or stuffy classroom experience. In one self-contained session, you'll take the pilot's seat of a Cirrus aircraft, radio the control tower for clearance and rise high into the skies.

It's important to stress that All-In Aviation is not a tour service but an actual, functioning school. They offer a variety of professional services from recurrent and emergency training to commercial pilot instruction. AIA is the only Cirrus Aircraft training partner in southern Nevada. Planes are available for hourly rental to qualified pilots and their AIA Club provides special discounts and VIP Concierge Service to members. 

The only way to truly appreciate what AIA offers is to schedule a lesson for yourself. They have two locations - one at North Las Vegas Airport and another in Henderson that will soon move into a large new facility. This writer visited the Henderson Executive Airport office where I met with President and pilot/instructor Paul Sallach. Mr. Sallach led me through each step of the personalized flight from greeting to farewell.

The Cirrus line is the bestselling brand of private planes on the market. Built of lightweight composite material with large glass windscreens, Garmin navigation, plush leather seats and air-conditioned cabins, the Cirrus are as comfortable as they are safe. What makes them especially unique is that each plane is equipped with a parachute that can lower it back to land after an unexpected mishap or emergency. 

My adventure began at the hangar, with Mr. Sallach taking me through the pre-flight checklist. We examined the fuel and oil levels, checked the flaps and ailerons, and confirmed that the electrical, navigation and communication systems were operating within parameters. Then, the real excitement began.

All In Aviation Take-off from Sam on Vimeo.



Mr. Sallach explained the letters and numbers of the plane and runways, how other traffic figured into our flight path and coached my radio communications with the control tower. Within minutes, we were cleared for take-off and accelerating down the runway towards a smooth, thrilling ascent.

My instructor was always monitoring my movements and manning a second set of controls in the adjacent seat. Once we flew over the Henderson area, beyond a ridge of mountains and towards Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, my confidence grew and I was able to enjoy the stunning sights below and around us.

My two backseat passengers recorded the take-off and subsequent landing on their cellphones (there is no additional charge for a companion or two to join you), and you'll be able to snap some selfies and scenic shots of your own. A camera mounted inside the cabin will record everything in high definition for a permanent keepsake of your journey.

Once we passed Lake Mead and flew into the open desert, I was encouraged to "open her up" and attempt some daring lifts, dives and tilts. The Cirrus is almost goof-proof, allowing such maneuvers to be made with relative ease. The on-board navigation system functions much like those on newer automobiles. Automatic leveling, speed and altitude controls ensure you won't push things too far. If you can drive a car, you can try this plane.

All In Aviation Landing from Sam on Vimeo.

Soon it was time to turn around and head back to the airport. We received our landing instructions and Mr. Sallach assisted me in bringing the plane to a picture-perfect landing. Then it was back to the office to receive a certificate representing my official entry in the company's flight log.

The entire All-In experience lasted under two hours, but it's one that this "pilot" will never forget.

For more information or to schedule your flight, call 702.255.4622 or visit allinaviation.com.