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Episode 028

Race City Flight Operations

Lake Norman Airport’s FBO and Flight Training Headquarters

by | Oct 20, 2020

Show Notes:

Welcome Race City Flight Operations to the podcast! Race City Flight Ops is the fixed base operator (FBO) and flight school at Lake Norman Airport in Mooresville. Owner, manager, and flight instructor Patrick Lofvenholm joins us for a conversation about the history of the airport, his acquisition of Race City Flight Ops, and the many services they offer at the airport. It’s a high-flying episode 28 of The Best of LKN podcast – enjoy!

From the Race City Flight Operations website:

“If you’ve ever dreamed about true freedom, you’ll find becoming a pilot a dream-come-true. Flying removes boundaries; extends horizons. It brings you closer to the ones you love, and the places you like to be. Most important, being a pilot is a great adventure and like anything truly worthwhile, it is a journey.

The journey begins at Race City Flight Operations, the premiere flight school located conveniently in Mooresville, NC at the Lake Norman Airpark. You will learn in a friendly, comfortable atmosphere with knowledgeable, instructors who have a passion to teach.”

http://www.racecityfo.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RaceCityFO
https://www.instagram.com/racecityfo/

Lake Norman Airport 14 A
149 Yeager Road
Mooresville, NC 28117

Local businesses mentioned in this episode:

The Heavenly Hoagie     http://theheavenlyhoagie.com/

PicNik’s     https://picniks.net/

First Impressions Embroidery  http://firstimpressionsnc.net/

Books recommended:

Flying South: A Pilot’s Inner Journey, by Barbara Cushman Rowell https://amzn.to/34dmhCR

Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines Into Chaos, by Thomas Petzinger Jr. https://amzn.to/2TlB4oZ

Nuts!: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, by Kevin Freiberg https://amzn.to/3k88OBP

(We may receive a monetary commission if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links. The Best of LKN is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.)

Transcript:

Jeff (Host):

Hi friends, welcome back to the podcast. I have a great guest with a really cool business here in Lake Norman in this episode, his name is Patrick Lofvenholm. He is the owner, manager, and a flight instructor with Race City Flight Operations, the fixed base operator, or FBO, at Lake Norman Airport. Patrick, welcome to the podcast.

Patrick:

Hey, good morning, Jeff, thanks for having us.

Jeff (Host):

Glad to have you on. Being kind of an aviation fanatic myself, I’ve been looking forward to this interview and getting you on the podcast. Patrick, before we get into details about Race City Flight Operations, everything that your company offers there at Lake Norman Airport, tell the listeners a brief bio on yourself, your background, your career prior to taking over Race City Flight Operations.

Patrick:

Yeah, sure. So I was raised by aviation and entrepreneur parents, so I’ve always kind of had aviation and the entrepreneur bug in my blood. I’m a mechanical engineer from NC State, which then started my flying career. I got sucked into the rabbit hole. I went to work corporate, got my MBA. Then I was blessed in February 2018 to switch from mechanical engineering and just refocus what I wanted to do in life, and just became a full-time flight instructor out here at Lake Norman.

Patrick:

I was out here for a couple of months, and then all of a sudden I was given the opportunity to take over the operation in November. So I took over in November 2018, and actually just a few months before that I had started airplane mechanic school up in Greensboro. So I was basically 24/7 aviation, just mechanicing and then flight instructing. It was just awesome.

Jeff (Host):

And now into the management side as well.

Patrick:

Right.

Jeff (Host):

Definitely, I can see how you’re burning the candle at both ends with that. So you took over Race City Flight Operations in November of 2018.

Patrick:

That’s correct, yeah.

Jeff (Host):

Lake Norman Airport is a really cool airport. It’s unique in the area. It is literally on the lake. You take off and land over the water, and it’s in Mooresville, just a little bit North of 150 there.

Patrick:

Just off of Perth.

Jeff (Host):

Off of Perth. Give the listeners a little bit of the history of the airport itself. When was that airport founded or built, and any details on the history of the airport that you could share?

