What should I wear for the flight, is it going to be cold?
It is always a good idea to have a jacket handy, but it really depends on the season and the weather for the day. During the summer months a short sleeve shirt is very comfortable. Most other times it is best to wear a light jacket to be comfortable. Some may also prefer to wear some light gloves, especially if you sign up for the Training Sortie as you will have your hands on the controls and not in your pockets for the flight! Comfortable shoes such as sneakers make climbing in and out much easier. Sorry, NO high heels and flip-flops are highly discouraged! Wearing sunglasses is helpful to protect your eyes from the wind as well as the sun. A helmet with earphones to wear during the flight will be provided so no additional headgear or hearing protection is required. Top
When should I arrive for my flight?
We need you at the airport no later than 15 minutes prior to your flight time. Many times flights are booked back to back and the schedule can be tight, so we appreciate you being on time. Top
Where do we go when we get to the airport?
Please go in the main airport office door, you can’t miss it. Your pilot will meet you there and we usually park the Stearman right out front on the ramp area. Spectators can wait in the airport lounge area during the flight. Top
How many people can go up at a time?
Our aircraft seats the pilot in the back seat plus one passenger in the front seat. Sorry, you cannot place small children on your lap during a flight. You can book flights back-to-back, however, to better share the experience. Top
If the plane’s wings are made of wood and fabric, just how sturdy and safe is it?
One of the most frequent comments made about our airplane is about how solid she feels. The airplane was designed to take a serious beating by fledgling WWII cadets with no flying experience, but we treat her like an angel. She is very strong, with aluminum struts, steel tubing and flying-wires... you’ll be amazed at just how stout and robust the airplane is! Top
Will I be able to talk to my pilot?
Yes, the airplane is equipped with an intercom and headphones so you can talk to your pilot throughout the entire flight. Top
Where can we fly? Can we go see my house from the air?
Maybe. FAA regulations require we stay within 25 miles of the airport we take off from, so if you live close by we can try to find it. Additionally, we are not allowed to land at any other airports. Top
What are aerobatics and what can I expect?
Aerobatics are the maneuvers that you might see an aircraft do at an air show. They have also been described as tricks or stunts. One thing is for sure, they are fun! But we will not just take you up and start flipping you upside down. The maneuvers are done depending on each person’s input and desires. The pilot will talk you through it. Once you get comfortable with this new experience we can pick up the pace. It is difficult to adequately describe what aerobatics feel like, but here are a few points worth noting:
• It is very smooth and graceful, not jerky like a roller coaster. We also only pull some gentle positive G's, which means you won't ever feel like you're being pushed out of the cockpit.
• The ample fresh air of the open cockpit keeps people from getting sick 99% of the time and most of the passengers who take an aerobatic flight say it was better than they expected.
• While it is a great deal of fun, it is a somewhat physical experience, so we do not do 30 minutes of continuous aerobatics. We can do a maneuver or two at a time and stop to talk about how you're feeling. Top
Should I eat before my flight?
Yes, please eat before you fly if you want to. We’ve found that a light meal before flying makes you much more comfortable and helps prevent motion sickness. Top
If the cockpit is open, with no canopy, can I fall out?
NO. We’ve never had a passenger fall out and we never will. You will be strapped securely into the comfortable front seat with a full set of lap belts and shoulder harnesses. Additionally, we don’t do any negative-G maneuvers that push you out of the airplane. During aerobatics, you may occasionally feel light in the seat, but you aren’t going anywhere, we promise! Top
Can I bring a camera or a video recorder on the flight?
Yes, as long as you can keep control of the device so it does not blow out! If it departs the aircraft in flight, it is not recoverable. Your pilot has fast reflexes, but not that fast unfortunately. It is best to use a wrist strap if you are planning to take photos or video while on your flight. Additionally, depending on how busy the flight schedule is, there may be time to hook up external camera systems such as GoPro cameras. Coordinate this with your pilot when booking your flight for more information. Top
Is there a weight or a size limit for passengers?
Yes. The precise weight depends on the air temperature and density for the day of the flight but generally we can take anyone that is 250 pounds or less. The seat is adjustable in height and the cockpit is fairly roomy. For safety, however, we must reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Top
Is there an age limit? Is it handicapped accessible?
We have taken passengers in their 90’s that have greatly enjoyed the flight as well as children as young as 8. For children it really depends on the maturity of the child and whether they are OK to sit by themselves during the flight. We can only take one passenger at a time. The seat is adjustable and additional seat cushions are available to make sure that children can sit high enough in the seat to see out and enjoy the flight. There are two way communications between the pilot and the passenger so this usually helps as we’ve have found children have lots of questions! While we try to accommodate everyone, we take disabled passengers on a case-by-case basis. Top
Can friends or relatives come watch the flight?
