Soaring hundreds of feet in the air along the Emerald Coast is where you'll find one of the Panhandle's newest attractions: Coastal Biplane.
The aeronautical adventure, which hosted its first flight on Dec. 14, was created by its pilot, Heath Buckley, who is a retired Army aviator and flight instructor with 24 years of military service.
Flights climb to 1,000 feet, then descend to 500 feet as guests travel around 100 miles per hour experiencing white-sanded sights from the sky. Up to two participants are strapped into the open cockpit of a 2010 Waco YMF-5, which Buckley said highlighted the "golden years" of aviation.
"It's a bucket-list adventure," the Point Washington resident said. "It's not only flying, but it's flying at its purest form and essentially flying in an aircraft that most people will only see once in their lifetime."
At 500 feet up, the view is awesome. The Gulf radiates a green unlike what you see from the shore and our area's beauty is put into perspective.
The father of four said that he started Coastal Biplanes as a way to share his passion for flying, while getting to spend more time with his family. The family-owned business operates out of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and offers five different flight packages of varying prices.
• "Trip around the Sun" that's listed at $450 for one passenger, $600 for two and tours areas from Panama City to Inlet Beach for 20 minutes.
• "The Reefs of 30A," allowing flyboys and girls to tour the coast of South Walton and view the area's artificial reefs. The 40-minute flight cost $1,050 for a single passenger and $1,200 for a pair.
• "Sunset over Western Lake," traveling from Panama City Beach to Western Lake and Grayton Beach, while the sun sets during the 40-minute flight. The experience is priced equally for 1-2 passengers at $1,300.
• "Date Night over 30A" — a 40-minute voyage to Grayton Beach and back, followed by an inclusive dinner at Chef Jim Shirley's The Bay and chauffeurs to and from. The night runs $1,900 and has a $200 dinner limit.
• "Treetop Flyer," which is a 30 minute, single passenger ride for $1,050 that gives the participant an opportunity to ride along as Buckley barrel rolls the aircraft.
Looking ahead, Buckley said he's looking forward to sharing the experience with locals and tourists alike. He hopes to eventually help introduce aviation through the STEM programs at middle schools and high schools across Walton County.
"We really need to bring aviation to our youth," he said and added there's is a shortage of pilots in the industry. "That's where we're going to make a difference, teaching them early and just showing them the love for flying."
For more information or to contact Coastal Biplane, call 850-585-0820, or to book trips directly, visit coastalbiplane.com.