Patrick:

Yeah, absolutely. It is a really neat little airport, kind of tucked away, you can’t even see it off of Perth. There’s one little County sign that says airport. I think back in the ’60s, I want to say Dr. Tom Wilson, I forget his exact name, but it was a doctor, he bought this land, made a runway, and he made it like a little airport or air park flying community.

Patrick:

As of today, I think we have 51 houses that have hangars attached to them on the runway, or on the airport, and that’s on the homeowner side. And then on the commercial side of the airport, we have six hangars down here with various business operations, hangar tenants, maintenance, fuel, that kind of thing.

Patrick:

So us on the commercial side, our only tie is basically a spot to put our airplane, right? But the homeowners actually own the runway and they have an HOA and a board and that kind of thing. The commercial folks, we have a seat on the board, so I mean, we get to voice our opinion and that kind of thing, vote in what we’re going to do with the airport improvements, that kind of thing.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, I actually forgot about that. I’ve been to the airport a few times. And you’re right, it is tucked away off of Perth, you can’t actually see the runway from Perth, you just take a left there and around the corner. But I forgot that there’s a residential component to the airport as well, some beautiful homes with hangars attached and they taxi right from their house to the runway, right?

Patrick:

Literally, yep.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah.

Patrick:

Some of the houses have, maybe the hangar’s not attached, but yeah, they have a little covered walkway and you go from your house to your hangar. It’s pretty awesome.

Jeff (Host):

It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Patrick:

Nope, it’s pretty awesome.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. Very cool. Let’s talk a little bit about Race City Flight Operations. I’m familiar with some of what you guys do there, from an FBO standpoint and the offering flight training and so forth. But let’s go through basically the services, what the FBO does at the airport, and then some of the… let’s definitely talk a lot about your flight instruction and flight training opportunities there as well.

Patrick:

Yeah. So Race City Flight Operations, we kind of have a unique position, right, where we’re in Lake Norman. So you get access to the Charlotte area, but we’re not Downtown Charlotte, right? So we get actually a lot of visitors, this is on the fixed base operator side. We get a lot of visitors from Michigan, New York, Florida.

Patrick:

When they come flying in, we are literally the red carpet, the first smiling face that they get to see when they step out of that aircraft for… We get business deals and business owners and construction companies flying in here, and they’re pumping money into the Mooresville, Lake Norman area. And they do that through our airport.

Patrick:

We can handle small aircraft, but no big jets or anything like that. So if it’s a NASCAR team or some big celebrity, they typically go to like a Concord or Statesville, but for the folks that are doing and bringing in the CEO or the one person sort of a team, then they come in here to Lake Norman.

Patrick:

So on the FBO side, we have hangar space, we provide fuel. We’ll talk about that a little later because we made a significant investment this summer in a self-serve fuel pump. And then we also have hangar space, right? So people in the area that own their own hangar or their own airplane, then we store that airplane for them. Anything else I’m missing on the FBO side?

Jeff (Host):

No, but I’m curious how many aircraft can you accommodate in your hangar space? How much space is there?

Patrick:

So we’ve got two hangars. We expanded to a second hangar last November, so we’ve got eight airplanes in that hangar and we can fit another seven or eight in our first hangar.

Jeff (Host):

Are you generally at capacity? I know that oftentimes there’s a waiting list, right?

Patrick:

Yeah, here in Charlotte, there are no new airports going in. And back in March an airport actually closed, so that brought a couple more folks up our direction.

Jeff (Host):

Oh wow. Which airport was that?

Patrick:

Wilgrove.

Jeff (Host):

Oh yeah.

Patrick:

Down Matthews area.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. Traveling around 485 in the Matthews area, I used to see the airplanes low on their approach or a departure out of the out of Wilgrove. I didn’t realize they had closed. Yeah, I can see too, a lot of private aircraft owners would want to avoid all the air traffic, all the congested air traffic around Charlotte.