Absolutely, the more the merrier! Anyone attending will be able to view the aircraft taking off and landing as well as some of the flying, depending on the nature of the ride and how far we are venturing out. Unfortunately, the aerobatics are not visible from the airport as FAA regulations prohibit them near airports. There is a climate controlled lounge area at the airport office with restroom facilities and snack machines. Also there will be photo opportunities before and after the flight with the aircraft and/or pilot. We want everyone to enjoy the day and the experience and have a great time! Top
Should I tip the pilot?
While tips are not required, they are certainly always appreciated. Many of our customers are so thrilled by their flight, they just can’t resist a small contribution. All tips go toward maintenance and upkeep of our trusty old biplane. Top
Do you offer group discounts or gift certificates?
Yes. Call Andy at 408.540.1761 for more information. Top
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, credit cards, and PayPal. Sorry, no personal checks. Top
Can my flight be canceled like the airlines do?
There are a number of reasons we may be forced to cancel your flight (e.g. rain or gusty winds). Simply put, we will not take you up on a day where you will not be thrilled with your flight or if it is unsafe to fly. Your pilot has the authority to cancel, change, or shorten a flight due to weather or other variables beyond our control. If we have to cancel your flight due to inclement weather, we will make every effort to notify you promptly and we will gladly reschedule your flight for the next best date. Top
How safe is this really?
We take risks in everything we choose to do in life. While there is an element of risk in flying, quite simply, your biggest risk will be driving to the airport. Safety ALWAYS takes priority over having fun. We operate with your safety as our #1 top priority! Period. We’ve given hundreds of flights over the years and your pilot is a highly qualified FAA certified pilot with tens of thousands of hours of experience. We follow the rules and regulations to the letter, have a perfect flying safety record, and the aircraft is maintained to meet the highest FAA maintenance standards! Top
When do you fly?
We can fly into airports in many weather conditions, but backcountry flying is fair weather flying. Air is smooth in the mornings so flying earlier is better. We start large groups at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m., sometimes earlier when it is warm or on busy days. Top
When won’t you fly?
Warm air adversely affects aircraft performance, so we will not fly gear or people during the heat of the day during warm months or when winds or visibility make mountain flying hazardous. Top
Can you land on lakes or gravel bars?
Both terrain and rules governing access to the Wilderness restrict our operations to specific backcountry runways. We cannot land on gravel bars, lakes, or ridge tops like they do in Alaska. Top
How much gear will fit in your plane?
A typical load for our Maule M-7-235 is approximately 1,000 lbs. That’s room for four large coolers or dry boxes, a couple inflatable kayaks, charcoal, beer and a person up front. We can only take break-down boat frames and the more they break down the better. Oars up to 8’ long will fit but break-down oars will save space and loads. For hunters, a good rule of thumb is two or three hunters with 60-100 pounds of gear each. Hard rifle cases will be stored at Yellow Bird Aviation as they don’t fit well in the airplane. Top
What about parking and leaving vehicles?
Parking is available at Deer Valley Airport, however, Yellow Bird Aviation, LLC is not responsible for private vehicles or personal property left unattended at the airport location. Top
Are there any extra charges or discounts?
We work very hard to keep our prices competitive and treat customers fairly. If you change your charter date or number of passengers without notice, additional charges will apply. We will not overload the aircraft. If you bring too much gear or if retrieving your game requires additional trips, you will be responsible for paying for the additional trips required. We try to keep our rates for a full year but may need to apply fuel surcharges in the event of extreme price fluctuations in fuel costs. Yellow Bird Aviation is not responsible for delays or lost days due to weather. We are proud to offer a 10% discount to those who serve (or have served) in the military, as well as our educators and first responders. We salute you and appreciate your service. Top
Do I need to worry about bears or other wildlife?
Not in the air, but there are bears, wolves and mountain lions in the wilderness. According to Arizona Fish and Game, most of the bear problems are with bears that have learned to find food in trash and coolers late in the summer and early fall when berries and other food sources have dried up. Top
The map below is NOT a complete map of Arizona Backcountry strips, nor is it meant to be used for navigation! It does, however, mark a few of the more common strips, and give you an idea of some of the backcountry locations into which we can get you and your group for whatever adventure you have in mind. Questions? Give us a call at 480.540.1761. Top
If the airstrip you wish to access is not listed, give us a call at 480.540.1761 and ask if we can fly there. We put safety first, so keep these rules in mind:
1. We need a minimum of 900 feet to take off or land.
2. Our backcountry aircraft is based at the Deer Valley, Arizona airport. We are willing and able to fly to anywhere in the lower 48 United States .
3. Our Maule M-7-235C is capable of flying into gravel/turf/unimproved strips.
4. We also offer backcountry instruction if you have your own aircraft.