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Flying high: Sturgeon Bay flight school expands offerings

Perry Air LLC recently added Gleim BATD flight simulator

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January 9, 2024

STURGEON BAY – Kevin Perry said he’s always had a passion for flying.

As a child, Kevin said he flew with his father and earned his own pilot’s license while still in high school.

“I’ve always loved flying and wanted to have my own flight school (one day),” he said. “I worked at other flight schools and learned a lot about the business and what works and what does not work.”

Kevin – a U.S. Air Force veteran who received his instructor’s license in 2014 – launched Perry Air LLC flight school in Sturgeon Bay in 2021.

Based at Door County Cherryland Airport, Kevin said the school provides private pilot training, instrument rating training and drone pilot education.

Kevin Perry – a U.S. Air Force veteran – launched Perry Air LLC flight school in Sturgeon Bay in 2021. Submitted Photo

Kevin, who owns a fully restored Piper Cherokee 140, said his goal with Perry Air is to make getting your pilot’s license more efficient.

“I also love sharing my love of aviation with others, and teaching others to fly is fulfilling,” he said.

Continuing to evolve
Perry Air recently added the Gleim BATD (Basic Aviation Training Device) flight simulator, which Kevin said allows Perry Air to provide private pilot and instrument training to help students improve their skills and keep current pilots up-to-date on instrument training.

The instructor, he said, can program the simulator to manipulate weather, location and system failures, providing students with real-life experiences.

The simulator, Kevin said, comes with more than 33,000 instrument procedures for current and student pilots to work on their skills.

He said the simulator helps students earn their licenses more quickly and current pilots brush up on their skills.

Kevin Perry said about half of his customers are interested in getting their license so they can pursue an aviation career. Submitted Photo

“Students can log up to 10 hours of instrument training on it so they do not need to get all of their instrument training in the air, which takes longer and is more expensive because you need to pay for time in the air,” he said. “We can also use the simulator to introduce different failures or weather conditions to students so they can practice what it might be like to fly through snow, even in the middle of summer.”

Kevin said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires instrument flight rules (IFR) pilots to conduct and log a minimum of six instrument approach procedures every six months.

Kevin said those can now be done on the simulator.

Growing demand
Nowadays, Kevin said, more people than ever are interested in learning to fly.

About half of his customers, he said, are interested in getting their license so they can pursue an aviation career.

“During the past five to 10 years, the airlines have been on a hiring spree, and being a pilot is a good career,” he said.

The other half of Perry Air’s customers, Kevin said, are people who have always wanted to learn to fly – just as he did – and those who heard about his school and are intrigued.

“For some, it’s knocking an item off the bucket list,” he said. “It’s something they have always wanted to do.”

Drones are another area of growth in aviation, and at Perry Air, Kevin said.

More businesses, he said, are using them for multiple reasons, from inspecting hard-to-reach sites to photographing property from the air.

As a certified drone pilot, Kevin Perry said he purchased a drone so he could train others to fly the aircraft. Submitted Photo

As a certified drone pilot, Kevin said he purchased a drone so he could train others to fly the aircraft.

“There’s been a lot of interest in drones, and if you want to charge someone for your services, you need to be FAA certified, which is now something we can do at Perry Air,” he said.

Kevin said even teens are learning to fly drones as an entry point to eventually pursuing an aviation career.

“Teens and kids love things with remote controls, and they easily adapt to using them,” he said. “Also, as part of being a certified drone pilot, you learn a lot about air space rules, which comes in handy if you decide to pursue a pilot’s license. Teens can get involved with drones at a younger age than learning to fly a plane. It’s a great first step.”

To learn more about Perry Air, LLC, visit

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