Jeff (Host):

And of course to probably Charlotte, Douglas probably has really high landing fees and it’s probably not a very easy airport for a small guy to get in and out of, so I could see why the appeal of Lake Norman Airport would attract a lot of small aircraft business people. How large of an aircraft can get in and out of the airport? Would a small turbine be able to get in and out?

Patrick:

Yep. We’ve actually had a King Air 250 land here. A couple of folks flew up from Georgia to look at a car they were going to buy, and they brought in a King Air. But otherwise we routinely bring Pilatus’ in. We have some folks that fly in from Florida and all over in a Pilatus. It’s a little tight for them, but plenty of space.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. So for listeners that may not be familiar, the King Air and the Pilatus, they seat, what, about 10, 12 people. Eight to 12, depending on the configuration.

Patrick:

Yeah. So that King Air that came in I think had eight seats in it.

Jeff (Host):

Okay. Yeah, very cool. So if they brought a King Air up to look at a car, it’s probably a pretty pricey car.

Patrick:

I would think so, yeah.

Jeff (Host):

There’s a lot of really cool automotive stuff going on, obviously, in the Lake Norman area, between Detroit Speed and all the other custom car fabricators, and anyone who follows Barrett-Jackson knows how much these cars are fetching at the auction, so I can understand why they would take a private plane up to take a look at it. That’s super cool.

Jeff (Host):

Let’s talk a little bit about… Well, actually, let’s talk a lot about the flight instruction. That’s the part of the business that just interests me the most. Tell listeners a little bit about the types of flight instruction that you offer there, a little bit about your team of instructors, and how somebody can get started in the flight training.

Patrick:

Sure. So yeah, on the flight instruction side, I mean we’re tapping into people’s curiosity, right, when you’re just looking up and you see an airplane. And it’s that kind of sense of wonder and enjoyment, like you said, every takeoff we’re out over the lake, right?

Patrick:

So we offer discovery flights for those folks that don’t know what a small airplane is going to feel like when you’re flying, or the folks that want to start learning how to fly, we say, “Okay, 129 bucks, let’s do a discovery flight. We’ll take you around the lake for a quick hour or so.” Literally, 30 seconds into the flight, you’re taking off and all you see around you is Lake Norman, Downtown Charlotte, and you start seeing the North Carolina Mountains if it’s a nice clear day. So it’s pretty amazing.

Patrick:

And then on the flight instruction side, we can take you from you’re just interested in learning how to fly and it’s just been a lifetime goal, to the folks that want to go to the airlines, we can take you from zero to hero, as the saying is. Instrument training, commercial training, all that stuff. We do the ground school classroom training as well. So, I mean, it’s pretty awesome what we’ve built up here.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. I’m looking forward to following up with you about a discovery flight there at Lake Norman airport. I bet that’s really cool to take off and land over the lake and see the sites around Lake Norman, that’d be a lot of fun.

Patrick:

Oh yeah.

Jeff (Host):

How many instructors do you have?

Patrick:

So right now we’ve got seven or eight full-time, part-time contractor mixed, so they kind of come in. I mean, it’s great, they set their own schedule with their students and it really… Flying is pretty intense, so in the beginning we like one student to one instructor, so that way they kind of form that bond. But you see friendships form and relationships where they…

Patrick:

I mean, some of the instructors, I can just see them just playing antics with their students and that kind of thing. On the ground, obviously, but it’s just fun when they’re done with a flight you come in and everyone’s smiling and having a great time, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And the flight instruction side, has it been fairly steady, pretty busy? I know that there’s a lot of back and forth about whether or not there’s a pilot shortage in the commercial, on the airline side, but it seems like flight schools have been fairly busy over the last several years.

Patrick:

Yeah, absolutely. In the almost two years that I’ve been managing Race City, we’ve definitely seen the pilot shortage, and a lot of people interested in the airline route are also making a switch, like a career change from the office to changing your office view to the airplane. Obviously with COVID this year, it changed things, but the interest is still there, where the people that want to make that change are trying to use this work from home downtime to get everything in place so that they can get their training out of the way.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, that makes sense. One thing about 2020, amid made all the challenges that we’ve had, especially with small business owners, it has given us an opportunity to work on a lot of things that may have been in our queue for a long time that we kept putting off. I know I’ve done a lot of that this year, a lot of my guests on the podcast have shared that they’ve experienced the same thing.

Jeff (Host):

Hopefully small businesses will come out of this a lot stronger than we went into it, but time will tell. Well, we’ll circle back around to the highs and lows of 2020, I do want to cover that obviously. But you had brought up an investment that Race City Flight Operations had made into a self-serve fuel pump for your guests and pilots there at the airport. Tell me about that.

Patrick:

Yeah. So maybe for a lot of your listeners, you kind of take the gas station pump for granted, right? You just pull up, swipe a credit card, and within five minutes you’ve got another tank of gas and you drive away. In aviation on the other hand, that’s not as widespread as one would hope. So a lot of airports in the area provide full serve, so you have to come up and talk to us and, “Hey, I want fuel in my airplane.” We’ll drive a truck down there, a gas station attendant will go down there and pump fuel into your airplane. Then you walk back inside, you pay for it. You might go to the bathroom or chit chat or whatever.

Patrick:

But for a lot of the flying that I’ve done around the country and around the world, I just want to keep flying, like this is just a pit stop and I’m trying to get to my destination. A lot of our residents on the field, they leave… They’re business owners, they’ve got travel plans for business or pleasure, and so that they might not leave during our business hours. So a lot of them have given the input of, “When are you doing self-serve? When are you doing self-serve?” Well, it took a lot of approvals and a lot of work, and especially with COVID this year and the the manufacturing slowdown.

Patrick:

We finally got in place a self-serve fuel pump, which is pretty intuitive. Literally with an airplane, you just pull up to the pump, your ground your airplane. Actually, we made a YouTube video about it too, like an instructional YouTube video. Swipe your credit card, tell the pump how much, either dollars or gallons you want to pump, and then you just pump away. We’ve got a nice three-line led display that’ll tell you exactly how much fuel or dollars or whatever you’ve spent. It’s pretty awesome, and the feedback has been fantastic from our users.

Jeff (Host):

So the pilots are finding it very easy to use, and convenient.

Patrick:

Absolutely. And that’s been the biggest problem here at Lake Norman, years before I took over, it was just sort of the, “Is someone there working?” I mean, always trying to find someone that could come down and fuel with the airplanes, right? So having it self-serve is just an amazing an addition to this airport.

Patrick:

The way I like to put it, when the company that installed the fuel pump came out, and we were kind of splitting hairs over where to put the sign and where to put the pump and kind of minutia, and I said, “But listen, this is the first upgrade that this airport has gotten in 15 years. So if I’m going to put this kind of investment in, I want to make sure that we’re doing really something good for the next couple of 15 years.”

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That’s very cool. This is probably a stupid question, but can you land and take off at night there at the airport?

Patrick:

Yep. Yes. So we’ve got lights, we’ve got trees at the end. So typically when people call, if you’re used to the bigger airports, like a Concord or Greensboro or something like that, those pilots typically call us and ask for a briefing, right? Like, “Hey, which way should I land,” and that kind of thing. Definitely landing at night is one of those that you want to do your homework.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, just thinking that it would be convenient for someone if it was a waypoint on a trip and they needed to stop to refuel at 7:30 in the evening or something, they don’t have to worry about an attendant being there for the fuel.

Patrick:

Exactly, yep.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. So we touched a little bit on COVID-19 and the challenges of 2020. Share with me and the listeners, if you could, some of the challenges that Lake Norman Airport and Race City Flight Operations has encountered during 2020, how you’ve coped, just some highs and lows for this year.

Patrick:

Absolutely. Man, just looking back to February, it’s been pretty incredible. The first few months were looking very positive year over year from 2019, mid March came and then all of a sudden we took a break for a few weeks. But instead, we used that downtime to work on maintenance for the planes, for the hangar, to clean up, to rearrange.

Patrick:

One thing that we do is we provide in-person classroom instruction, so we can fit up to 20 people in our large classroom and teach you about the ground basics of flying. So that had been working well, but then when COVID hit, people didn’t want to come out and they were worried and wearing masks and distancing, that kind of thing. So what we did was we recorded an entire ground school lesson, all 25 plus hours, and then put that on our private YouTube channel.

Patrick:

And so now we have that as a reference for all of our other students, right? So instead of then having… Kind of like the self-serve fuel pump, they can go to YouTube anytime they have a question, and it’s divided by chapters and all that, so they can quickly find the answer that they’re looking for as opposed to having to get up with an instructor or anything like that.

Patrick:

We also, back in January, started a YouTube channel where we do a monthly Q&A. So for people that are wondering about how to learn to fly or any sort of aviation question, and so we really took ahold of that during COVID and during the shutdown. We’ve tried to have a lot of fun with it. So one of our employees, Pete and myself, we typically will run that YouTube channel and do the video.

Patrick:

Let’s see, other highs and lows? Under the CISA Act, which is that Department of Homeland Security, what is the an essential business kind of a thing, that’s what the governor’s order referenced when he shut everything down in March. Under that we were deemed as essential, but we wanted to do that responsibly, right? So when the executive order came out to shut down, the flight instructors and I got together and we said, “What do we feel comfortable with?”

Patrick:

I’m not going to force anyone to go flying. I’ve worked at a lot of other flight schools and that’s something that I don’t want to do, is force anyone to go if they don’t want to. So we took a little a break for a couple of weeks, but that allowed us to do maintenance. One fun thing that we did was we flew down to Atlanta and landed at the busy Atlanta Airport. We had to pick up some parts and tools for around the hangar.

Patrick:

So while we flew down there, we took advantage and when we landed at Hartsfield, and that was a great experience. Then I think that following week or maybe two weeks later, we flew up to New York City and we did the big airports up there, Newark, LaGuardia, Teterboro, JFK. And we took our flight instructors, right? We had our flight instructors on the two airplanes, and we took some of our hangar tenants. It was a great experience, everyone learned so much about how to work all that busy airspace. Even without all the airliners it was still very busy, but we still managed a really great trip. And actually Philly, we landed at Philly too.

Patrick:

A low was the PPP, right? So whatever side you think about PPP, we were certainly a success story. So we applied for the first round of PPP, we finally got approved for the second round. We did not get, like you hear in the news, of millions of dollars or six figures or anything. We got very, very low, but it was enough that it helped our instructors keep going, right? So that was during our low point when basically there was no instruction going on, but I wanted to make sure that our instructors were still getting something so that the financial impact wasn’t as hard for everybody.

Patrick:

And then on the high side, in May, so May 16th we did our first food truck fly-in. So pilots, we like to go fly and we like to have a mission, so we like to go find a restaurant somewhere and we call it the $100 hamburger. So here at Lake Norman, we don’t have a restaurant on the field so we can’t necessarily just come here to Lake Norman and enjoy a hamburger, so we always have to fly somewhere.

Patrick:

So I thought during this weird, uncertain shutdown, lockdown time, why don’t we get some food trucks in at the airport and then have people fly in to us instead. And so that’s been very successful. We had, I think, four food truck fly-ins over the summer, and we weren’t trying to sell anything or market the flight school or anything like that. It’s literally just what sense of normalcy can we get back to, and doing it responsibly.

Patrick:

We had everyone just kind of spaced out, we had the hand sanitizer everywhere. If you wanted to wear your mask. I mean, all of that, right. It was just, “Come on out to the airport and have a hamburger.” We had lobster dogs and ice cream. It was just a bunch of fun this summer.

Patrick:

And then the other thing that we did, even with the uncertainty and the shutdown everywhere, we had 15 folks that took to the air by themselves for the very first time, so what we call a solo. So we celebrated 15 of those folks, and then we had 10 folks that actually finished up their license, be it a private license or instrument rating, anything like that. So even with everyone else working from home, we still had quite a bit of progress this summer.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. That’s awesome. Having grown up and with an aviation family, I’m familiar with the $100 hamburger. We still use that term, but I think it’s gotten to be more like a two or three or $400 hamburger. But yeah, the fly-ins, for listeners that aren’t familiar, there are pancake fly-ins are a pretty popular thing.

Patrick:

Yep, Saturday mornings.

Jeff (Host):

And the food truck fly-in’s a really cool idea, I love that. Actually, I follow you on Race City Flight Operations on Instagram, and I’ve seen some posts about the food truck fly-ins, they look really cool. Would the general public be allowed to… would be invited to join in on that at all or is there not-

Patrick:

Oh yeah.

Jeff (Host):

Okay, great.

Patrick:

Yeah, absolutely. So we actually made up a bunch of signs for car parking and for aircraft parking. So I think that first food truck fly-in, we probably had over 100, maybe 120 people show up. And that’s a mix of 20 airplanes. I talked to one pilot, he flew up from Georgia because he had been otherwise locked down. So he said, “Man, someplace I can fly to, eat, and talk to other people, yeah I’m in.” So he flew up here. But then, yeah, a lot of Mooresville folks showed up and it’s been pretty awesome.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, that’s really cool. I’ll definitely be out there for the next one. Do you have any more planned this year, or will it be spring?

Patrick:

Yeah. October is going to be kind of hit or miss. We can definitely bank on the spring, but yeah, maybe one here in October, November.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah.

Patrick:

Not really sure.

Jeff (Host):

Weather in the Carolina, in October, November, you never quite know, it usually starts raining right about now and stops sometime in March or April. For those who are listening in the future, we’re recording this on October 12th, 2020. And I think we just got about five inches of rain over the last three days.

Jeff (Host):

But that’s really neat. Yeah, I’ll definitely come out and check out those food truck fly-ins next time you guys have those. Moving on, a question that I like to ask a lot of my guests, are there any small businesses in Lake Norman that have been perhaps especially helpful to your company in 2020 or any that you just would like to recognize just in general?

Patrick:

Yeah, absolutely. Our ground schools that we would teach over the weekends, we would cater those. That way, when you’re here, you’re learning, you’re in the classroom environment. We used to have a national chain that would give us a lunch box and we could just hand that out to the students. And with the corona and the shutdown, we tried to refocus everything on the local businesses.

Patrick:

So the one that really stood out this year was Heavenly Hoagies here in Mooresville. Mike has been fantastic, his team over there. We try and serve lunch around 11:30, 12:00, something like that, based on where they are in the curriculum. And we could call up at 10:30 and say, “Hey, Mike, can you give us 10 or 12 sandwiches in an hour?” And his folks would get right to it. Mike’s an avid aviator as well, so he comes out here to the airport and he just loves seeing the airplanes. I mean, he’s just a great personality.

Patrick:

Heavenly Hoagie, big time, we rely on them for lunch. And right next door, they have picnics, so we’ve relied on them as well for… especially during that really quiet time where we didn’t have a lot of flights happening, no real instruction, we tried to support the local folks as much as we could. And then the last business has been really instrumental is First Impressions Embroidery, and they’re a small mom and pop, it’s Chuck and Sharon, and they do embroidery and T-shirts. I mean, they do all of our T-shirts and sweaters and jackets and everything. They are just amazing folks to work with.

Jeff (Host):

Those businesses are new to me, I’ll be sure to share those links and their websites in the show notes as well. On the best of [inaudible 00:28:39] website, hopefully we’ll get some new eyes on their businesses in the process. What about book recommendations? Are you much of a reader or were you able to think of two or three recommendations in the area of small business management or personal development that have stood out for you?

Patrick:

I guess the funny thing about aviation is… A saying that I was told a long time ago was that if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, be a pilot, because during the flight training you’ll learn physics, weather, math, all kinds of things. So if you haven’t figured out what you want to do when you grow up, if you do or become a pilot, you’re touching on all these little things.

Patrick:

I mean, in my MBA school, we read all the entrepreneur books and all that kind of stuff, but really the two books that hit home to me, of course, are aviation because I’ve been sucked in completely into the rabbit hole is, Flying South by Barbara Cushman Rowel. It’s an awesome story of just a single lady flying her Cessna airplane from California, down through South America, and back up through the Caribbean.

Patrick:

You would think, “Oh, where are all the pictures? And it’s just a great story and that’s so much fun,” but every flight, there’s always something that happens. It could be weather, maintenance. And just hearing her story, it’s one of those books that once you start reading, you just can’t put it down because it’s just so fascinating.

Jeff (Host):

That sounds fascinating, yeah. Definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in reading as well.

Patrick:

Absolutely.

Jeff (Host):

Do you remember which model Cessna she was flying?

Patrick:

I want to say it was Cessna 206 or a 210. It was the bigger single engine, high-wing Cessna.

Jeff (Host):

But still a fairly small aircraft. What else did you think of?

Patrick:

Yeah, the other book was called Hard Landing, it’s by Thomas Petzinger Jr. And this is about the airline world back before deregulation, back in the ’70s, and then after deregulation. So it focuses before deregulation and that high life of when you look at first class pictures and people are in suits and ties and given champagne and that kind of thing. And then quickly how those airlines, one bad decision after another started crashing and going bankrupt, that kind of thing, and how deregulation kind of played into that.

Patrick:

It’s a huge book. It’s a pretty thick book and it’s really small font, so there’s a lot of text, but it’s another one of those that once you start reading it, it’s like, “Man, this is awesome. I just keep reading it.” And it’s really got a lot of business thought and case studies that can come out of that as well.

Jeff (Host):

You know what a story I always love is the story of how Southwest Airlines was founded and all of the hurdles they had to jump over and hoops they had to jump through while they were growing that airline. I heard an interview on a podcast, I think it was, How I Built This.

Patrick:

Yeah, with Guy Raz.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, yeah. I believe it was that show that interviewed one of the founders, CEO of the airline, and I think when he interviewed him, he was in his 70s, he was still practicing law. He was an attorney by trade, that was his career, but what a character. But that’s a story that I would encourage listeners to check out too, that’s a really interesting story about how Southwest Airlines grew and became successful. Anything else?

Patrick:

No other books, no, that was it. Actually the Kelleher story, I think he made a book, but I think it’s called Nuts! The Southwest story. But it’s the same thing, just about how the other airlines, the competition, how they put politicians and made laws against Southwest and Southwest still found a way to get around all of that and thrive, it was cool.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah. I wasn’t familiar with that book, I’ll check it out. And I couldn’t remember his name, Herb Kelleher, that’s right. Patrick, how can listeners learn more about Race City Flight Operations?

Patrick:

Yeah. Well, we always tell people that the biggest hurdle to learn how to fly is finding our airport. If you can find the hangar, you found it. So come out to the hangar, find us on the web, racecityfo.com. That’s Race City Flight Operations, but just FO, shortened. Call us. Email me, patrick@racecityfo.com. I mean, we’re in Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. We try and publish those photos and the inspirational stories wherever we can.

Jeff (Host):

Definitely. And the discovery flights, they can be purchased as a gift too-

Patrick:

That’s right.

Jeff (Host):

Yeah, I’ve purchased those in years past with other companies as gifts for friends and a stepson, and they’re always a popular gift so I encourage folks to purchase those as well.

Jeff (Host):

Well, I really have enjoyed this interview, I’ve been looking forward to featuring Race City Flight Operations on the podcast, and really appreciate your time, Patrick. The company is Race City Flight Operations, owner, Patrick Lofvenholm. [crosstalk 00:34:24] appreciate your time.

Patrick:

Absolutely. Thank you for having us, Jeff.